Baikhov Tea

Baikhov Tea


(from the Chinese pai hua, or white flower, the name of the barely opened buds of the tea leaf, one of the parts of tea that gives it its aroma and taste), the trade name of scattered tea processed like separate tea leaves. There are black, green, yellow, and red (oolong) baikhov teas—each produced by a particular method. In the USSR black and green baikhov teas are manufactured.

The manufacture of black baikhov tea includes the following basic operations: dry-curing, rolling, fermenting, drying, sorting, and packaging. The leaves are dry-cured in conveyer-type plants with warm air (32–40° C) for 4–8 hours. Part of the moisture is removed from the leaf, and it becomes pliable and soft; this is indispensable for the next process—rolling—which is carried out in rollers. Here the tissue of the tea leaf is destroyed and cellular fluid is secreted. Rolling is usually carried out in three or four short periods of 45 minutes each. Fermentation involves the oxidation and transformation of the component substances of the tea leaf, which are affected by enzymes, upon contact of the cellular fluid with the oxygen in the air. As a result of fermentation the tea leaf takes on the color, taste, and aroma characteristic of processed tea. In the USSR a shortened process of fermentation, followed by a heating treatment, is used. During the drying of the tea leaf in tea-drying conveyer machines the fermentation processes cease (“overripening of tea”) and excess moisture is removed (leaving a moisture of 3–4 percent in the leaf). Drying is carried out in two ways: for 12–15 minutes at a temperature of 90–95° C and for 10–12 minutes at 90° C. The dried tea is sorted according to the size of the tea leaf into broken (large leaves) and small (siftings and little bits) in cylindrical and flat sorting machines equipped with nets and compartments of various diameters.

The manufacture of green baikhov tea (unfermented), so-called kokchy includes the following operations: steaming (fixation) of the tea leaves, initial drying, rolling, drying, and dry sorting. Unlike black baikhov tea, green tea is not dry-cured or fermented. The steaming of the tea leaf at a temperature of 170–180° C for 3–5 minutes is essential for the fixation of the substances contained in the leaf. The initial drying (thermal extraction) is carried out to remove moisture from the leaf (up to a humidity of not more than 60 percent) and prepare it for rolling. After 80 minutes of rolling in the rollers, the cells are 45–55 percent destroyed. The tea is dried at 105° C until the moisture of the finished product is 3–5 percent. Green baikhov tea is sorted on the same machines as the black tea. Green baikhov tea is produced and used in great quantity in the countries of Asia and America.

In the USSR the processing of baikhov tea represents approximately 30 percent of the total tea production. The main consumers of this tea are the Uzbek SSR, the Tadzhik SSR, the Turkmen SSR, and the Kazakh SSR. Red and yellow (incompletely fermented or semifermented) varieties of baikhov tea are halfway between the black and the green.


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