You have already come across the various methods of tea proceesing. The history of the tea processing corresponds intimately with the role that tea played in Chinese society and the preferred methods of its consumption in ancient Chinese society. Variations of these processing techniques are still used in modern tea processing being far more mechanised. Dating back to the 19th century, it is important to bear in mind that all the basic processes of tea manufacture, were by and large, executed manually and through natural contrivances that is how the Chinese did it and how it was taught/learnt in India.The leaf was withered in open sun-light, hand-rolled, fermented on floors, dried over charcoal fires, and trampled into the chests by barefoot workers
After the introduction of tea in India, innovation with regard to the tea machinery took place Britain apart from its huge involvement in the tea trade globally was more naturally poised towards technological innovation in the tea sector. There were also specific reasons that called for early introduction of machinery. One was the increased demand for tea. In fact, the broadening of the social base of tea consumption was in a cyclical relationship with introduction of machinery as the latter led to more production and also to the availability of tea at cheaper rates.
Another important factor related to the introduction of machinery was the difficulty of garnering labour considering the huge (plantation) scale that the British envisaged and the geographic location of the new tea estates. Labour had to be fetched from far-flung places by tedious methods. Retention of labour too was difficult in the exacting conditions of the alien plantation settlement, with almost everything being done manually in the early days.
Now you will learn about some of the important machinery used in various stages of tea manufacture.