IIT Kharagpur brews new Green Tea-tech:
In recent years, there has been continuous increase in cost of tea production but prices remained stagnant. When Tea Board of India partnered with IIT Kharagpur to set up experimental tea garden, there were two major challenges. First, reduce the manufacturing cost and second, invent new tea products. The garden was set up in Gopali, spread in 15Acres.
Prof. Bijoy Chandra Ghosh who is Head of Agricultural and food engineering-IIT KGP, started working on the challenges. He is now able to find solutions to both challenges. He already has one patent in his name with title “A process technology for production of soluble black tea” and applied for another.
Green tea has become very popular in recent year due to its benefit in reducing weight and antioxidants. Green tea production requires regular steaming for its known pale colour and benefits. But, during steaming it also loses the tea flavour. Technically, the flavour is composed of enzymes PPO and PO. This was deterring many people as it loses the flavour during steaming.
Prof. Ghosh identified this and considered 20-25 woods of different woods for flavouring and finally selected three flavours namely Sandalwood, Neem wood and mango wood. These woods were burned and smoke was passed through tea leaves. The tea formed was named Smokey or Barbeque tea. This will cater to the need of the people who wants to have the benefits of green tea, but not consuming it due to lack of flavour. “We have developed green tea with flavours so that people who would like to get the benefits of green tea but are discouraged by the absence of flavour can have it in a more appealing form” said Prof. Ghosh.
Two more varieties were prepared- ‘Quick tea’ and ‘Snow tea’. Quick tea given this name because time taken between plucking and processing of tea leaves is just 25 Minutes. Earlier it was 15-20 Hours after plucking. This was possible using new technology innovation using heat treatment through a specifically designed trough. Processing of Snow tea was possible by drying tea leaves at minus 30°C.
These innovations reduced production time and enhanced flavour. “And it costs only one-fifth of standard manufacturing process. We will launch the modified green tea varieties through different brands soon,” Prof. Ghosh added.
Agricultural technology is one of the most unique courses offered in IIT Kharagpur. Read more about some such courses here.