People who are passionate tea lovers love to stay updated on the tea market trend; they like to research and follow the latest techniques and processes for tea making to keep an eye on all the latest tea products coming into the market. For true tea connoisseurs, taking a sip from a well prepared cup of their choicest tea is like experiencing a heavenly pleasure. Such a thing completely warms both the heart as well as soul of a passionate tea lover. A discerning tea drinker while picking a tea from the market will consider three basic criteria: flavour, colour and richness. The one tea that among all other varieties wins the heart of tea lovers by fulfilling each and every criterion aptly is the Black Tea. Black tea’s strong irresistible aroma and the deep reddish colour of its liquor makes tea lovers fall in love with tea all over again with every sip they take. And the greatest advantage is that the aroma of Black Tea can be preserved as it is for several years.
Black Tea: Why do tea enthusiasts love it? Black tea originated in China, but now it is produced in different parts of the world and has emerged as one very popular and hot favourite tea blend not only among tea lovers but also in the global tea industry. The two key factors that make Black tea so very popular are: its capacity to travel perfectly and secondly its imperishability. Those who wish to enjoy premium quality 100% pure Black tea, now have a golden chance to bring home their best Good Morning Black tea through a certified online store that sells a stunning range of Black teas and many other teas that come with a variety of wonderful flavour notes. The store commits on providing customers with the purest form of various kinds of black teas like Darjeeling black tea, Assam black tea, Nepal black tea, Ceylon black tea etc produced methodically, through stringent stages under much care and supervision.
Black Tea Production: 4 Basic Stages Black Tea gets its bold long-lasting aroma, richly coloured visually appealing liquor mainly because of the way it is produced and processed. The production process of Black Tea involves few steps and clear-cut methods, without which good quality Black Tea cannot be produced. Though Black Tea like all other tea types is derived from one common Camellia Sinensis shrub, its unique production process is what differentiates it from all the other tea forms in look and aroma. Black tea leaves are heavily oxidized or fermented and that’s how they get their characteristic ‘Black’ colour. No other tea types are as oxidized as Black tea. The Black tea production process may vary from one country to another but whatever may be the little differences, in almost every country the 4 basic production stages need to be followed. These can be categorized as: Withering, Rolling, Oxidation and Fermentation/Firing/Drying.
- Withering: The first stage is called as the withering stage and implies that the tea leaves have to be drained of all their moistures so that they become withered. So after plucking the leaves, the leaves are mostly spread out on woven straw or on bamboo racks to make a thin layer and are exposed to hot air for over 18 hours so that almost 70% of the moisture is lost from the leaves.
- Rolling: After the moisture is lost from the leaves, they become pliable and can be rolled easily without leaf tearing. The rolling stage initiates the production of certain vital enzymes in the tea leaves. Generally a rolling machine is used for the rolling purpose and after the first rolling; second and third rounds may also follow. In some advanced production houses rotor-vane machinery is also used to get smaller pieces of Black tea leaves for more broken, finer grade tea.
- Oxidation: The third stage is the oxidation stage. During this stage the leaves bruised from rolling start changing colour and become black. During the oxidation process, the bruised tea leaves are kept in a humid and cool ambience and due to the prolonged exposure to oxygen the cells of the tea leaves embedded beneath the upper layers start rupturing, releasing chemicals and natural juices. The complex chemical changes taking place in the tea leaves during the oxidation process gives Black tea its recognizable aroma and its brew, the coppery red hew. The time span covered for oxidation determines the quality of Black tea and tea masters are thus very serious about the oxidation time span.
- Firing/Drying: The final stage is the firing or drying stage. The firing is undertaken to put an end to oxidation. The traditional method of firing is by putting the oxidized leaves on hot woks or frying dishes. That was how it was done in China in the 17th Century. In the other parts of the world the oxidized leaves were oven-baked in order to dry them out. In the recent times, far more advanced drying methods are used. The oxidized leaves are put into huge automatic dryers with conveyer belts. The conveyer belt fixed inside the dryer keeps moving carrying along the dried leaves out of the dryer.
- Another modern method of drying is using the Fluid Bed Drying technology in which the oxidized tea leaves are made to pass through a hot air stream, the temperature being approximately around 120 degree Centigrade.
After all these four stages are over the Black tea is graded, blended and safely packed for selling purpose. This is how the superbly tasty and strongly flavoured black tea is made available to the cheerful tea drinkers all across the globe. Two Other Vital Processes pertaining to Black Tea production Apart from the above mentioned stages, special mention must also be made of another two very crucial processes that matter a lot in the overall Black tea production system. These are:
- Orthodox processing
- CTC (Cut-Tear-Curl) processing
Orthodox teas are generally the loose leaf type Black teas produced – the most common packaged Black teas customers buy. The CTC method is employed primarily for making Black tea bags consisting in aromatic blends and the CTC Processing technique gained in popularity with the popularity of tea bags around 1950’s. Did you know? According to the latest statistics, Black tea’s consumption rate is the highest in the whole world. Almost 80% of the world’s tea production consists of Black tea and a huge bulk of the world’s black tea is produced in China and its neighbouring country, India. The four most coveted and age-old brands of Black Tea that have established their reputation worldwide for handling the import-export of Black tea with mastery and also for supervising the production processes with utter precision & expertise are Twinings, PG Tips, Joseph Tetley & Co and Thomas J. Lipton Company. But nowadays, apart from the branded black teas, numerous small companies too are coming up with Black teas and Black tea mixes that are really awesome.
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