By Ben:

One of the members of ICC is the factory director of a large tea plantation.  He invited us out to tour the factory, taste the tea, and have lunch with him and his family.  This was quite an honor, especially since it was his birthday.

 On the drive there, we passed field after field of the most beautiful agricultural fields I’ve ever seen.  The tea is extremely green, and immaculately trimmed into perfect carpets of tea bushes.  The tea is both hand and machine picked, and delivered to the factory.

 The tea leaves are steamed, fermented, chopped, dried, filtered, and sorted—all in massive factory automated equipment.  The finished tea is constantly monitored for quality by brewing and tasting small amounts from each batch.  If anything tastes wrong, they stop the presses.

 We finished up the tour by going up to the directors home, which is on the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful fields.  We got to drink tea, which was really delicious—and I’m not much of a tea drinker!  We are bringing about 25 kilos home…hope we don’t get caught in customs!