After plucking, leaves are transported to nearby factories where they're processed and packed within 24 hours. This is where the true art of teamaking begins, using one of two manufacturing processes.
The Orthodox method is used to make loose teas, while the Cut, Tear and Curl method produces bag teas. At Twinings, the quality of our teas is the same, loose or bagged.
The Orthodox method
The traditional, or 'orthodox,' method takes tea leaves through a process of Withering, Rolling, Oxidation and Drying.
Withering removes up to 70% of the leaves' moisture by air drying them for 12 to 17 hours. A rolling machine then twists the leaves into thin wires, breaking them open to begin the oxidation process.
Oxidation, also known as fermentation, contributes the most to a tea's flavour, colour and strength and is an extremely important part of tea production. Oxidation ultimately creates the different types of tea—black, oolong, green, white and red—which differ in the amount of oxidation they receive. Black teas are fully oxidized. Oolong and red teas are partially oxidized. Green and white teas are not oxidized at all.
Finally, the drying stage stops the oxidation process by passing the tea through hot air dryers that reduce moisture content to about 3%. The dried tea is then ready to be sorted and packed.
The Cut, Tear & Curl (CTC) method
The Cut, Tear and Curl (CTC) method was invented to increase the amount of tea that can be packed for shipping, without altering the quality of the tea leaves. The CTC process mimics the orthodox process, but instead of rolling the leaves, the CTC method cuts the leaves into small pieces ideal for tea bags.
The packing stage, during which teas are sorted and graded, is one of the most crucial. Leaves are sifted into different sizes or grades, classified according to appearance and type, then packed into foil lined paper sacks or tea chests for transporting.
Twinings works hard to minimize the level of pesticide residues in our teas. Though we buy on the open market and have no direct control over how the tea is grown, we actively monitor our raw materials for pesticide residues and work with our growers to eliminate or minimize their use. We believe that pesticide residues in tea make an insignificant contribution to pesticide intake from dietary sources.
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