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Black Tea

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Discover more about Black Tea

Black tea is the most common form of tea in southern Asia (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) and in the last century, many African countries including Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The literal translation of the Chinese word is red tea, which is used by some tea lovers. The Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans call it red tea because the actual tea liquid is red. However, red tea may also refer to rooibos, an increasingly popular South African tisane.

Speakers of many other languages call it black tea because the tea leaves used to brew it are usually black due to the fact that tea leaves are allowed to completely oxidize.

Black tea is first withered to induce protein breakdown and reduce water content (68-77% of original), heavily rolled or torn to bruise and disrupt the leaf cell structures and activate oxidation. The oxidation process takes between 45–90 minutes to 3 hours and is done at high humidity between 20 -30 degrees Celsius, transforming much of the catechins of the leaves into complex tannin.

Black tea is further classified as either orthodox or as Crush,Tear, Curl (CTC), a production method developed around 1932.

Unblended black teas are also identified by the estate they come from, their year and the flush (first, second or autumn). Orthodox processed black teas are further graded according to the post-production leaf quality by the Orange Pekoe system, while CTC teas use a different grading system.