Tea Craft: Growing the Tea Bush

Tea cultivation is a modern science - new bushes are propagated from the best tea bushes, creating ‘clonals’ - cultivated variants or cultivars for short. The parent bushes may have been chosen for natural drought or pest resistance, helping farmers economically.

The new plants go to nursery for up to 2 years, and are then planted into a small segregated area of the tea garden, where they be left unpicked for a further 2 years until they reach roughly the height of a picker.

From then, regularly pruned down to a metre in height, the bushes will start to grow sideways and become the familiar sea of bright green leaves.

In 3 to 5 years of pruning, the tea plants are ready for their journey to the cup.

Find out more about when tea is picked.


Traditional Karak 100g

Net Weight: 100g

Fragrant ginger, with peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves - and strong black tea of course - creates an intense and warming cup. From the Indian subcontinent, Karak tea is now a choice of many in the Middle East.

The East India Company - Lifestyle


Blended with the tea - the essential spices: aromatic and distinctive cardamon pods; fragrant hot ginger; earthy-spicy cinnamon; intense cloves; and some black peppercorns to give a little extra heat.

It all combines to an intense and warming brew, made hearty with milk and sugar.

From humble beginnings in the Indian subcontinent, when the British in the form of The East India Company, added tea leaves to the local spicy Kahda, Karak tea has now become a popular drink particularly across the Middle East.

See our recipe for the perfect Karak Chai.
A red-brown liquor in the cup, turning creamy brown with the essential addition of milk - either full fat or even condensed.

All the aromas and flavours of an Arabian spice market.

It's a rich, full-bodied meal of a tea with lots of spice notes softened by the milk.
A red-brown liquor in the cup, turning creamy brown with the essential addition of milk - either full fat or even condensed.

All the aromas and flavours of an Arabian spice market.

It's a rich, full-bodied meal of a tea with lots of spice notes softened by the milk.
EIC Recipe Book - Karak Chai for One

- The East India Company Karak Tea
- Full fat milk
- Sugar
- Water

Pour a mug of boiling water into a saucepan, add one and half teaspoons of Karak tea and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat. Add milk until the tea becomes a creamy brown. Turn on the heat and boil for a further 2 minutes. Add sugar to taste.

Enjoy an authentic Karak Chai tea.




Brewing Time



Pure Ceylon Black Tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Black Pepper.


Store in a cool, dry place avoiding direct sunlight and strong odours. Once opened, store in an airtight container and consume within 3 months.


What makes Black Tea black?

It all starts with a small ‘just-plucked’ green tea leaf, usually about 5 cm long, delivered fresh by the picker to the local factory for processing. Whilst varying by region, there are always 5 core steps to making a Black Tea.

Step 1 - ‘Withering’: the leaves are spread out in warm air for up to a day to reduce the water content by about 20%. The leaves wilt and lose some of the vibrant green colour.

Step 2 - ‘Rolling’: the wilted leaves are soft and malleable and are placed in an ‘orthodox’ rolling machine. It presses the leaf and breaks down the cell walls, releasing the enzymes required to start the oxidation process. Sometimes the leaf is broken more by a rotavane ‘mincing’ machine that produces smaller grades of tea. If a very small teabag grade is required, a Cut-Tea-Curl machine is used.
Step 3 - ‘Oxidation’ [not fermentation, which requires a microbe involvement]: takes half an hour or so depending on the conditions. Chemical reactions are now creating the natural chemicals that deliver flavour and [reputed!] health benefits. The leaf darkens, just like a cut apple after a few minutes.

Step 4 - ‘Firing’: the oxidised tea is fed into a dryer at about 120 Celsius. This does 3 things - it destroys the enzymes, so oxidation stops; secondly it removes nearly all the water [about 3% remains]; and thirdly, it darkens the colour from light brown to dark to almost black, depending on the length of firing.

Step 5 - Sorting: tea exits the firing process in different sizes, which will complicate brewing - hence the last stage of the process is grading – fired tea is poured into the top of a sifting machine with different mesh sizes from top to bottom. It vibrates and the different sized tea leaves are separated as the tea travels from top to bottom, the biggest leaves being left the top.

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  • FAQ

    Does this tea contain caffeine and is there more or less than in coffee?
    Yes, all tea like coffee, contains caffeine. The amount in both teas and coffees does vary, depending on the type, but typically Sri Lankan black tea is lighter than other teas in caffeine content, usually between 50 and 90mg for a normally brewed 230ml serving. This compares to about 95mg for a normal cup of coffee. The best advice is to treat tea and coffee similarly if you need to manage your caffeine intake.

    I’ve heard that tea contains theanine. What is it and what does it do?
    Tea does indeed contain theanine, which is an amino acid [the building blocks of proteins]. Tea is one of only a few sources of theanine. It represents about 1% of dry weight and is at its highest concentrate in shade-grown teas like matcha and gyokuro. Whilst not yet proven in scientific studies that would permit specific health claims to be made, it is believed by many to be able to reduce mental and physical stress, promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. But not only that, it is more recently being thought to aid cognitive function. It’s one explanation for tea’s famous ability to create calm in a crisis [the Great British solution to all problems – ‘putting the kettle on’] and to stimulate when a little boost is required.

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