Tea production from leaf to cup

Tea production from leaf to cup

Bedford tea is pleased to offer the world’s finest to our clients in the UK! Tea has always been greatly appreciated in Britain! Therefore, our customers would probably be delighted to learn how tea is produced. Please feel free to discover the process step by step. 

The journey of tea from leaf to cup begins at the tea estates. It is there that specially trained people nurture the tea to prepare it for production. 

Those “estates” vary in size, ranging from small gardens to “plantations” spread over thousands of acres. Usually, a large number of employees work in plantations to participate in the tea production process.

Larger estates usually sell their tea in very large quantities, often in tons, at auction and through broker. Then they export large quantities of tea to its destination by container ships. As for smaller estates, they usually sell tea directly to wholesalers and retailers. 


There are 3 types of tea estates: industrial tea estates, single origin estates and artisan gardens.

Industrial tea estate

Industrial tea estates usually deal with producing tea for commercial purposes. So, the tea production process there is very quick and cheap. What is more, they usually employ simple tried and tested methods to produce tea in bulk. They also tend to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides so that the harvest should be better. And here factory machinery comes in handy to speed up the processing. 

As for single origin estates, they produce their own ‘unique’ tea blends. They take great pride in the fine quality of their tea, and for a good reason. Their tea, coming solely from their estate, is very pure and refined. Therefore, many tea connoisseurs usually approach them directly, in order to buy their tea of superior quality and great originality. 

Artisan gardens are the smallest of the three types of tea estates. Their size usually does not exceed 10 hectares (25 acres). The owners of artisan gardens are particularly keen to understand the tea plant’s natural responses to its habitat. Therefore, they are experts at manipulating the tea leaves. As the name suggests, the growers have their own ‘handwriting’ in producing their tea. Usually that is what attracts potential customers.


There are two methods of tea production: the CTC (crush, tear, curl) method and the “Orthodox” method.

tea for tea bags
Tea production from leaf to cup - Tea production machine

The CTC method appeared back in the 1930s and involves the use of industrial machines to process the tea leaves. This method is used for processing tea of lower quality into “powder” that would end in tea bags. Special machines would blade-slice, crush and then tear the tea in order to boost oxidation. Then the tea would be rolled into tiny tiny grains of equal size, and finally they undergo oxidation. Only black tea undergoes the CTC production method.  This technique is very popular in Sri Lanka, Kenya and some parts of India. However, neither the Chinese, nor the Japanese use this method of tea production. Moreover, loose leaf tea never undergoes the CTC production technique.  

Manual tea production

As for the ‘orthodox method’, it aims to preserve as much of the whole leaf as possible. It is the most common method of producing all types of loose leaf tea. This method implies a lot of skilled work. Therefore, tea thus produced is of much higher quality than that produced by the CTC method. There is an increasing demand for this type of tea. Consequently, many tea producers are increasingly adopting this method. For example, tea producers from China and Japan employ solely the orthodox method to ensure a smooth journey of their precious tea from leaf to cup! 

We only sell very high quality loose leaf tea, and offer the world’s finest tea all over the United Kingdom! Therefore, please discover our loose leaf tea at bedfordtea.com

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