Malaysia, Cameron Highlands – BOH Tea Plantations
Our second day in the Cameron Highlands we again take a trip to the tea plantations. We take a taxi and go from Tanah Rata through the city of Brinchang to about 10 km distant Kea Farm, where roses are grown.
A little behind her (at the Mossy Mountain bus stop) the taxi driver stops and we have to go our way. In retrospect, it does not make much sense that he does not want to bring us to the place, but at least we walk. Our goal is the BOH tea center, specifically Sungei Palas Tea Garden, which is 3.5 km away on a small asphalt road. However, it is quite busy because there are many visitors coming to this center. No wonder, BOH produces 70% of all tea in Malaysia.
Because the Cameron Highlands is one of the country's most fertile agricultural areas, it is an ideal place to grow excellent teas. The taste of the tea is influenced by local conditions - higher altitude, lower temperatures, rich rainfall and acidic soil. Sungei Palas Tea Garden attracts visitors to its terrace with amazing views across the tea plantations. With a cup of local tea, this is the perfect place to relax.
But we are more attracted by the opportunity to visit the tea factory. The tour is free, which is relatively surprising given the higher prices for BOH tea. Next to the company shop in the tea center is a room where a video of tea production is projected, in the corridor there is a demonstration of the necessary machines and there are educational boards hanging on the walls. The factory itself is located in another building. It is relatively small, pleasantly scented with tea and again we can read a lot of interesting facts about the production process. The tour is also partially commented, but it is not allowed to take photos inside.
In order to produce great tea, first select quality cuttings of shrubs. The seedlings are then carefully treated. During the first year the seedlings are grown outside the plantation before being moved. They have been growing in plantations for about 4 years. During this time the plants are pruned so that they can effectively grow new leaves. Tea bushes survive in local conditions for up to 100 years. The picker picks the best leaves at harvest - ideally young and buds, as they produce the finest teas. Experienced tea pickers collect up to 200 kilograms of these tea leaves daily on BOH plantations. These are then weighed and transported to fading, which is the basic step for making quality teas. The moisture content of the leaves is reduced after approx. 20 hours, after which they can be processed without undue damage. During this treatment it loses its leafy aftertaste. Subsequently, the leaves are rolled to release enzymes and juices and the taste is drawn out by the action of oxygen. The rolling was previously performed manually, but now automatic rollers are used, but they imitate the manual method. There is a fermentation process, the length of which determines the type of tea. Subsequent drying stops the fermentation process and reduces leaf moisture from 60% to 3%. Finally, the best quality tickets are available for sale.
After a visit to the factory, we will have another beautiful walk through the tea plantations and then just deserved food at the market at Kea Farm.
GPS: 4°31'00.8"N 101°24'55.1"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
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Architecturally stunning cities, tea plantations, tropical rainforests, historical landmarks and white beaches. Welcome to Malaysia, a multicultural country with strong influences from China, India and the rest of Southeast Asia.
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A quiet island with white beaches, turquoise sea and an unspoiled underwater world is the dream of each of us. Have you ever heard of this little paradise? Thanks to the white beaches, the island was named Pulau Kapas or "Cotton Island". (Kapas means "cotton" in Malay, Pulau "island").
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We bring you next part of our Borneo series. Let's see where we went next.
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