Our Fermented Tea
From the Earth in Burma to our Restaurant table in San Francisco BAY
The Burma Love Foods Company fosters organic farming practices in Burma to ensure we use the highest quality clean ingredients, combined with minimal processing and packaging to recreate our favourite dressings and dishes.
Growing our burmese organic tea leaf
Our Tea plants are cultivated and grown at about 6,000 feet above sea level in a mix of sand-clay soil in the Namhsan highlands of Northern Shan State. Harvest season for the tea lasts from April - October, with the earlier months producing the most flavorful and more quality teas. Generally, there are 3-4 picks within the year, with the 1st and 2nd picks being the most highly desired of the season for quality.
Picking only the best quality tea
The plucking standard for our picked tea is a configuration called “Two Leaves, One bud,” which translates to a tea bud nestled between two leaves. The bud is often called the “General’s Tea” in Myanmar. For our Fermented Tea Leaf Salads, we buy the first and second picks and we only buy the 'Two leaves - One bud' configuration.
TRANSPORTATION of the tea to our processing facility
The tea leaf is transported into the township of Namhsan in burlap sacks, usually by moped, to be processed at our tea plant facility.
PREPARATION OF THE TEA
Before the fermentation process can begin, workers spread the tea into a lowered pool covered with mesh netting for the sorting process. Workers manually sort to remove foreign particles and also to sort and split the higher quality tea leaf versus the lower quality tea leaf. There are also high-powered fans installed overhead to vacuum away any undesirable particles. The tea is then washed.
The tea is packed into a steamer. The steamer is located on the top floor with a chute through the floor linking to the floor below. Once the tea has been steamed for the right amount of time, workers release the tea through the chute into a metal container on the bottom floor to be prepared to begin oxidisation.
The tea workers use wooden sticks to ”roll/stress” the pile of tea leaves to bruise it and start the oxidation process. The tea is then placed into buckets and placed into the spinner to reduce the moisture content.
The sorted tea leaf is placed into plastic lined burlap sacks and moved into the fermentation room, an underground storage to maintain a consistent cool temperature. Some are placed in an enormous metal container that stretches wall to wall. Others are placed into wooden boxes with heavy weights placed on top. It then sits and ferments for several months at a time.
TRansporting and importing the tea from burma
Tea leaf is transported in bags to a large production factory in Mandalay where it is frozen and packed into 10 lb bags to be placed in a container heading to the SF Port.
Once it reaches the port and is properly inspected, we deliver it to our cold storage warehouse partner and store the container until it is required for Laphet production.
production of our fermented tea leaf into laphet
When we require our famous Fermented Tea Leaf dressing for our restaurants, Burma Love Natural food orders the fermented tea leaf from our importer Mya Foods. It is held in refrigeration until it is ordered and then it is thawed. After it is thawed and sorted again by us, our secret combination of seasonings are added to the fermented tea leaves to create a thick, flavorful seasoned laphet.