How is Ivan tea made?

How is Ivan tea made?

In the times of Catherine II, tea in Russia was considered an expensive drink, so it was often counterfeited – entirely or partially. Tea production was particularly developed in the village of Koporye in the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Tea was made from the leaves of narrow-leaved fireweed, which were scalded with boiling water and twisted. Since then, such a drink and the plant itself have been called "Ivan tea," i.e., "a simple and common analogue" of traditional tea.

Raw Material Collection of Ivan tea

Narrow-leaved fireweed for the production of Ivan tea is harvested in ecologically clean northern regions of our vast homeland - in the Vologda and Leningrad regions. Every year, new production facilities are opened, increasing production capacity and the volume of the finished product.

When collecting raw materials, great importance is given to the ecological condition of the area. The collection site for fireweed or Ivan tea is a remote village or settlement that is not contaminated by industrial production or other harmful influences. Equally important is the timing of raw material collection. If climatic conditions allow for early harvesting, then the collection of Ivan tea begins in early June. Throughout the summer, the collection of raw materials continues. Leaves suitable for raw material are collected from the plant stem. When Ivan tea blooms, its inflorescences are also collected. The stem of the plant and its root remain untouched.

At collection points for tea leaves, the harvested leaves are checked for quality and sorted. The leaves are spread evenly and cleaned of impurities that may have accidentally entered the raw material during collection.


Withering of Ivan tea

Next comes the withering process. The raw material is spread out thinly in a special place where direct sunlight does not reach and is periodically mixed. Withering removes almost half of the moisture from the tea leaf. As a result, the green mass accumulates a special fermentation juice and acquires the plasticity necessary for the subsequent twisting stage.

Twisting the Leaves

To disrupt the structure of the tea leaf and prepare it for the subsequent fermentation stage, twisting is necessary. Twisting of the tea leaf in production is carried out in special machines called rollers. The rollers we use are made of high-quality stainless steel, preventing oxidation and spoilage of the tea leaf. Twisting of the leaf occurs due to the different directions of movement between the roller and the cylinder into which the raw material is poured. The rollers compress the leaf and, without externally crushing it, disrupt the tissue structure at the molecular level. During this process, intercellular membranes are destroyed, the leaf darkens from the released juice, and it curls into a tube.

Fermentation of Ivan tea leaves

Fermentation is the culmination of biochemical processes that occur during withering and twisting, and it is the most important process in the production of both traditional Chinese black tea and Russian black tea. During fermentation, a large amount of fermentation juice accumulates in the leaves, which contains valuable substances.

For leaf fermentation to proceed qualitatively and evenly, juice is necessary for the bacteria living on the surface of the leaf. The plant mass is placed in containers made of food-grade plastic and tightly closed for 24 hours. During this time, bacteria process the Ivan-tea leaf in such a way that the herbal aroma of the leaf changes to fruity. As a result of oxidative processes, the leaf acquires a brownish color and aromatic tannins appear in it. The tea leaf is then ready for the next stage - drying.

Drying of Ivan tea

The temperature becomes the defining moment in the drying stage of Ivan-tea. In professional drying cabinets, the process is controlled not only by temperature but also by humidity: the more moisture in the leaf, the lower the temperature should be. If wet leaves are immediately placed in a dryer where the temperature is 94 degrees, then water in them will boil! The leaf will brew itself, which will affect its taste qualities.

Therefore, in our drying cabinets, drying automatically begins at low temperatures of 40-50 degrees and gradually, depending on the residual humidity inside the drying chamber, rises to 94 degrees. The process of drying tea leaves takes 3 hours.

Packaging of Ivan tea

At the final stage, the dried leaves of Ivan tea are packaged in bags of various sizes and sent to our warehouse, where they are waiting for you to buy them. Some fireweed leaves are mixed with herbs and berries to become our aromatic tea blends.

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