The Making of Kuching Herbal Tea
The quality and efficacy of any herbal functional product or medicine is dependent on the source – the plant material. No modern technology or process can improve the efficacy of poor quality herb.
Kuching Herbal Tea is cultivated, processed and packed by Agripearl Sdn Bhd, a farm situated at Kg Sungai Dua Besar (in the outskirts of Kuala Pilah), where the air is clean and the streams are clear. Agripearl is committed to developing the quality and efficacy at source – the plant itself and thereafter preserving it with the appropriate procedures. The entire process is located in the farm.
Organic Farming increases Phytochemical Content
Sustainable organic farming protocols with the right amount of “environmental stress” are practised to optimize phytochemical content (to increase the functional values) in the Misai Kuching plants. Conventional farming methods translate to higher and faster yield, but it would be at the expense of the vital phytochemicals. Agripearl makes its own custom formula fertiliser by composting weeds, unused parts of the Misai Kuching plants, and other organic materials. The compost also provides nutrition to soil organisms that help to turn the soil into “living soil”.
As no herbicides are used, there is a continuous supply of weeds for the making of fertiliser. The numerous varieties of weeds in the compost provide a wide spectrum of micronutrients, essential for the plant to synthesize the complex phytochemicals. Besides, the weeds provide competition (environmental stress) and some protection against pests resulting in healthier, natural Misai Kuching plants. Weeds are not eliminated, but controlled.
No pesticides are used. Pesticides interfere with the plants natural phytochemical producing functions. Organically cultivated plants have a better defence mechanism against pathogens. The insect pests are checked by other beneficial insects, birds and other animals. The end result is high quality natural Misai Kuching plants growing in a thriving ecosystem, just as Mother Nature designed it.
The operations of the farm are evaluated and monitored by the Crop Quality Division of the Department of Agriculture, Malaysia. This division is the certifying body for organic farming in Malaysia. View sample test report
(Organic Misai Kuching Tea)
Organic Certification issued by Department of Agticulture, Malaysia
Processes, Quality and Cost Control
Next to cultivation, drying the leaves is the most vital process. Harvesting shock initiates intense biochemical activity, when the complex phytochemicals that provide the functional value of the tea are systematically reduced to primary compounds. Therefore from harvesting onwards, the tea’s potency, or lack of it, is a function of time. This biochemical activity however, can only be take place in the presence of water. Remove the water and the biochemical activity will cease and micro-organisms are unable to function, hence arresting the breakdown of the phytochemicals. However, these phytochemicals are also very delicate and break down at elevated temperatures.
To achieve this, the drying process is carried out in custom-built stainless steel ovens with the temperature controlled at 65°C. If for any reason (eg. power-failure) the drying process cannot be completed in 15 hours (from the time of harvesting) the material is rejected and sent to the composting yard.
After drying, the dried leaves are manually sorted to remove any twigs. It is then cut to size. The tea material are fed into a column filling machine and filled into teabags. This process is carried out in clean room conditions.
Since all the operations from cultivation to final product are carried out at one site, there is no intermediate packing, handling or transporting thus avoiding contamination or spoilage and the highest quality is maintained. Furthermore, with the cost savings Agripearl is able to offer top quality, truly organic natural Misai Kuching tea at the price affordable by all.
Traceability and Certification
Quality control processes ensure traceability from the time the plant was sowed to the final product. The farm, the processes and the products comply with Malaysian and EU Organic Standards. Agriperal’s farm and its product was officially awarded Skim Organik Malaysian (Malaysian Organic Scheme) or SOM by the Department of Agriculture, Malaysia in November 2009. View certificate