The uniformity of the tea plants pruned to a certain height, sloping down the terrains make a soothing treat for the eyes. Once treated as wild bush in the mountain forests, now tea garden stretches far and wide on the mountain terrains holding the seed of the much sought after drink. Serene and smiling tea gardens are one of the major tourist attractions. The lush greenery of the undulating tea gardens on both sides of the highway while driving to different tea gardens is an exhilarating sightseeing.
A walk through the undulating hill slopes and viewing the entire processing of tea is just like poetry in motion. And what better than the Happy valley Tea Estate! Apart from the spectacular view of the mountains, one other place that exudes pure bliss is the tea estate. I planned to spend the entire day and see the entire process of tea manufacturing. And luckily, I got the permission. So it was me and the camera up on the toes to lose ourselves capturing the making of the national ambrosia, tea.
At the break of the dawn, the finest tea leaves are specially handpicked from the apical tender bud and the finest two leaves to augment the mystic flavor. The leaves on the stem and the subsequent ones below the bud decide the quality of plucking. Certain sought-after teas use the 4th and the 5th leaves which are usually found in smoked Chinese brews.
The plucked leaves carefully collected in bamboo baskets are sorted and spread loosely over withering troughs. A number of steps such as withering, rolling and fermentation help to treat the leaves giving them the twist, enhancing the compound, giving it the color and finally preserving its quality and other characters to the optimum level. Then the leaves are sorted according to the size and packed in exclusive packages to secure their individual aromas.
Watching the entire tea making process was like falling in love with it all over again. As I took a sip into my tea cup, memories of the short and memorable love affair kept rekindling in my mind.