Camellia sinensis - Green Tea Processing
Hand Processed Green Tea using a Microwave Oven and Wok
1. On a sunny morning, harvest young tea shoots with two leaves and a central needle-like leaf.
2. For green tea, you generally don’t solar wilt your freshly harvested tea but you could have a slight indoor withering, depending on the type of tea you are planning to make.
3. Microwave tea shoots for approximately 2 minutes in an autoclavable plastic bag using level 5 (We have
been using a 1300 Watt inverter microwave oven having a total of 10 power level settings).
4. Remove the cooked tea, separate and spread out onto a muslin cloth for about 3 minutes. The tea will appear to be like “cooked spinach”. The tea in the plastic bag is hot so be careful. This process removes surface moisture and cools the leaves.
5. Gather the tea in a loose ball using a muslin cloth and roll with light pressure for 1 or 2 minutes. Roll until the
leaf and stem extract exudes. This process equalizes the moisture in the leaves as the tissue contents are slowly extracted. The tender shoots take on a sticky consistency.
6. Carefully separate the ball of tea shoots from each other. This offers uniform moisture loss for each tea shoot prior to pan frying.
7. Pan Fry in a large wok, tossing tea for about 1.5 minute.
8. Evenly separate, spread and cool tea over a muslin cloth.
9. Gather tea forming a ball and roll in a muslin cloth till the leaf and stem extract emerges.
10. Separate tea shoots. Repeat the last procedure a second time.
11. Pan fry while tossing tea for 5-6 minutes till stems appear dehydrated.
12. Gather the tea, form a ball, and roll for the fourth time in a muslin cloth. Increase pressure by using the base of your palms. Slowly separate the tea shoots from each other.
13. Pan fry while tossing till tea becomes crispy.
14. Spread tea out evenly in a wok for final drying or until stems are fully dried.
15. Pack in air tight aluminum bag or in a container for storage.
16. Sustaining adequate nitrogen fertility is more important in developing good green tea flavor than it does for oolong or black tea.
Dwight Sato, Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, UH Manoa-CTAHR
Tomomi Kinoshita, Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto, Japan