Black tea has been used as medicine since ancient times. In China…
….Japan and India, people drink black tea every day because of its health benefits. This tea contains caffeine and tannins which give you energy. It also lowers cholesterol levels and helps fight heart disease. Studies show that drinking one cup of brewed black tea each day may reduce your risk of stroke by 50 percent.
You’ll get other benefits like lowering blood sugar if you consume some of these healthy ingredients. The leaves are picked from the plant before they have fully matured; this gives it its most intense flavor. It takes 6 to 7 years for the buds on the shrubs to mature into full-grown leaves. The leaves can be processed in different ways depending on their size and shape: whole leaf or broken up into small pieces.
Black Tea Origins
The tea is believed to have come from China. Green tea is still the base of tea culture in Eastern society, because it is delicate and fresh-tasting. After tea was exported to trade beyond regions and neighboring countries, it was discovered that the more oxidation black tea retained its freshness and flavor better over long journeys than its less oxidation green tea cousin. Tea was pressed into bricks to be used as currency in the earliest days of border trade between China, Tibet and other neighboring countries. Most of the black tea that China produces is exported out of the country.
Processing of Black Tea
It’s important to know that all tea is made from the same plant, which is the same as black tea and green tea. It’s the variety of tea plant and how it’s leaves are processed that determine if a tea is black or green.
From Same Varieties
Black tea is usually produced from the larger-leafed version of the tea plant, called Camellia sinensis assamica. It is a prolific plant in the sub-tropical forests of India, which are warm, moist climates.
Green and white teas are typically made from the smaller-leafed variety of the same name. It evolved into a shrub as it grew in sunny regions. It thrives in the mountains because of its high tolerance for cold.
Over time, these plant varieties have evolved into hundreds of different types of plants. Any type of tea can be made from the leaves of any plant, regardless of whether it’s white, green, yellow, oolong, black or pu-erh.
During the production process, tea leaves are allowed to fully oxidize before they are heat-processed and dried. Black tea leaves are famous for their rich dark brown to black color, which can be achieved through oxidation, when oxygen interacts with the tea plant’s cell walls. Black tea’s flavor can be changed by Oxidation, as it adds fruity, smoky or even malty notes to the tea.
Green tea leaves are less oxidation than when they are not processed. They are quickly heated and dried to prevent oxidation from taking place that would turn the green leaves brown and alter their fresh-picked flavor. Green tea is typically lighter in color and flavor than black tea, with more grassy or seaweed notes, depending on the tea.
This tea can be produced using one of two methods.
tea leaves are only partially broken in this method of production. Tea leaves are plucked from the garden, rolled in a variety of ways to bruise the leaves and start oxidation, then graded for quality by the heat that stops oxidation.
Black Tea Processing (Orthodox):
Withering → 1st Rolling → Oxidizing/Fermenting → Drying (110°C/65°C) Black Tea Processing (Non-Orthodox/CTC): Withering → Cutting/Tearing/Curling → Oxidizing/Fermenting → Drying (130°C/90°C)
After withering black tea is rolled to help get the oxidation processes started. The leaves are fully oxidation before they are dried, which makes them rich in flavor and dark in color.
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Non-Orthodox or CTC (Crush-Tear-Curl)
The tea leaves are cut into pieces rather than being rolled in the production process. The black tea produced by the smaller pieces of leaves is consistent, strong and bold. Commercial tea bags are more popular with end consumers than loose leaf tea, and the cut pieces are easy to fit into.