The KDHP tea museum is the first of its kind in India. A trip to Munnar warrants a visit to this establishment. The museum gives a first hand knowledge about tea processing and the operations that go into the making of black tea. A wide collection of memorabilia concerning the history of the plantations, the people and the methods of producing tea are on display.
Entry ticket to the museum which includes the viewing of a short movie on the history of KDHP costs ₹125.
Processing of Tea leaves
The tender hand-plucked tea leaves are first rolled and sifted on this orthodox roller.
This is followed by cutting the leaves repeatedly in four iterations to help expedite the process of oxidation.
The leaves are then oxidized in a special chamber for approximately 40 minutes. The duration of oxidation determines the flavor, aroma, texture and type of the tea being produced.
Post oxidation, the tea remnant of what were tea leaves are put in a hot-drying chamber. Drying is done to finish the tea for sale. The amount of time and the process by which the tea is dried also contributes to the flavor and color of the produce.
After the drying process, the processed leaves are again sifted and sorted based on their size. This process also helps remove tea stems, tea seeds and any other impurities that might have survived the processing.
The exit leads you to a souvenir shop where you can buy different varieties of tea and other organic produce like jams and chocolates which is marketed by KDHP.
New Mountains Old Roads
New Mountains Old roads is a short documentary style movie which highlights the historic transformation of Kanan Devan hills. If you are more of a reader than a watcher/ listener, this story is also explained in writing on boards placed in the museum.
The images above throw light on the events that occurred in these hills from the 12th century to 2005.
For those of you who find it cumbersome to read, I will provide a TL;DR version.
Britishers settle for cultivating tea when they fail to capture Tipu Sultan. Two centuries later, the plantation workers become owners of the estate, all thanks to TATA industries.
The heritage and stories of these hills are also expressed through artifacts which are on display in the museum.
Until next time.