Harvesting and preparation
The tea is traditionally harvested by hand, with only the topmost leaf bud and the two following leaves being picked.
The tea leaves are processed differently depending on the desired result (green tea, oolong or black tea). Optical and sensory quality controls are carried out at each stage of processing in the country of origin: both the quality and colour of the tea leaf and its smell and taste are checked in a tasting process. For all tea varieties, only the best quality leaves from the best growing regions are selected.
Transport & arrival in Hamburg
J.J. Darboven uses tea samples from the countries of origin to decide whether to purchase the raw materials for its blends. The transport to Hamburg takes place predominantly by ship, and so dry storage is crucial. After the goods arrive delivered in bags, their condition is further examined in the container. The externally faultless product arrives at the warehouse, and one sample per tea lot is drawn and tasted. After tasting, assuming there is a good result – in comparison to the sample offered – the tea is then released for further processing.
As a rule, several batches of tea are combined to form a mixture that meets the individual needs of the customer. In this way, we ensure our products maintain a consistent taste.
Since tea is very susceptible to foreign odours, it must not come into contact with other foods during processing. Before the tea enters the mixing drum, it passes through several cleaning sections in which any foreign bodies are removed by magnets and vibrating sieves. A laboratory analysis also ensures that the quality of the tea complies with EU directives.
As soon as the tea comes out of the automatic packing machine, one or two samples per tea type undergo quality assurance tests. Here they are examined and tasted to ensure correct packaging and faultless content. The tasting is carried out according to the classic method, using 2.8 grams of tea and a brewing time of 5 minutes. The decisive criteria here are the aroma, colour, smell and taste of the infusion. If the result is positive, the packaged tea product is released for storage and so for distribution.