This is an excerpt from the January/February issue of Tea MagazineTM
Ships arriving from a dozen countries feed 25,000 tons of tea per year into Unilever’s Lipton Tea Factory, located in the United Arab Emirate’s Jebel Ali Free Zone. The tea is then blended and poured into 1.2 million teabags per hour.
And that’s just the bagged black and green tea. Lipton Jebel Ali (LJA) also produces loose leaf teas in carton packs and flavored specialty teas in this factory.
Jebel Ali is the second largest tea factory in the world, with plans to soon overtake Lipton’s largest capacity factory in England. Originally LJA produced 5,000 tons of tea a year for Middle Eastern markets. Today, it supplies nearly six billion bags of tea to 47 countries – ranging from the Middle East, West Africa, and Kazakhstan to such faraway destinations such as Canada and Australia. The United States has its own dedicated tea factory in Suffolk, Virginia.
“Tea arrives in 40-foot containers that contain 400 bulk sacks (of approximately 60 kgs each) of tea” explains Abdelaziz Salah, Plant Manager. A kilo of CTC (cut, tear, curl) tea makes 500 tea bags. Each day this plant processes several million 100-count boxes of teabags.
“While the bags are identical, the tea within is a complex blend customized for each region,” said Beverages Category Supply Chain Director, Kurush Bharucha.
“Teas from many tea growing countries in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia all find their way to Dubai,” he said. Each origin makes a unique contribution to the finished blend. “Teas are sought for specific characteristics. When blended, each contributes to the final product recipe’s flavor, astringency, body and color,” he explains.
To learn more visit: www.liptontea.com
By Dan Bolton, Tea Magazine Editor
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