Black tea, one of the six tea species, is the sort of fully fermented. It is renowned by its red liquid. Basic making procedures of black tea include withering, rolling, fermentation, and drying. Among them, fermentation is the most significant process of making black tea. It defines the quality of the tea. Meanwhile, plenty of healthy substances are produced during fermentation, which are important to the health benefit of black tea. Also fermentation is the reason why people who caring health loves black tea.
The very first black tea produced in China belonged to small leaf species, after then Gong Fu Black Tea was invented. The modern tea sage Wu Juenong wrote about the origin and spread of black tea in his famous work Review of The Classic of Tea (《茶经述评》; 2005). He came to the conclusion that black tea was firstly developed in Chong’an (now Wuyishan City) in Fujian Province. It spread in the path started from Chong’an, then to Zhenghe, Tanyang Village and Bailin Town in Fujian Province, passed by Qianshan County, Xiushui County, Fuliang County in Jiangxi Province, and then arrived at Dongzhi County in Anhui Province, finally ended in Qimen County.
Due to the complicate crafting of small leaf species black tea, people afterwards simplified the making process: sun withering, rolling, fermentation, drying. Yet these steps could only make rough dry teas. Refining (re-sifting) is needed in order to make qualified tea. Yet repeated sifting will take a lot of time. That’s why the re-sifted black tea is called Gong Fu Black Tea.
Fermentation of black tea is the series of chemical changes that happen under the assistance of enzyme during making process, mainly refers to the oxidization of polyphenols. Fermentation is the key process determining black tea’s quality. It promotes the oxidization of polyphenol in the tea leaf with the help of enzyme; meanwhile other chemical substance will change, too, making the green tea leaves into red color. The unique aroma and flavor of black tea will then be formed.
Making process of black tea: withering, rolling, fermentation, dry, sifting.
Talking about tea’s health benefits, it is well-known all over the world. Every sort of tea has its own health benefits. They are healthy because of different reasons. Black tea, the one this article talk about, is beneficial due to its unique making process: fermentation. When speaking of the word fermentation, it specifically refers to black tea’s fermentation. Yet other kinds of teas are also fermented in vary degrees during making, such as oolong tea, white tea, dark tea and yellow tea. Fermentation is the key process of making black tea. The chemical change of polyphenols produces the special aroma and color of black tea, as well as its health benefits.
Fermentation is aiming to promote the oxidization of polyphenols, which will produce thearubigin and theaflavin. They are the key factors that form the color and flavor of black tea.
Thearubigin exists in black tea, is a kind of golden pigment produced in fermentation. Beside of adjusting the color of tea liquid, thearubigin has many health benefits. It can combine with cholesterol in stomach and intestines, and reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. Thus thearubigin is helpful for protecting your heart from hyperlipidemia and heart disease without any side-effect.
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