How is Black Tea Made

If you are interested in drinking tea, then knowing how is black tea made is good for your knowledge. While there are people who consider green tea to be the best for their health, there are millions of people around the world who drink black tea regularly without any qualms. Black tea is not different from green teas as it comes from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis that produces green tea leaves. This fact arouses the curiosity of most people to know how is black tea made as they cannot visualize the same plant giving way to two completely different products. This article attempts to explain the process of making of black tea.

Black tea is, of course, black and it is marketed in the form of small round granules. When it is placed inside hot water, the liquid turns red. This is the reason it is referred to as red tea in China. Black tea granules are the result of withering, fermentation, rolling, and drying of the long green leaves of the shrubs of the tea plant. Different procedures are adopted to make black tea in different countries, but irrespective of their place of origin, black tea necessarily undergoes four stages of production.

How is black tea made

Black tea making process


Withering is a process that softens the green leaves plucked from the tea plant. It also greatly reduces the moisture content inside the leaves. To start withering, leaves are spread over a large area to dry out for about 18 hours. The time gets increased if the moisture does not come down to around 55% from the original 75%. The leaves become pliable and soft and they are now ready to undergo the second stage of the manufacture of black tea called rolling.


Rolling is a process that initiates the oxidation in tea leaves as it breaks the cells inside the leaves and causes the release of th e natural juices of the leaves. Rolling is done using a large rolling machine that rolls over the withered leaves. The small pieces are sieved out after the first cycle of rolling while the larger pieces are again made to undergo rolling. Sometimes, rolling may be carried out for three times to get the desired pieces of leaves.


Oxidation is the third stage of production in black tea. It is the oxidation that lends the characteristic smell and flavor to the tea that is seen in the case of black tea. It starts to darken in color and also develops many compounds that are found in black tea only. These compounds belong to a category of chemicals called polyphenols. For the oxidation, leaves are again spread in thin layers in the open air for about 30 minutes to absorb oxygen.


This is the final stage in the production of black tea. The oxidized leaves are placed inside large dryers that dry the leaves as they move. There is another method of drying that requires passing the oxidized leaves through hot air to reduce the moisture content to just 2-3%.

Black tea is ready to be packed and marketed after undergoing these four stages of production. Making a black cup of tea at home is very simple and easy. Just take a cup of water and boil it over the gas stove in a bowl. Add a spoonful of black tea to it and let it simmer for a few seconds. Strain the tea to get hot black tea that is both delicious as well as healthy.


Image Courtesy:

  1. Black tea by patrick george (CC BY 2.0)

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