Thursday, March 20, 2014


Black tea is the most popular tea in the world.
Black tea represents approximately 72% of total consumed tea in the world, whereas green tea accounts for approximately 26%.
Both green tea and black tea come from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis var sinensis
The leaves for black tea are fully oxidised while those for green teas are lightly steamed before being dried. 
Let's check the differences on processing method:

Green  Tea Processing
Camellia sinensis -> partial withering -> steaming/parching -> rolling & drying -> final firing -> green tea (non-oxidised)

Black Tea Processing
Camellia sinensis -> Indoor withering -> rolling -> oxidisation -> 
final firing -> black tea (oxidised)

Now, we have know about the processes.
Black tea have lots of grade, but the green tea only have a few grade on the classification.
There's no grading on traditional green tea. 
But In modern factories, they do grading on their green teas product.
Black tea have complicated process also the tea classification.
Let's check it up...


There are two method on black tea processing, they are Orthodox method and CTC method.

The orthodox production method:
This production method consists of five stages:
  1. Whitering; The freshly picked green leaves are spread out to dry on ventilated trays. During this process, approx. 30% moisture is extracted from the leaves, making them soft and pliable for further processing.
  2. Rolling; The leaves are then rolled by applying mechanical pressure to break up the cells and extract the cell sap. After 30 minutes, the leaves, still damp from the sap, are sieved to separate the finer leaves. These are spread out immediately for fermentation, while the remaining coarse leaves are rolled for a further 30 minutes under higher pressure.  A short rolling time produces larger leaf grades, while longer rolling breaks the leaves up more resulting in smaller grades. During the rolling process, the essential oils responsible for the aroma are released.
  3. Fermentation; the tea is spread out in layers approx. 10 cm high for one to three hours in a cool, damp atmosphere to finish off the fermentation process.  In this production phase, the green leaf gradually turns a copper color. The color and typical odor tell the person supervising the process how far the fermentation has progressed. Various chemical reactions cause the leaf to heat up during fermentation. It is critical for the quality of the tea that the fermentation process be interrupted at its peak, when the temperature is at its highest.
  4. Drying; the tea is dried with hot air at a temperature of approx. 85º-88ºC in order to interrupt the oxidation process. The residual moisture is thereby extracted from the leaves, the extracted sap dries on the leaf and the copper-colored leaf turns dark brown to black.
  5. Sorting; the dried tea is sieved to separate the different leaf grades. The orthodox production method provides teas of all leaf grades: leaf, broken, Fannings and Dust. Leaf grades only refer to the leaf size, however: they are not necessarily an indication of the quality of the tea
Broken Tea; made from young leaves

Broken Orange Pekoe; made from pekoe

Pekoe Fanning, made from pekoe

Bohea; the crudest part that made from the twig and older leaves
Dust; the smallest part of black tea

The orthodox method is very popular in Indonesia.

The CTC production method
CTC stands for crushing, tearing and curling. 
The CTC method is mainly used for the finer end of the scale, i.e. fanning and dust grades.
These teas are usually destined for teabag production. 
The withered leaf is often cut to a uniform size by machine. 
Then the leaves are fed into the CTC machine where they are crushed, torn and curled in a single operation by metal rollers. 
The extracted cell sap is collected and added to the leaves again. 
The crushed leaves are then fermented, dried and sorted.

Sorry, I just take a few pictures about the tea classification.
Actually there are more than 20 grade on the black tea classification.
And I only collect 13 various grade of black teas.
The best quality is orange pekoe.
Orange Pekoe is a classification based on the origin of black tea leaves.  
To be classified as Pekoe, tea should be taken from the new plants grow.  
Part of the new plant is comprised of a leaf bud and two youngest  leaves below.
I'm not a tea expert, so it's difficult for me to differ each grade, all look similar.
Next, we will talk about modification of tea.
Have a nice tea time...


  1. Now I think about all the work involved when I have my cup of tea, thanks for the lesson on tea.

    1. I've been finding lots of lessons on tea world. How do peoples 'live' in this ancient industries. Tea became a part of our culture. I think we have our own tea tradition, that all are so special

  2. I have learnt a lot and enjoyed the walk. Thank you for your work on those most interesting posts! Sarah (who loves green, white and black tea...)

    1. Thank you Sarah. I'm glad you enjoy this series.

  3. Great information!
    I link and I'll follow
    A kiss from Béjar Salamanca. Spain.

    1. Thank you Laura, for the link and following. Please enjoy my journey.

  4. Thanks for the information Endah, useful to know :)
    I am not a tea drinker, I prefer to drink coffee but occasionally I’ll have a cup of tea. But I don’t drink it like British people do, with milk – no, I have lemon and sugar (or sweetener) in my tea.

    1. Yes, sounds so strange that a British doesn't like tea. But I think It's OK. Thank you for coming by.

    2. I am not British Endah, I am from Norway, I just live in London, I moved there when I was 35 – that was 15 years ago. In Norway most people drink coffee as their daily drink, although they will drink tea occasionally, and usually with lemon, not with milk.

    3. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm forget that you are from Norway. Thanks for the important information about the people habit on the daily drink, especially the beverages. It's so interesting to hear so many different traditions all over the world. Thank you for sharing