Premium Quality - from Leaf to Cup

At Julius Meinl, we place great emphasis on the premium quality of our teas. The journey of the leaf from the plantation to the cup is composed of a number of steps, all of which play an important part in creating the final product.

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Origin

Tea is grown in many regions throughout the world. There are however special tea gardens in single origins, which provide the ideal climate and conditions to grow high quality teas. Julius Meinl naturally sources its teas from the world’s famous tea gardens to be able to offer high ranking quality to customers as well as consumers.

Some examples of our tea’s origin:

Idalgashinna
The world’s first organic tea garden situated in the Uva region of Sri Lanka at approximately 1200 meters.

Happy Valley
A very traditional tea garden founded in 1854 and located close to the town of Darjeeling at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. This garden is typically known for the second flush Darjeeling teas plucked from June to July.

Jamguri
Located in the Golagath district, this tea garden was named after the Jamun fruit.

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Production process

The production process is a complex activity composed of 7 steps, which all require great care to ensure premium quality.

Plucking
Tea picking is still conducted in the traditional manner, where tea leaves are handpicked and gathered into wide baskets of the teapickers. Hand picking ensures that only the best leaves of the tea plant are collected and used for tea production. The best leaves are the so called “two leaves and a bud” – the leaf bud itself and two proximate young leaves.

Believe it or not, a picker plucks up to 25kg of green leaves a day, which corresponds to approximately 4-6kg of ready tea. The picked leaves are directly processed at the plantation to avoid the loss of aroma and thereby also quality.

Withering
For approximately 10 – 12 hours, the freshly picked leaves are spread out over mats where warm currents of air are blow over them. This results in a 30% liquid loss of the tea leaf and ensures its smoothness.

Steaming/Fermentation
According to the tea type, the tea leaves are either steamed or fermented. The steaming process applies to green teas only. Here, the leaves are heated at a high temperature thus stopping the fermentation process, which would otherwise occur. With this method, the leaves retain their delicate flavour as well as their green colour.
The fermentation process is used for black teas only. Humid air is streamed over the leaves resulting in enzymes combining with oxygen.

Rolling
Before the drying process takes place, leaves are ripped by metal plates in order to release the essential oils from the leaf.

Drying
Tea leaves are dried on so called treadmills for approximately 20 minutes. After the drying process a stable product called raw tea is produced.

Grading
In this stage leaves are sorted according to their size. There are five main types of grades for classifying tea; namely dust, fanning, broken and whole leaves.

Blending
At the production plant, leaves are blended according to traditional and modern recipes to achieve the final tea blend.

Tea Tasting
This final step, one of the most crucial points, ensures that consistently high quality standards are maintained. Tea tasters conduct a sensory test according to taste, smell, physical feel and appearance of the leaves. A sample of each new lot of tea is inspected at the Julius Meinl quality control centre before it is purchased.

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Packaging

Proper tea packaging as well as storage is imperative to shelf life, quality and flavour of tea. Four important factors have to be considered when storing tea:

Odour
Tea absorbs all sorts of odours very easily. Do not store tea close to spices, trash cans and any other sources of odour.

Light
Tea should be stored in a tin or dark cabinet to avoid flavour loss.

Moisture
Tea absorbs moisture from the air easily. Store it away from dishwashers, boiling water and refrigerators.

Heat
Avoid placing tea nearby ovens, stoves and other sources of heat.

Our teas are carefully sealed and packed in odour-free materials to ensure the finest quality.