Sri Lankan tea brokers mull mechanisation

Oct 01, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea brokers are considering mechanizing preparation of samples to speed up the work to handle ever increasing volumes. Brokers today prepare and distribute a million two once samples of tea a week for buyers to see and taste before deciding to bid at the Colombo auctions, the world’s largest.

Brokers said one company, John Keells, was already experimenting with mechanisation of sampling, using machines to replace the current manual work.

This would help tea brokers increase the speed of their services and turnaround times.

Right now brokers give buyers hand-wrapped paper samples of tea to be offered at the auction.

Brokers said experiments are being done to have paper sachets filled by machines.

“But it’s not easy as care must be taken not to damage leafy teas,” said a broker.

The appearance of the black tea leaves, and colour and aroma of the brew are all taken into consideration by buyers.

Brokers said the Colombo auctions are already the most efficient among the world’s 11 major tea auction centres but the trade was considering automating the process to cope with the larger vo