Here are some pictures from the ghetto like white tea farms we visited during our tea buying expedition.
How Korean Green Tea is Processed.
It all stems from here; this leaf called Camellia Sinensis, whether you drink Green, Oolong or Black Tea. It is just that the leaves are non fermented for green tea, semi fermented for Oolong tea and 100% fermented for Black or Red tea. And once the leaves are picked it doesn’t take much time for them to begin to wither and ferment, so to make green tea they are processed quickly.
Korean green teas are usually baked, whereas Japanese green teas tend to be steamed. The tea leaves are put into a large metal cauldron and gently tossed and turned.
From there they are placed on a mat and rolled by hand. This process is repeated over and over. Approximately 3 times before the leaves are ready to be sorted and then packaged.The whole process is done by hand: picking, rolling, sorting and sifting.
Work for the Village
By using human hands the tea industry provides work for the villagers and helps to support healthy relationships amongst it’s community members. The tea industry provides and sustains a viable eco-economy and a stronger identity. Unlike factory work, the work they do is part of the natural environment that surrounds them.When harvesting tea there is a different relationship to time and the perspective of time. By following the seasons they live closer to nature and the earth. Time is not dictated by watches. There is no need. Day is day. Night is night. When it’s time to harvest they work until the job is done. It’s the task that’s important. There is not need for a punch clock to dehumanize and regulate their labor and production.
Human hands means love and sacrifice.The fact that they do this work allows us to take pleasure and enjoy the distinct flavor of hand processed teas: and our enjoyment helps to support and maintain their traditional way of life: this way we all remain connected to the earth.