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of prepared leaves; one or two men stand on his right with dollahs, or shallow baskets, to receive the leaves from the pan, and another keeps lifting the hot leaves thrown out of the pan into the dollah, that they may quickly cool. At a given signal from the Chinaman, the person with the basket of prepared leaves seizes a handful and dashes it as quick as thought, into the red hot pan. The Chinaman tosses and turns the crackling leaves in the pan for half a minute, then draws them all out by seizing a few leaves in each hand, using them by way of a brush, not one being left behind. They are all caught by the man with the dollah or basket, who with his disengaged hand continues lifting the leaves, and letting them fall again, that they may quickly cool. Should a leaf be left behind in the pan by any accident, the cloth that is held ready in the mouth is applied to brush it out; but all this is done as quick as lightning. The man that holds the basket of leaves watches the process sharply; for no sooner is the last leaf out of the pan, than he dashes in another handful, so that to an observer at a little distance, it appears as if one man was dashing the leaves in, and the other as fast dashing them out again-so quickly and dexterously is this managed. As soon as one basket has received about four handsful of the hot leaves from the pan, it is removed, and another basket placed to receive the leaves; and so on, until all is finished. A roaring wood fire is kept up under the pan to keep the bottom red hot, as the succession of fresh leaves tends greatly to cool the pan, which ought always to be scrubbed and washed out after the process is over. In China these pans are made of cast iron, and if great care is not taken they will crack in the cooling; to prevent which, one man keeps tapping the inside of the edge of the pan briskly with a wet broom, used in the cleaning of the vessel, while another pours cold water in gently; thus it cools in a few seconds, and is ready for another batch of Tea. The leaves are rolled and tatched the same as the other Teas, and put into the drying basket for about ten minutes. When a little dry, people are employed to work and press the leaves in the hands in small quantities, of about one and a half to two rupees weight at a time, for about half a minute; they are then put into small square pieces of paper and rolled up; after this they are put into the drying basket, and permitted to dry slowly over a gentle fire for some hours, until the whole is thoroughly dry. This Tea is not sold in the China market, it is used principally as offerings to the priests, or kept for high days and holidays. It is said to be a very fine Tea, and there is not one man in a hundred who can make it properly. The Pouchong Tea is made in the same way as the Sychee, with this exception, that it is not formed into balls.
Mingchew Black-Tea. The leaves (Pouchong) are plucked and dried in the sun, and are then beaten and dried in the shade for half an hour; this is done three successive times, and the leaves are very much shaken by a circular motion given to them in a sieve, so as to keep them rolling and tumbling about in the centre of it. This treatment continues until they are very soft; they are then allowed to remain for a short time; the contents of the first sieve are then placed in the centre of a close worked bamboo basket with a narrow edge, and the leaves are divided into four equal parts. The contents of the second sieve are placed in another bamboo basket like the former, and this basket is placed on the top of the first, and so on, piling one basket upon another until all is finished ;-there may be about two pounds of leaves in each basket. The red hot pan is used the same as in Sychee, only now the men cast in one division of the leaves into the basket, and this is tumbled and tossed about in the red hot pan, like a plaything, for about thirty seconds, and then swept out; another division is cast in, and so on, until all the prepared baskets have been emptied. The contents of each basket are still kept separate, by placing the leaves when they come out of the pan in separate baskets. The whole is a brisk and a lively scene, and quite methodical, every one knowing his station, and the part he has to perform. The baskets are then arranged on shelves to air; the contents are afterwards tatched the same as our Black-Teas, and fired in the drying baskets, but with this difference, that each division is placed on paper and dried. When it is half dry (the same as our Teas) it is put away for the night, and the next morning it is picked, and put into the drying baskets over gentle deadened fires, and gradually dried there; it is then packed hot. This Tea is a difficult sort to make.
Shung Paho Black-Tea. Pluck the young (Paho) leaf that has not yet blown or expanded, and has the down on it; and the next one that has blown with a part of the stalk; put it into the sun for half an hour, then into the shade; tatch over a gentle fire, and in tatching roll the leaves occasionally in the pan, and spread them all round the sides of the same; again roll them until they begin to have a withered and soft appearance; then spread them on large sieves, and put them in the shade to air for the night; next morning pick, and then fire them well. Some Tea makers do not keep them all night, but manufacture and pack the Tea the same day. This Tea is valued in China, as it is very scarce; but the Chinamen acknowledge that it is not a good sort. They prefer the Teas, the leaves of which have come to maturity.
The China Black-Tea plants which were brought into Muttuck in 1837, amounted in all to 1609-healthy and sickly. A few of the lat
ter died, but the remainder are healthy, and flourish as well, as if they had been reared in China. The leaves of these plants were plucked in the beginning of March, and weighed sixteen seers, or thirty-two pounds. Many of the plants were then in flower, and had small seeds. They are about three feet high, and were loaded with fruit last year, but the greater part of it decayed when it had come to maturity, as was the case with the Assam Tea-seeds, and almost every seed of these wilds, in the past year. The seeds should, I think, be plucked from the plant when thought ripe, and not be permitted to drop or fall to the ground. I collected about twenty-four pounds of the China seeds, and sowed some on the little hill of Tipum in my Tea garden, and some in the Nursery-ground at Jaipore; above three thousand of which have come up, are looking beautiful, and doing very well. I have since found out that all the China seedlings on Tipum hill have been destroyed by some insect.
The Assam and China seedlings are near each other; the latter have a much darker appearance. I have made but few nurseries, or raised plants from seed, as abundance of young plants can be procured, of any age or size, from our Tea tracts. There may be about 6,000 young seedlings at Chubwa; at Deenjoy about 2,000; at Tingri a few; and some at Paundooah. In June and July, 1837, 17,000 young plants were brought from Muttuck, and planted at a place called Toongroong Patar, amongst the thick tree jungles of Sadiya.
In March of the same year six or eight thousand were brought from Muttuck, and planted in different thick jungles at Sadiya; many of these died in consequence of the buffaloes constantly breaking in amongst them; the rest are doing well, but I am afraid will be killed from the above cause; and now that I have removed to Jaipore, they are too far off for my personal superintendence.
In 1838, 52,000 young Tea plants were brought from the Nemsong Naga hill tracts, about ten miles from Jaipore; a great portion of these have been lately sent to Calcutta, to be forwarded to Madras; should they thrive there, it is my opinion that they will never attain any height, at least not like ours, but be dwarfish like the China plants. Deenjoy, Chubwa, Tingri, and Geela-Jhan tracts have been filled up or enlarged with plants from the jungle tracts. In transplanting from one sunny tract to another, when done in the rains, very few, if any, die; if the plants be removed from a deep shade to a sunny tract, the risk is greater, but still, if there is plenty of rain, few only will die. If from a deep shade to a piece of ground not a Tea tract, and exposed to the sun-for instance from the Naga hills to Jaiporeif there be plenty of rain, and the soil congenial, as it is at this place,
few will die; if shaded by a few trees, less will perish; if taken from shade, and planted in shade and the soil uncongenial, but there is plenty of rain, the greater portion will live;-witness Toongroong Patar at Sadiya. If the plants are brought from deep shade, and planted in the sun in uncongenial soil, let them have ever so much rain, not one in fifty will be alive the third year;-witness 30,000 brought to Sadiya. I believe the Tea plant to be so hardy that it would almost live in any soil, provided it were planted in deep shade when taken to it. There should be plenty of water near the roots, but the plant should always be above inundation. As soon as it has taken root, which it will soon do, the shade may be removed, and there will be no fear of the plant dying.
The advantage of getting plants from the jungle tracts is, that you can get them of any age or size; nothing more is necessary than to send a few coolies early in March, just as the rains commence, and have the plants of the size required removed to your own garden ; and if they are of a moderate size, you may gather a small crop of Tea from them the next year. As these plants are very slender, it would be best to plant four or five close together to form a fine bush. If the plants are raised from seed, you may expect a small crop of Tea the third year, but they do not come to maturity under six years. It is said they live to the age of forty or fifty years. The Chinese way of digging a hole, and putting in a handful or two of seed, does not succeed so well in this country, as putting two or three seeds on small ridges of earth and covering them over, which I have found to answer better.
In clearing a new Tea tract, if the jungle trees are very large and numerous, it would be as well to make a clean sweep of the whole, by cutting them and the Tea plants all down together; for it would be impossible to get rid of so much wood without the help of fire. The Tea plants, if allowed to remain, would be of little use after they had been crushed and broken by the fall of the large trees, and dried up by the fire; but admitting that they could escape all this, the leaves of trees from twelve to twenty feet high could not be reached, and if they could, they would be almost useless for Tea manufacture, as it is the young leaves, from young trees, that produce the best Teas. But if all were cut down and set fire to, we should have a fine clear tract at once, at the least expense, and might expect to have a pretty good crop of Tea one year after the cutting, or, at furthest, the second year; for it is astonishing with what vigour the plant shoots up after the fire has been applied. And we gain by this process; for, from every old stock or stump cut down, ten to twelve more vigorous shoots
spring up, so that in the place of a single plant you have now a fine Tea bush. I think from what I have seen of these plants, that if cut down every third year, they would yield far superior Teas; neither am I singular in this opinion; the Green-Tea Chinamen having told me that they cut down their plants every ninth year, which may be reckoned equivalent to our third year, taking into consideration the size of our trees and the richness of our soil. Our trees, or plants, are certainly more than four or five times the size of theirs, and must consequently yield so many times more produce; theirs is the dwarf, ours the giant Tea. The size of the leaf matters nothing, in my opinion, provided it is young and tender; even their diminutive leaf, if one day too old, is good for nothing.
As the Green-Tea Chinamen have just commenced operations, I will try to give some account of this most interesting process. All leaves up to the size of the Souchong are taken for the Green-Tea. About three pounds of the fresh leaves, immediately they are brought in, are cast into a hot pan (sometimes they are kept over night when abundance have been brought in, and we have not been able to work all up); they are then rolled and tossed about in the pan until they become too hot for the hand. Two slips of bamboo, each about a foot long, split at one end so as to form six prongs, are now used to tumble and toss the leaves about, by running the sticks down the sides of the pan, and turning the leaves up first with the right hand, then with the left, and this as fast as possible; which keeps the leaves rolling about in the pan without being burnt: this lasts about three minutes; the leaves will then admit of being rolled and pressed without breaking. They are now taken from the pan and rolled in dollahs, much the same as the Black-Tea, for about three minutes, in which process a great quantity of the juice is extracted, if they be fresh leaves; but if they have been kept over night, very little juice can be expressed from them in the morning, on account of its having evaporated. The Chinamen say, this does not matter, as it makes no difference in the Tea. The leaves are then pressed hard between both hands, and turned round and pressed again and again, until they have taken the shape of a small pyramid. They are now placed in bamboo-baskets or dollahs with a narrow edge, and the dollahs on bamboo framework (see fig. 2 of my former account of Black-Tea) where they are exposed to the sun for two or three minutes, after which these pyramids of Tea are gently opened and thinly spread on the dollahs to dry. When the Tea has become a little dry, (which will be the case in from five to ten minutes if the sun be hot) it is again rolled, and then placed in the sun as before; this is done three successive times. But should the