Product Quality Assurance
- Traceability is an important subject worldwide and we provide full traceability for our supplies.
- We can provide certified blend sheet which provides following data:
A) where we bought this tea – whether privately or in the sale, along with the sale number, if bought in the auctions.
B) the garden name, invoice number, grade and packing details.
Garden mark tells us where tea was produced.
We have invoice copy for each tea used in the blend which gives gate pass date – shows when the particular tea was produced
Our internal production records would also include:
- Date of purchase of the individual tea.
- Date of collection of the tea and entry into our warehouse.
- Date of blending of the tea.
- Date of dispatch of the blend to the port.
- Date of shipment along with relevant shipping details.
- Estimated date of arrival at intermediary and destination port.
Agrochemicals and MRLs
- Agrochemical compliance is first consideration in buying teas.
- Most tea produced in India is in hot humid climate and for local market. Thus pest problems exist, especially in Assam.
- Indian pesticide laws are rather liberal for domestic market.
- Tea board of India, producer and exporter associations are well aware of all international norms.
- Export quality estates are complying with international norms. We discuss and visit gardens to see progress.
- We conduct random checks of various estates at German labs to ensure that MRL is within international laws.
- In Japan, 2-4D is still an issue with Assam and some other Indian teas as no weedicide replacement. Some Assam estates are not using 2-4D.
- Shipment only after buyer checks shipment sample at their lab.
Evaluating teas for tasting
- First we evaluate dry leaf. This is judged for appearance (long, mixed, choppy, stylish, wiry etc), volume and bloom. We check for size, evenness, bloom, tips and stalk. The feel also gives an idea of the crispiness of the leaf and absence of moisture.
- Next we evaluate the infusion, which could vary from bright to dull and be green, coppery or mixed. The infusion is also evaluated for nose to get an idea of aroma.
- This is followed by evaluation of the cup colour, which can be lemon, orange, bright, coloury or dark .
- The next evaluation is of the cup. Special attention is paid to astringency, character, body, aroma and flavour. This is judged in relation to the flush period or the blend standard against which the tea is to be evaluated. Most of the blend standards are stored in a taster’s memory and he would be able to earmark different teas for the different standards while tasting.
The Truth Behind Grading and Quality
- Fancy grades are being used by many gardens and are in no way representative of tea quality. Thus many FTGFOP1 teas will be better than SFTGFOP1(marvel).
- Often teas marked clonals or china may have no clone or china character and may not even come from such a bush.
- Some garden obtain high prices at times just due to their brand equity and not quality.
- Elevation or bush type does not always determine quality. Even low elevation gardens can make good teas, and high elevation some poor teas. Thus we taste teas 'blind'.
The Art of Tea Blending
Most of the teas sold worldwide today are in the form of standardized blends even for good quality. This is an art, which makes a merchant stand out from a producer .
Our order of priority is: Taste, liquor, colour, appearance.
We can standardize blends comprising of different seasons and growing areas. We make individual standards for each season / growing area and then mix these together to make standard. This helps to taste each origin separately and maintain quality.