Manual Plucking of Tender Tea Shoots

Do you ever think how these teas are come to your cup from the plant? It is indeed a very much interesting story. Let’s learn the first step of it today. Harvesting or plucking of tea shoots is the very first step of this process. As we all know tea is a perennial crop which is maintain in vegetative stage as a bush. Tender shoots are harvested from tea bushes for manufacturing of different tea types. This harvesting can be done manually or mechanically. We will look in to the way of manual plucking of tea in this article.

First let’s have an idea about suitable types of shoots in a tea bush for plucking. Suitable tea shoot for plucking includes unopen bud and one, two or three tender leaves. In addition, immature bangies also suitable for plucking. Selective plucking of immature or tender shoots has a huge effect on producing quality teas. Since these immature shoots are rich in polyphenols, they can contribute on producing teas with god liquor, aroma and taste. Teas that manufactured using these leaves at correct maturity have less amount of fiber. So that the market value will also be higher.

Manual plucking is the most ancient and basic method of tea harvesting. But it is more important because it is a selective method of plucking. Tea pluckers are use their thumb and 2nd or 3rd finger to pluck the tender shoots from the tea bush.


These leaves are hold in their fist and put them in to the plucking baskets. Holding these plucked leaves for long time in fist cause them some damages that leads to fermentation. This fermentation effect will effect on manufacturing quality of the tea. it will result over fermented dull coloured teas as final product. Then these plucked leaves will weight and transported to the factories for tea manufacturing.

There are special plucking requirements in some special types of tea manufacturing. One is silver tip production. Silvertip is a type of white tea which need to produce with suppressed fermentation. For this manufacturing only the hairy bud of a special tea cultivar is used. So it need to pick only the unopen bud without damaging it to avoid the heavy fermentation. For that purpose, pluckers are trained to pick the bud carefully without damaging it. These buds will be collected to small containers which facilitate the ventilation to avoid heat damage.


These are more highlighted points in tea harvesting by the traditional manual method. Next time we will look in to the modern methods of tea harvesting.

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