Even though I don’t use teabags, the machines that make them fascinate me. Imagine a machine that takes the processed tea leaves and dumps a small amount into a little bag, adds a string, adds a tag, and does this by the thousands. Wow!
Of course, teabagging machines are part of a line of machines used these days for processing teas. There are machines for producing CTC style teas, orthodox style teas, and special ones just for green teas. They handle the various stages: withering, rolling, oxidizing, drying, and sorting/grading. For a lot of these teas, the final step is the bagging.
The basic structure is pretty much the same. There has to be a hopper where the processed tea is fed in, rolls of bag material, a cutter to make the bags the desired shape (such as the round bags of Typhoo and the rectangular bags of Barry’s) and seal the edges together, string and tags and either glue or staples to attach them to the bag, and a way to gather up the finished bags into boxes. Over a hundred bags and even as many as 250 bags can be made per minute in each machine. At the rate of consumption in countries like Ireland and the UK, many of these machines would have to be employed to be sure those tea drinkers didn’t run out.
Argentina is home to one of the top tea bag production machine companies in the world. The company is MAI from Mar del Plata, Argentina, having customers in 78 countries and many innovative designs. Their standard machine fills 120 rectangular bags per minute with up to 3.3 grams of dry tea per bag, and can also package tisanes which tend to have larger pieces. Another top company is Teepack in Meerbusch, Germany. Tecnomeccanica is another top company in this field; they are in Italy and have a machine design that is faster and can fill 250 pyramid-shaped bags per minute.
See a teabagging machine in action here. Don’t stare too long at it or you might get hypnotized.
One final note: all that effort to put the dry tea into those bags and then folks like me cut them open and dump the tea loose into the pot. Sorry about that! For many tea drinkers those bags are a lifesaver, allowing for the quick steeping of a cuppa. For hubby and me, they are a flavor distorter.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.