14 May 2016

Jacinta's tea: the harvesting and drying part

     A previous post introduced Jacinta, a critical part of my False Bluff family, and of the "nuevo negocio," or new business, that I have encouraged her to begin building with False Bluff as its base. 
     As critical as her part in this new endeavor is, so too is the part played by other members of her family, especially that of her husband Jose who is shown below with their daughter.

     And the other two who are critical to this part of bringing Jacinta's tea to the public.

     Jose and his son and a brother are processing a day's worth of flowers that they've just collected. Somewhere in the world there's a machine that does all of this work, but right now things are pretty labor intensive.

     After harvesting the flowers they are separated from the seed pods, one at a time. 

     You can see in the picture below how stiff the calyx is. As the drying progresses, the last remnant of green (such as the occasional leaf and what looks like a little crown partially surrounding the calyx below in Jose's hand) falls off. One of the additional chores involved in the process of bringing the raw ingredients of Jacinta's tea from bush to brew is picking out leaves and other greenery from the important, tea-making, red parts of the flowers that are drying.

     And the next crop, in the form of seeds, is carefully put aside.

     Then the flowers are put to dry in the very hot, very bright, Caribbean sun - a process that takes about five days. 

Day one of five

Day two of five