Tea is a staple beverage all over the world, especially in India. The refreshing drink is preferred and loved by many in various forms for centuries. Therefore, processing tea leaves needs care and precision to obtain perfect and aromatic brewed tea for consumers. Steam Boilers are highly important in the tea industry as steam plays a crucial role in its various process operations.
In earlier years, tea was also utilized for medicinal purposes. It is consumed in different ways; fermented with ‘black tea,’ non-fermented with ‘green tea’ and semi-fermented with ‘oolong tea’, which is mainly preferred in China and Japan. Fermentation is a vital stage in tea processing as it ensures the quality, strength, aroma, and color of the tea produced.
There are around 34 countries globally that produce tea extensively. Countries like India, Sri Lanka, and China are leading tea producers in Asia, whereas Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi are the major African countries known for tea cultivation.
Stages in Tea Processing:
The tea process consists of drying the tea leaves collected from the tea plant named Camellia Sinensis. The leaves are processed into dried tea leaves. It is imperative to control the moisture content and temperature of the tea leaves, failing which, would result in the growth of fungi on the leaves that would make it unsuitable for consumption. While the tea leaves are processed into the brewing tea, it requires steam at a determined temperature. Among the various processes carried in the tea industry, two of the most important ones are the withering and drying process. Let us have a look to know about both the processes in detail.
Tea leaves, when brought from plantations, include moisture content in it that has to be removed. The withering process eliminates partial moisture content from the leaves before it is transferred for subsequent operations. Withering is the most extensive process operation in the tea industry as it requires approximately 50% of the thermal energy of steam boilers and 40% electricity of the process plant.
Tea drying is the second process in tea factories after withering. The process requires around 40% of the thermal energy from the steam boiler and 20% of the factory’s electricity. Once the fermentation process is carried, the tea leaves are subsequently transferred, for the drying process in the drying room. Over there, the fermented leaves are placed on the trays of a dryer. It is heated at a temperature ranging between 200°F and 220°F to eliminate the remaining moisture content from the leaves.
Steam Boilers in Tea Factories:
Steam boilers are crucial to successfully accomplish the withering and drying operation in the tea process plants as it requires an abundant amount of steam. The withering and drying process alone requires 90% of the tea factory’s total heat, and therefore, the steam boilers installed at the processing plant must be highly efficient and durable. Since both the processes consume a high amount of energy, boiler manufacturers suggest a few methods that assist in reducing the energy consumption such as:
- Fan and warm air should be utilized at minimal levels.
- Assess and maintain fan blade positioning
- Ensure that heat exchangers are clean and well-maintained
- Spread tea leaves uniformly to minimize air resistance
- Place air dampeners parallel to the airflow
- Regularly check and maintain fans and motors from boiler manufacturers
- Make sure that the steam pipes are properly insulated
- Clean the equipment and fans after operations
- Place air dampeners at an appropriate angle between the wet end and the dry end of the dryer.
- Control and Monitor the air intake
- Do not open the flow control dampeners unnecessarily
- Note the temperature of tea leaves placed in dryers to administer only the required amount of steam
- Ensure that all the machinery are functioning properly under the guidance of the boiler manufacturer
- Regular servicing and maintenance of steam boilers from the boiler manufacturer
Why Choose Rakhoh Boilers for the Tea Industry?
Rakhoh is a trusted brand as a boiler manufacturer since its inception in 1983. We have always strived and successfully manufactured industrial steam boilers of premium quality that are durable and safe. Catering to more than 20 industries, we understand the needs and demands of different industries and provide our best services with steam boilers and thermal solutions. We have installed steam boilers in various tea factories in India and abroad with our Bi-Drum model being the preferred choice among our tea industry clients.