Mauritius is growing and processing tea. I admit that I had no idea how the tea that ends up in my cup gets created. Sure, I knew there are some plants, and there are some mythical steps, but else? I am currently showing a friend around the island, and we visited Mauritius' oldest tea factory. So I know slightly more by now.
The plantation is on the hills in the south, near Bois Chéri, where also the temperatures are a bit lower, some 23, 24 degrees C. The tea plants look like small bushes, growing in rows.
The small factory does all the processing, from pre-drying, fermentation (black tea), drying, separating the stems from the leaves, sorting, bagging, and packaging. It’s a system of machines, connected by conveyor belts, on which the processed materials are flowing through all the steps. No high tech, but I was impressed by the processing plant nevertheless. For example, electrically charged rubber drums separate the dried stems from the leavy material: the stems will cling to the drums, while the leaves continue their flow on the conveyor belt. Simple and effective.
Bois Chéri produces variously flavoured black tea, green tea, and citronelle. The tour included the opportunity to taste all their teas, in a restaurant located in a stunning place, overlooking the hills, tea fields, and a small lake.