Qi Tea Sticks To Age Old Tradition In Processing And Manufacturing
In an age where the majority of packaged food and drink products are manufactured using high-tech machinery, there’s one tea brand that is proud to keep century-old traditions alive. Qi Tea is an independent Fairtrade tea brand that boasts a delicious range of organic, green and white teas.
Qi Tea is grown and carefully prepared according to age old tradition under the guidance of renowned grand Qi Tea Master, Chen Qi Quen. It is sourced high up near the Yellow Mountain region of China, where the art of growing, blending and processing tea dates back to the Tang Dynasty in the 600s (618-907 AD).
Green tea undergoes many stages of processing and many factors affect the end taste. Firstly, only young leaves are picked and then taken to one of four local village processing centres. Tedding, the first stage, starts within two hours which helps retain the freshness and true character of the tea. For white tea, the leaves are then spread out on bamboo mats and are air dried before the process of fixation begins.
The fixation process involves baking the leaves which destroys active enzymes and halts the oxidisation of the leaf. Fixation preserves the characteristics of green tea, including its appearance, taste and aroma – as well as the catechin and other antioxidants which are of interest to scientists in the treatment and prevention of illnesses, such as cancer. The more common method of fixation is pan frying or steaming the leaf in large, industrial steamers. However baking produces a ‘truer’ flavour and the Qi Tea Master continues with this traditional Wuyuan method.
After the leaves have cooled, they are rolled and twisted which preserves the chlorophyll of the leaf and the natural jade colour. They are then dried in multiple stages, crushed into small pieces and sent to the main processing centre for sorting, blending, bagging, and finally packed by hand, ready for export.
The application of hundreds of years of experience and the particular climactic conditions results in Qi Tea having a distinctive, naturally sweet flavour and aroma with no bitterness.
Qi Tea is grown by the Wuyuan Xitou Fairtrade Farmer’s Co-operative, whose members are spread throughout several villages around Xitou. The main processing centre is located in Xitou Village and, in an age in which tea is dominated by multinationals; Qi Tea is processed in a facility owned by the farmers themselves, which provides the majority of employment in the area.
Qi Tea has been distributed in Australia by Universal Village since 2006 and director Nicole Lamond Philp says the brand is incredibly popular amongst consumers. She regularly receives fan mail from customers telling her how much they love the brand for a variety of reasons.
“They love how great it tastes and with health concerns affecting so many, Qi Tea is exactly what they’re looking for. Customers also appreciate where Qi Tea comes from and the authenticity of how it’s produced, which is different from other mass produced teas on the market,” she says.
There are eight delicious varieties of Qi Tea to choose from which are available at Woolworths, select IGA Supermarkets, Foodworks and premium organic grocers – for more information visit www.qitea.com.au