Kratom: From Tree to Tea
Kratom has a long documented history of use in South East Asia. In Thailand and Malaysia kratom is consumed by either chewing leaves fresh, or, more commonly by brewing the leaves into a tea.
In the rest of the world we are more familiar with kratom as a fine-milled dry powder. This method was pioneered by Indonesian farmers trying to export this leaf in an easily transportable, stable form.
So, how does kratom get from tree to powder?
First of all the leaves are hand picked paying close attention to only harvest those of adequate age and quality. The youngest leaves are left on the tips of each branch to mature and encourage rapid regrowth.
The next stage of the process involves drying the leaves. Importantly, the leaves must be dried in specially built, elevated and covered drying racks to ensure proper airflow and prevent contamination.
The drying process is where the true art and farmers specialty knowledge comes in. Depending on how long the leaves are dried and whether direct or indirect sunlight is used our producers can create a variety of different final products from super green to dark red (more on the different methods here).
The following photo clearly illustrates this point, one leaf can become a variety of different colors depending on how it has been cured. Every farmer has their own method they have carefully developed to produce different colors.
Once the leaves are dried to perfection the next step is to remove the stems. This ensures a fine powder, free from the thick fibers of the stem and protects the longevity of milling machines.
First, the largest pieces of stem are removed by passing the leaves through a sifting screen.
At this stage the kratom is known as ‘crumbs’. Before the crumbs are ready to be milled into powder, one final step must be performed. Using the ancient agricultural practice of ‘winnowing’ the smallest pieces of stem are separated and removed.
After the crumbs have been winnowed they are ready to be milled into the fine powder the rest of the world knows and loves!