The art of making tea oil

tea seeds ready for processing into tea oil

This afternoon a friend took me out to Sanxia to visit a tea oil factory. Tea oil is made from the seeds of Camellia oleifera. It can also be made from Camellia sinensis, the plant which tea leaves come from. However, seeds from the former have a higher yield of oil. The picture above shows the tea seeds which are the raw material for making the oil. 

The photos below show the process of making the tea oil from the seeds.  

machine for processing the seeds to make tea oil

I am not sure of the exact process in the machine. But some combination of mechanical motion and heat produces the tea oil.

gas flame in the tea oil machine

Gas flame used for heat in the machine.  

raw tea oil comes out of the machine before filtering

Raw oil as it comes out of the machine before filtering.  

filtered tea oil - the final product ready to be bottled

Filtered oil ready for bottling.  

the shop selling the tea oil in bottles

Bottles of tea oil on sale in the shop.  

9 thoughts on “The art of making tea oil

  1. Pingback: Noodles and Rice - Noodles and Rice from b5media

  2. A simple process,
    before putting into machine, they sun, hull the seeds
    in the machine, bake, masticate to cake, press oil, leach
    (日曬、脫殼、加熱焙炒、粉碎製餅、壓榨、過濾)
    The dregs can make soaps to clean body,hair!

  3. Nice pictures, and what an interesting topic!

    What type of dishes are prepared with tea oil? Or can it be used to replace regular oils like corn, vegetable and olive oil?

  4. It just the same as the oliver oil but since it’s much rare so the price is much more expensive thus in my family we seldom use it as the cooking oil. Instead, we usually dress it on the rice noodles(茶油麵線).

  5. 這個中文是茶仔油(一般都是念台語)!但什麼是tea tree oil? 指按摩用的茶樹精油嗎?

  6. Shi-ru, thanks for the information. Tea tree oil comes from Australia. It is used as an anti-septic or topical medicine. The name tea tree is something of a misnomer. It actually comes from a Melaleuca species. The common name for this type of tree is paperbark. You can find this kind of tree in Taipei. In Chinese I think it is called 千層樹, but it is a different species to the one used to make the oil.

    Thanks to everyone for their interesting comments and questions in this post.

  7. yes, the name in Chinese is 千層樹 and thank you vfor letting me realize that the essence oil for the skin is made from that!!!

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