Customer question time
A non-urgent question....but one I have wondered about over the years (:
It's my memory that some decades ago loose leaf teas were larger particles rather than the finer blends today. I saw with delight that the Earl Grey blend is like the loose leaf of old in size....So I wonder...why not the belter similarly?
Traditionally all tea was produced by ‘Orthodox’ manufacture which is a rolling process allowing the leaves to generally maintain their shape, stay open and therefore larger, and thus brew slowly. With the introduction of tea bags in the 1960s it became necessary to develop new machinery to produce a smaller leaf that delivered a faster and stronger brew. This change in demand coincided with, and helped develop, the vast expansion of production in East and Central Africa. This modern method of manufacture is called ‘CTC’ (Crush Tear & Curl) and is responsible for the finer particle size that we generally see today in the UK. Outside East Africa, older producers in Sri Lanka, China, and to some extent India, have large scale Orthodox industries.
With regard to Bellevue leaf teas, the Earl Grey is produced by traditional Orthodox methods which take the Bergamot flavour well but the Belter is a larger leaf grade CTC as this style delivers the flavour and colour (with milk) in the cup that most people look for. The Belter which is Kenyan based could be larger leaf (try the Kenya Orthodox Milima on the website) but then it would not be so strong and therefore couldn’t really be called ‘Belter’.