The Five Stages of Black Tea Production

Today’s interesting Tea Fact

Producing black tea requires five successive operations. After the tea leaves are withered, a drying process that reduces their moisture content by half, enabling them to be rolled without breaking.

This rolling or macerating, causes essential oils to be released but still retained within the leaf.

The leaves are then carefully hand sorted according to size and form (whole or broken leaf).

Next comes fermentation, which transforms the leaves from being ‘green’ through an Oolong stage (semi-fermented) to fully fermented ‘black’ tea. This fermentation process is tightly controlled, the leaves are thinly spread out and exposed to warm, (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit) extremely humid air for several hours. The leaves in effect start to compost or bio-degrade, the secret is knowing exactly when to holt this fermentation and move onto the final stage, firing or drying.

This stops fermentation and removes virtually all moisture allowing the leaves to be stored safely for a considerable time,

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