Where were we when we last left each
other? Oh yes….
More on BLACK TEA. (insert dramatic
So what exactly is black tea? Well,
let me tell you what teas are considered black, and how they are
categorized before going on about how black tea is picked and made.
The following are all black teas, grown and picked from different
parts of the world.
Assam – (India)
Darjeeling – (India)
Nilgiri – (India)
Sikkim – (India)
of the above are unblended teas, meaning that these teas
feature the leaves only and no other additives. Unlike Earl Grey,
which, as I have mentioned earlier,
is flavored with Bergamot, these above teas are either drank
alone, combined with each others to create blended teas, or are the
base for scented/flavored teas.
Some blended teas
scented/flavored teas include:
green, scented with jasmine flowers)
Earl Grey (international;
black, scented with oil of bergamot)
Lapsang Souchong (China and
Taiwan; black, scented with smoke)
But what makes
black tea black? It’s all in the way the plucked tea leaves are
processed. Once the tea is picked it is placed on screens over boxes.
These screens are called withering troughs, as the leaves will
whither, with air passing through and over the leaves removing excess
moisture, approximately 60%. The rate the air passes over the leaves,
the temperature of the air, and how many leaves are placed on the
trough will all affect the quality of the end product.
The withered tea
is then rolled (by machine or hand) which releases the oxidizing
enzymes that’s present in the leaf/ This mixed with the polyphenols
and other aspects of the tea will give it’s tea its flavor.
From there it goes
into the fermentation phase, turning the green leaf to red, brown,
and finally black. After fermentation, it’s dried using air ranging
in temperature between 210 and 250 degrees F. The moisture is reduced
to about 3%. From there, the tea is sifted into it’s appropriate