Seminars & Field Program.As tea manufactured out of fine leaf realized premium prices, more and more growers are today encouraged to harvest a better standard of leaf.Manufacturers of quality teas today reject substandard leaf.
The south indian tea scenario
The South Indian Tea Scenario The Quality Perspective
A Quote From – Henry FordComing together is a beginning.Keeping together is progress.Working together is success
SOUTH INDIA - BRIEF HISTORYThe Tea Industry, after 1998, wentthrough a long period of recession. Atthat point of time, a good percentage ofSouth Indian CTC teas, particularly leafgrades was being bought by CIS, Polandand few others. Teas that wereclean, black and grainy sold well. Otherthan „the make of the tea‟, the liquor orits suitability was very much neglected.
From 1999, CIS reduced its intake from India.It was then that the realization to look intoalternate markets both abroad anddomestically was felt. To suit the Indianmarkets, the challenge was to obtain apremium type of leaf and to change themanufacture accordingly for South Indianteas.
A lot of efforts have thus gone into manufacture ofthe right type of teas, primarily aiming at thedomestic markets in the last ten years.Today, South Indian CTC teas are well acceptedthroughout various states in India and we arehappy to note that Gujarat & Maharashtra marketsare also continuously supporting our teas. We havebeen able to achieve this as the South Indian Teaindustry has realized that “Quality cannot becompromised”.
Times have changed and quality is the need of the hour. “Quality” is never an accident.It is always the result of: High Intention Sincere efforts Intelligent direction & Skillful executionThus quality is an ongoing process and weneed to keep bringing in changes to improvethe product.
STEPS TAKEN IN THE FIELDTO OBTAIN QUALITY LEAF: Given this backdrop, I would like to dwell into the various steps taken by the South Indian Tea fraternity to improve the quality of teas in South India.
Seminars & Field Program Various seminars and field programs have been conducted to educate the small growers to pluck fine leaves. The Tea Board, UPASI & KVK have been playing an important role in this regard, which is an ongoing process.
INCENTIVE TO PLUCK FINE As tea manufactured out of fine leaf realized premium prices, more and more growers are today encouraged to harvest a better standard of leaf. Manufacturers of quality teas today reject substandard leaf.
In Nilgiris, Green Leaf is grouped broadly into A, B and C categories with “A” being the best. Since, there is a price difference between these categories of leaves, more and more growers have started taking measures to improve the leaf quality in order to obtain higher rates for their produce. Some factories in fact, pay an additional premium for the A+ Category of leaves.
Some of the estates as well as factories have taken managerial control of small tea plantations and holdings from small growers. All the agricultural practices are being carried out by the lessee and profits are shared between the two. This system guarantees a definite quantum of leaf with the desired quality.
All the tea leaf suppliers are to be registered with the Tea Board and they are directly accountable for the quality of leaves. The Tea Board itself has a group of personnel who monitor the quality both in the factory as well as the field.
In order to obtain high quality leaves, followingpractices are observed by the big as well as thesmall growers: Shortened pruning cycles. Improvement in plucking standards. Quality check of plucked leaf.
As far as possible, mechanization is being introduced at the field and factory level, mainly to improve the efficiency and also to cope up due to the acute shortage of manpower.
Leaf Quality CheckLeaf Quality Check is carried out at the factory on arrival of the leaf. A minimum of 70% fine leaf is the acceptable norm for normal manufacture and a minimum of 90% fine leaf is maintained for the “A” Grade Manufacture. Inferior or damaged leaves are rejected.
TransportationTransportation of leaves to the factory.Leaves should reach the factory without any damage.
Withers: Over LoadedLoaded Correctly Both Physical and Chemical withers are taken. Evenness and uniformity in wither without damaging the leaf is maintained.
CTC / ROLLING CTC MACHINECTC Machine is used to crush tear and curl the leaves.Temperatures and moisture levels are constantly checked.
FERMENTINGFermenting drums were replaced withGoogies and these are subsequentlybeing replaced with ContinuousFermenting Machines (C.F.M), withauto moisture and temperaturecontrollers.
Old conventional driers have now been replaced with new Vibro Fluid Bed Driers.Moisture levels and Temperatures are monitored carefully.
SORTINGSorting: Most of the factories have gone in for automation. Use of Conveyors, storage bins for tea and blending machines are becoming very common.
QUALITYHygiene is given utmost importance.Factories and Plantations are now going in for certifications like ISO, Japanese Agricultural Standards, Rain Forest Alliance (RFA), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) etc.
Installation of Electronic fibromats Magnets and Moisture metersare being given top priority.
Most quality-conscious Producers in the South, including Corporates, have upgraded their factories a good deal in recent years, despite the huge expenditure involved & are turning out a better product. (more attention to manufacture, apart from improving the standard of raw material).
PROGRESSIVE MEASURESThere has been more interaction between Producers, Brokers & Internal Buyers in recent years, so we have a better understanding of the requirements.Packing standards have improved a great deal. Better & more attractive packaging materials are being used. Vacuum packing also has come into vogue. (This helps in preserving freshness & is tamper-proof as well).
CTTA has a QualityControl Committeecomprising ofbuyers, sellers &auctioneers. They follow acertain methodology forelimination of low qualityteas. Such teas are notpermitted to be printed inthe auctions & necessaryaction is taken againstsuch sellers.
Should an auctioneer QUALITY come across a tea, the quality of which is doubtful, it is immediately sent for a PFA analysis. Such teas are offered for sale only if cleared after analysis.The Tea Board also monitors the Quality of Teas very closely.
PFA Standard (ISO 3720) Parameters Specifications1 Total Ash 4 – 8% Total ash soluble in2 >45% of total ash boiling water Ash insoluble in dilute3 <1% by wt. HCL on dry basis4 Water extract > 32%
As we all know"No one can whistle asymphony. It takes a wholeorchestra to play it."
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE AHMEDABADTEA MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION FOR INVITINGUS TO PORTRAY OUR TEAS TO SUCH A WIDECONTINUUM OF BUYERS. WE ALSO WOULDLIKE TO THANK ALL THE BUYERS AND THEIRRESPECTIVE ASSOCIATIONWE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR INCREASEDPARTICIPATION AT THE SOUTH INDIAAUCTIONS.