Black tea is fully oxidized during production (sometimes called fermentation), which causes the leaves to turn black and gives them their characteristic flavor.
After picking, the leaves are spread out on racks to wither, during which
time the leaves lose most of their moisture, becoming soft and
The leaves are then rolled, breaking the membranes and allowing the juices and essential oils that give the tea its aroma to develop. After rolling, the leaves are brought into large, cool, humid rooms to oxidize.
During the oxidation process, the leaf darkens and the initially bitter juices mellow. The characteristic flavors of black tea—from flowery to fruity, nutty, and spicy—begin to emerge. The oxidation process is stopped when the aroma and flavor have fully developed. This is usually done by firing the leaves in large ovens. The flavorful juices dry on the surface of the leaves and remain relatively stable until exposed to boiling water during infusion.
Brewing: It is recommended to warm the teapot by pouring boiling water on it before infusing the tea. Fill the teapot or brew basket with tea leaves, using 1 tsp. per 6–8 oz. serving. Pour boiling fresh water (195–205°F) over the leaves. Decant the entire infusion or remove the brew basket after 2–5 minutes.
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