With the increase in the number of tea drinker and lover in India, sorting and grading of tea has gained much more importance than earlier, Previously, tea sorting was practiced to remove foreign matter and big leaves. People used to perform the sorting task manually. Small pincers were the best tools for eliminating long stalks.
But presently, the main objective is to classify tea based on the size of the leaves. Sorting allows identifying the best grades of tea and fetches the prices accordingly. Teas are sorted according to their size, shape, specific gravity, and surface characteristics of the particles.
Type Of Tea Grading
There are four grades of tea. These are dust, whole leaf, broken leaf, and fannings. Every grade has different sub grades. Dust, fannings, and broken leaf are produced through CTC and leggcut manufacturing process. The mostly demanded CTC grades are broken pekoe one, broken pekoe two, broken orange pekoe, broken pekoe souchong, CTC pekoe fannings one, CTC pekoe fannings two, pekoe dust etc.
Market demand and price governs the relative percentages and types of various grades processed at a tea factory by the help of shorting machine. Also, the quality of leaf and plucking standards play a major role. In CTC tea, fanning and primarily broken grades constitute about 50% and 20% respectively. Secondary siftings of these grades yield around 9% each. Dust accounts for around 18% of the total produce.
Leggcut manufacturing produces few grades and the process is simpler than CTC and orthodox tea manufacturing. Only dust and fannings grades are produced in leggcut manufacturing. In green tea manufacture, various grades are produced in addition to the common fanning and dust like Hyson No.1, Jwamkay,
Modern sorting machines are installed with different sizes of sieves with meshes ranging between 8 and 30 or greater. As the leaves pass through different meshes, they are categorized into dust, fanning, broken leaves and whole leaves.