The top two leaves and a bud of the camellia sinensis plant are used to produce organic green tea.
They are carefully hand picked, and then withered in net-covered frames to reduce their moisture. Next, the leaves are rolled between two metal plates. This breaks up their cells and releases their sap – giving organic green tea its unique colour and aroma.
Once rolled, the tea leaves are heated to stop the natural fermentation process. They can either be steamed or pan roasted: the former being commonly used in organic Japanese green tea production, and the latter in organic Chinese green tea production. It’s this step that enables organic green tea leaves to retain their natural green colour, and gives them their flowery, tart taste. This is also the process that distinguishes organic green tea from organic black tea, which is left to ferment completely, and organic oolong tea, which is allowed to ferment partially.
The final step in organic green tea production is the drying of the leaves. They’re placed on heated rotating discs, or in wooden drums to be dried by hot air. The leaves are ready when their moisture levels have reduced to three or four per cent.