Page:An account of the manufacture of the bla.pdf/11

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They are then put into smaller baskets of the same kind as the former, and placed on a stand (fig. 5). People are now employed to soften the leaves still more by gently clapping them between their hands, with their fingers and thumb extended, and tossing them up and letting them fall, for about five or ten minutes. They are then again put on the frame (fig. 4) during half an hour, and brought down and clapped with the hands as before. This is done three successive times, until the leaves become to the touch like soft leather; the beating and putting away being said to give the tea the black colour and bitter flavour. After this the Tea is put into hot cast-iron pans (fig. 6) which are fixed in a circular mud fire-place, so that the flame cannot ascend round the pan to incommode the operator. This pan is well heated by a straw or bamboo fire to a certain degree. About two pounds of the leaves are then put into each hot pan, and spread in such a manner that all the leaves may get the same degree of heat. They are every now and then briskly turned with the naked hand to prevent a leaf from being burnt. When the leaves become inconveniently hot to the hand, they are quickly taken out and delivered to another man with a close worked bamboo basket (fig. 7) ready to receive them. A few leaves that may have been left behind are smartly brushed out with a bamboo broom; all this time a brisk fire is kept up under the pan. After the pan has been used in this manner three or four times, a bucket of cold water is thrown in and a soft brickbat and bamboo broom used, to give it a good scouring out; the water is thrown out of the pan by the brush on one side, the pan itself being never taken off. The leaves all hot on the bamboo basket are laid on a table that has a narrow rim on its back, to