Oct 20th, '10, 17:25
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How does the tea get to the stores

by aklebba » Oct 20th, '10, 17:25

Hi, does anyone know how the tea gets to the stores? I am understanding that in most cases the tea is manufactured close to where the tea is plucked but I dont know how the tea makes it into the stores.
Also, does anyone know how many people are involved in manufacturing tea?
I am doing a school project on tea.

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Oct 20th, '10, 17:37
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Re: How does the tea get to the stores

by Chip » Oct 20th, '10, 17:37

aklebba, I have moved your topic to Tea & Teaware < Other Tea. There is a "shadow topic" that you can follow to your topic from TeaRetailer which will expire shortly.

Welcome to TeaChat, goodluck on your project, and hope you find some answers here.

Immoderate TeaDrinker who happens to Moderate

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Oct 21st, '10, 00:13
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Re: How does the tea get to the stores

by IPT » Oct 21st, '10, 00:13

I sent you a PM about this. Hope it helps.

Oct 21st, '10, 04:32
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Re: How does the tea get to the stores

by mbanu » Oct 21st, '10, 04:32

My limited understanding:

The green leaf is grown either on centralized plantations with their own tea processing facilities, or by small farmers who then sell their leaf to tea processing factories. The factories process the leaf into made tea, grade it, and pack it up in paper or plywood chests. Most of the tea is then sent to an auction center, where it is bid on by corporate buyers who plan to use it in their commercial blends. The corporate buyers blend the tea together with a bunch of other teas to create their standard tea flavor (P.G. Tips, Lipton's Yellow Label, etc.), which are then sold to grocery chains in bulk for stock in their stores.

However, there are many variations on this.

For instance, sometimes the tea is sold directly from the factory, skipping the auction system. Sometimes a government will be allotted tea as part of a trade agreement with the producing country. (India had such an arrangement with the USSR before its collapse.) Although the auctions are dominated by the corporate blenders, other wholesale buyers also have the opportunity to purchase tea, some of which is then marketed unblended as "single estate" tea by specialty teashops and smaller tea sellers. Sometimes estates will enter into "futures" agreements, where a buyer agrees to purchase the entire crop of an estate before it is grown.

I suppose the short answer is that while there are a few common ways that tea gets to stores, there isn't a single way. :)

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Nov 4th, '10, 23:37
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Re: How does the tea get to the stores

by legend » Nov 4th, '10, 23:37

Yes, tea must be processed very quickly after it is harvested because it is already beginning its fermentation(or oxidation if you please) as soon as it is harvested. Therefor, green tea must be given Xia Qing 下青 - or quick cooking as soon as possible to stop fermentation before it has begun. This is also true for Puer Sheng / raw tea. This is done locally near tha farm itself. It could be said that all teas are ideally processed rather quickly after harvest because tea makers need to have close control over the fermenting process in all cases. Tea that is sitting in the factory waiting to be processed is fermenting on its own and is going to degrade very quickly. So everything is done locally within a matter of days, the finished tea is ready to market, which is described expertly in the previous post.

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