Black Tea Elaboration Process
WITHERING PROCESS: at this stage, the tea buds are dried during 4 hours or more. Here the buds are subjected to partial dehydration. The drying process must continue up to a point in which the leaves are pliable and can be rolled without tearing excessively, so that they are ready for the following stage.
ROLLING PROCESS: it takes 25 minutes approximately and it makes possible that certain chemical changes take place in the cell extracts, which will be squeezed by twisting.
Then the tea goes through the “vanes rotor” where it is ground. During the rolling process, the withered bud enzymes are in contact with air and this causes the beginning of the fermentation process.
FERMENTATION PROCESS: The process objective is to allow certain chemical changes, like condensation and oxidization of polyphenols. The process is accomplished by means of conveyor belts which ensure a continuous fermentation. The exposure to oxygen will activate the enzymes to change the flavor and make the leaves turn dark.
DRYING PROCESS: at this stage, the dehydration process allows its correct preservation during the storage period. This is accomplished by exposing the tea to hot air (to a temperature between 105 and 120 º C) for about 30 minutes. Moisture is reduced to approximately 3 or 4 %, thus obtaining the typical aroma of the dry tea.
Our factory has two drying lines, one with tray and the other with a wired system.
SORTING PROCESS: the elaboration process ends once the tea comes out of the drying system. But yet it has to be subjected to other processes. The first one is the sorting process, where dust, sticks and fiber are removed by means of special machinery.
Next, the dry tea undergoes a electronic board where the processed product is separated from the fibers and the stick still remained after the previous step. Then the dust is removed with this procedure.
GRADING PROCESS: during this stage, tea is sorted into pieces of roughly equal size, obtaining different grades or types, such as:
After these processes the tea goes through a blender, which is responsible for the quality homogenization.
The company packs the tea in big bags, and bags of about 40-50 kg. depending on the buyer’s requirements.