The Art of Tea Blending: How We Source, Process, and Blend Our Teas

The Art of Tea Blending: How We Source, Process, and Blend Our Teas

The practice of sourcing and blending an emphatic amount of tea leaves, herbs, and spices with precision is truly an art. When you look at the shelf of your local supermarket and see many different varieties of tea, are you able to distinguish one from the other? Besides the standard black tea and green tea, there are hundreds of different combinations of tea that one can experiment with. But we always settle down or resort to our regular spoonful of black tea in bubbling water to soothe our senses. Why not indulge ourselves in something beyond ordinary?

This musing drove us to get to the root of tea production. Understanding this basic ingredient that dominates our everyday life, its source and its process turns out to be a thrilling adventure. The first of the many steps in the art of tea blending and processing is getting acquainted with the tea suppliers. Our tea comes from the luscious tea gardens spread across the foothills of the Himalayas in the city of Siliguri. From selecting whole tea leaves to packaging the final product, each batch of tea undergoes an intensive operation.

An illustration of a tea flower, each level is used to make the different types of tea and its blends

Pick and Pluck: Expert tea pickers pluck only the freshest of tea leaf from the bushes which consists of a bud and two leaves below it. This ensures the tea retains its flavour. Although it sounds like a simple process, it requires a lot of knowledge and practice, especially regarding the right timing for picking the tea leaves.

Wither and Roll: After plucking, tea processing becomes mechanical and slightly complex. The plucked tea leaves are brought to a factory and are fanned with hot air in large withering troughs. This helps to reduce the moisture content in the tea leaves. During the tea withering process (which typically lasts for a minimum of 6 hours), many chemical changes take place such as the breakdown of molecules to smaller units which increases amino acids and flavour compounds. Once the leaves are withered, they go through a gentle rolling process that helps to bring out the black colour of the tea.

Oxidation: For some type of tea such as black tea, the rolled leaves are left to oxidize, allowing the flavour to develop, and giving the tea its distinctive colour and aroma. This is one of the most important steps in tea processing and production because is it where important chemical reactions take place.

Dry and Fire: After rolling and oxidizing, the tea leaves are dried to remove any remaining moisture and stabilize the flavour. It is usually done by the process of firing that helps to stop the fermentation of the tea leaves and destroys some of the lesser desirable low boiling compounds.

Sort and Grade: In the final step of tea processing, the tea leaves are sorted by size and quality, and packaged for sale. This requires careful attention and a deep understanding of the product. Here our Tea Connoisseur comes into the picture who buys some samples and tests each variant of the product. Each sample is assessed by our expert to ensure that it meets all the quality standards in terms of appearance, aroma, cup colour, and character of the tea.

Without going too in-depth about the various experiments we engage in to produce extraordinary flavours, let’s try and understand the art of tea blending after we finalize the tea products.

Tea blending is indeed a highly specialized skill that needs a deep understanding of chemistry and flavour science. Although there is no such thing as a fixed tea blending formula, it does have a lot of important parameters related to the diversity in tea varieties, textures, origin, measurements, and much more. Creating unique, flavourful blends is a challenging job but truly gratifying when it is a success.

Keeping either black tea leaves or green tea leaves as our base ingredient, we experiment with many herbs, flowers, and spices to produce a desired taste or flavour. For example, our special Jodhpur masala blend has both Pekoe Dust (PD) tea and dust black tea. While PD tea benefits the drinkers with its delicate flavour and health properties, the dust provides a distinctive colour and an astringent flavour when mixed with spices like cardamom, ginger powder, black pepper, and cinnamon. Thus, producing a strong rich flavour along with an intoxicating aroma of the dry spices that taste best with milk.

In this way, we incorporate different compositions suitable to the different needs of the customers. From healthy medicinal tea blends that require special care to conserve the basic properties of the tea variant to exotic fragrant tea blends that require a sort of innovative trial and error process.

A segregation of the various types of tea leaves, ready for blending

Each of the tea blending techniques depends on the goals one is trying to achieve. Blending tea is an act of surprise and we are sometimes unaware of how the tea blend will taste. The key is to learn to balance the flavours which comes with experience and traditional knowledge. Pairing strong teas with strong flavours such as black tea with strong household spices and delicate teas with delicate flavours such as green tea with mint, lemongrass, or any of the light refreshing herbs.

The art of tea blending is truly abuzz in modern times thanks to tea lovers and their penchant to keep experimenting!

Have you tried any of our herbal tea blends? They are refreshing, natural, and super healthy for the gut. Head over to our collection and order yours right away!



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1 comment

i want tea blender expert

Shivang Babubhai Bharucha

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