Longshan Green Tea Processing Method
DISCLAIMER: This was one of our first explorations of tea production. We now know that the style of production in Longshan is typical of baked green tea throughout China.
１-称茶叶 Weighing the Leaves
Tea is brought down from the mountainside in designated white bags. It is then weighed out and laid out on the floor. From there the tea will begin an evening-long relay through calloused hands and sturdy machines.
２- 杀青 - Killing the Green
After weighing the tea, the first device in the line up is the "kill green" machine, worked by a single man. He gradually feeds in basket after basket of fresh tea, which is collected on the far side of the machine. Passing from one end to the other, leaves are briefly exposed to very high temperatures, ending the oxidation process that naturally occurs as leaves decompose.
３- 体检 Inspecting the Tea
The collected tea is then swept up and ran through a sorting machine. Inside the machine the tea is shaken, dropped, and spun so as to separate out as much non-usable material as possible. The two output choutes, tea and not-quite-tea, dump into their respective bamboo trays.
４ 揉茶 Bruising the Leaves
The worthy tea leaves are then taken over to another room. There they are twisted and bruised through a combination of machine-spinning, thrashing, and hand-rolling. The battered leaves are then left out on the shop floor for two hours.
５ 理条机 Sorting the Tea
Next comes the "sorting strips" machine. This device sorts the higher grade, bud heavy and tender leaf heavy tea from the lower grade, twig-heavy roughage.
６ 烘干机 Drying the Tea
The sorted tea is then thrown into an oven for another two hours. There it dries, becoming at last the tea that is ready for our enjoyment. Said tea may then be further dried if needed, or placed into refrigerated storage.