In general, good tea should be plucked by hand. The leaf bud and the first two leaves on each stem are plucked between the thumb and index finger, with a precise, rapid movement.
It is best to avoid the use of clippers, although they are commonly used in some regions of the world where tea is produced with less emphasis on quality. Although the farmers in the Rize region of Turkey are very friendly, hospitable people, it has to be said that their harvesting methods massacre the tea.
Here, I have dared to give them a helping hand and I’m a little ashamed, I must admit, to be caught red-handed using their tool.