Tea World

Lesson 19

Plucking in Different Regions/Countries

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In south India, there are three types of plucking viz., light plucking, hard plucking and level plucking. In light plucking system, shoots are plucked above the mother (or first) leaf. It is also known as mother leaf or step up plucking. Plucking is described as ‘hard’ when shoots are plucked below the mother leaf and above the fish leaf. It is referred to fish-leaf plucking. In level plucking system, plucking to any leaf above pre determined level is done. Plucking is done throughout the year. The optimal plucking round is about 7-10 days in growing season and 12-15 days during lean season (cold and dry months of December to March).

In Sri Lanka, combination of fish leaf and single leaf plucking is the normal estate practice. Plucking is done throughout the year.

In Indonesia, level plucking is carried out by plucking shoots upto fish leaf especially at the centre part of the bush, but at the edge it is adjusted to be flat. Under normal conditions, plucking is done every 10-12 days interval to get an acceptable quality. In more favourable conditions, the plucking round is shortened to 7, 8 or 9 days and in unfavourable conditions such as dry season, it may be 14 days or more.

In China, the plucking interval under normal hand plucking is 4-6 days in spring, 6-8 days in summer and autumn. The interval is shortened to 2-3 days for high grade teas. In mechanical plucking, two plucking are done every season and the interval is 12-24 days in spring, and 20-30 days in summer and autumn.

There are many kinds of tea in China with specific quality requirements. Different plucking standards are followed for various types of tea manufactured. Finest plucking for high grade famous teas such as Longching Tea, BiluochunTea,YuhuaTea, Huangsgshan Maofeng Tea etc. For this shoots of one bud and a leaf, even only the buds are plucked. Plucking is normally done in early spring. For manufacturing the popular black tea and green tea, moderate plucking (shoots mainly of two leaves and the bud, occasionally three leaves and the bud with tender banjhi bud) is done. For manufacturing the oolong tea, Eary-mature plucking is adopted to meet the particular requirements of aroma and taste of oolong tea. The plucking is done when the shoots develop to the extent that the buds become banjhi and there are 3-5 leaves below the banjhi buds. The banjhi shoots with 2-4 leaves are plucked. For making specially the brick tea, mature plucking is done.Mature, well grown leaves are needed for making this type of tea. Generally, the shoots are cut off above the first mature leaf when the shoots are removed from the base. This type of tea is consumed in the boarder area where the minority communities boil the tea with butter and highland barley powder. 

In Japan, plucking is normally done 2-4 times a year. The first plucking is done during late April to early May for the first flush. The second plucking is carried out during middle of June to early July followed by the third plucking in late July to early August. In September to October, a fourth plucking can be done but it is mostly uneconomical.

In  Russia, (former U.S.S.R.), light plucking (plucking 2 or 3 leaved shoots leaving a fish leaf and one or two normal leaves) is done in the beginning of the season (May to August). Later on in the season plucking is done over one normal leaves. One leaf is left above the fish leaf for three months of the year and plucking is done to the fish leaf for rest of the season. Plucking is normally carried out 7-8 days round except the months of September-October when interval can be 10 days.

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