When the distilling process was complete, we were led into another part of the farm to see a simple separating process.
The oil and water are poured into a cone shaped pipette and as the oil starts to separate, the little tap at the base of the pipette is opened and the water is slowly drained off.
Finally, when all the water has drained out, the tap is closed and the oil is poured into a measuring apparatus for a record to be kept of how much oil has been harvested from the original plant material.
The farmers oil recovery from 7kg of plant material was 280ml of beautiful lemon tea tree essential oil. This, we were told is an excellent yield.
Nothing is wasted. The water (hydrolate/hydrosol) is used as well. It contains the same properties as the oil, only in smaller amounts. I have used it as a base for spraying the fungus on my plants (I mix the neem solution into it) and I have sprayed it directly onto my back where I have a skin fungus which plagues me every winter when I am covered with jersey or jacket all day with no sun to keep it at bay. The steamed plant material is placed on the compost heap.
This inspiring journey from plant to essential oil has increased our deep respect for the power in nature.