From Teabush To Tea Cup: The Tea Harvest

The Tea Harvest

BOH workers harvest, or 'pluck', the tea bushes approximately every 3 weeks when the new shoots grow or 'flush'. Tea used to be plucked by hand as the workers move laboriously through the long rows of low tea bushes. Today, innovation and research within the Company has led to a mechanisation and upgrading of its operations with the development of several labour and time-saving methods.

In the highland gardens, the most common plucking method used is the two-man hand-held machine which is assisted by winches. These machines can harvest up to 300 kgs of green leaf per man per day, 10 times more than traditional hand plucking. On the steepest slopes where access is limited, shears are used and can bring in about 120kgs per man per day.

In the evacuation of the plucked leaf from the field, zipwires are used. In the lowland garden at Bukit Cheeding where the land is flatter and more accessible, BOH uses specially-designed vehicular harvesters which pluck 9000 kgs of green leaf a day! After the harvest day is over, the leaf is first checked for quality, packed into sacks and weighed before being transported to the factory for processing.