The supply chain
From harvesting to packaging
Historically, the production process of Thé Infré started with the harvesting of the tea leaves, carried out by hand or using simple shears. Today, this step is performed with the aid of state-of-the-art machinery specially designed to preserve the typical properties of the plant.
Harvesting follows a precise rule, called ‘two leaves and a bud’. It takes as much as 25 kg of tea leaves to obtain about 6 kg of product ready for infusion.
Harvesting is followed by the withering phase, in which 30-40% of the moisture is removed from the still turgid leaves. For black tea in particular, the leaves, while still green, are rolled and broken so that the lymphatic liquids can combine with oxygen.
The leaves, which have turned a dull yellow colour, are then placed in layers on special steel shelves and placed in a very humid environment at a temperature of around 20°C, called the ‘fermentation chamber’, for a period of time that can vary from one to three hours. It is at this stage that the leaves turn a copper red colour, due to the reaction between enzymes and oxygen.
Once the desired degree of fermentation has been reached, the leaves are transferred to a dry room with a temperature of 90°C: the drying process then begins, with jets of hot, dry air, making the leaves dark and dry.
The sieving, i.e. the selection of the teas, is then carried out. The leaves are sorted according to their size and quality, depending on whether they are whole, broken or powdered.
The deteinisation phase takes place in dedicated factories, where the figure of the tea-taster operates: a veritable tea ‘sommelier’, who tastes the finished product and is able to determine whether it meets the desired quality and can therefore be put on the market.
Controlled quality, from the origin to the final production
In order to achieve such a high quality of the blend and ensure its longevity, in addition to selecting the correct types of tea, many taste tests are carried out throughout the process.
In the places of origin
to ensure that the product is of the right quality and has no unpleasant aromas
During the purchasing stage
to ensure that the tea meets the quality standards required by Infré
to make sure that the tea, after the journey from the country of origin to the production facilities, is not altered and has the same organoleptic characteristics as when it was purchased
a small sample is blended manually, based on the recipe. A taste test is then performed to ensure that the quality of the blend does not vary.
During the deteinisation process
to ensure that the final product is in line with Thé Infré’s high standards