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Tea Production: Making HuangShan MaoFeng Green Tea

The process of Huangshan Maofeng production includes three major step: wilting, fixation, shaping and drying.

Wilting: after picking, the fresh tea leaves are spread wilting beds. This allows the moisture content of the leaves to naturally drop. Typically the leaves are wilted for around 1-2 hours, depending on the atmospheric conditions on the day.

Fixation: the key step of the whole process, which kills most of the active enzymes in the leaf and therefore prevents further oxidisation/fermentation. The active transaminase in the tea leaves will be due to the high temperature. Typically, modern MaoFeng manufacturing utilises temperatures around 240-280 for 4-6min. During the process the leaves are tumbled to ensure the heat is evenly distributed and to further breakdown the cell walls. These steps are also critical in developing the tea's aroma. 

Shaping: the shaping process, not only forms the final shape of the leaf, but also helps further break down the cell walls and help with the aromatic oils ins the leaf. The duration of the processing varies throughout the picking season. The early harvests including MingQian, different machines are used due to the tenderness of tea leaves. Early teas are twisted more lightly, often as little as 3min. Older, courser tea leaves will be subject to heavier and tighter shaping, for 20-30min.

Drying:the final step of the whole process. The finished green tea is gradually dried, typically with three separate firings using with temperatures of 120c, 100c and 90c. The aim is to end with a dry leaf with a water content within 4%-5%. This is very important for the final quality and to ensure a good shelf life.



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