Tea shrubs are known to be trees that are simply not let grow. Because if they do grow, it becomes inconvenient to collect tea leaves. That is why for a huge number of tea plantations, a technological operation of pruning is mandatory. After which you need to do something with heaps of cut branches. For example, you can try to make post-fermented tea from them, as is done in Japan. Or recycle them for mulch and fertilizers, as is sometimes done elsewhere. Or just throw it away or burn it — which also happens very often.
Of course, it’s a somewhat wasteful way to handle the product, even if it’s only a by-product, of an inevitable technological procedure. Therefore, scientists in different countries have long been looking for ways to efficiently process agricultural tea waste. Some of them, for example, try to extract caffeine. Others test how tea branches undergo pyrolysis. Actually, it was pyrolysis that interested Chinese specialists. The usual products of wood pyrolysis are charcoal, tar and various gases (including methane and hydrogen) — and hardly the branches of the tea bush are an exception here. Chinese experts studied the nature of “tea pyrolysis”, determined the boundary of the first and second reaction range (350.77°C) and obtained some more purely technical data that look convincing but unreadable for us.
If everything goes as it usually does in the tea market, then very soon there will be small bags of charcoal from single tea trees from the Phoenix Mountain. And cylinders with methane from Da Hong Pao, collected from four mother bushes once in three years.