Tradition meets modernity – the times when women’s or children’s hands laboriously picked the tea leaves and brought in the harvest are long gone in the Azores. Nowadays the tea plants are “shaved”, the freshly cut leaves are collected on tarpaulins and brought to the attic to pre-dry.
But the actual production of the Chá Gorreana Azorean tea is still carried out in a laborious manner according to traditional methods and with archaic machines from the time of early industrialization. The centerpiece are the two heavy “rolling machines” made of iron and brass, which roll the pre-dried leaves in the attic with powerful pounding, so that the pores break open and the oxidation (“fermentation”) can take place.
Two hot-air ovens ensure the final drying of the tea leaves, which then pass through a sophisticated sieve system until they are finally collected, roughly sorted, into the bags provided. Now the women carefully read the tea again by hand before it is packaged ready for dispatch – using state-of-the-art technology.
The only difference between green tea is the type of drying – the supply of heat prevents oxidation so that the leaf material can dry green and the antioxidants are retained.