Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The process of making tea can vary depending on the type of tea being produced, but generally, there are five basic steps:
Withering: After the tea leaves are harvested, they are spread out in a cool, dry place for several hours to remove moisture and allow the leaves to wilt. This process helps to make the leaves more pliable and easier to work with.
Rolling: After withering, the tea leaves are shaped and rolled either manually or using machinery. This process aids in breaking down the leaves' cell walls, allowing enzymes to be released and initiating the oxidation process.
Oxidation: This is the most important step in the tea-making process. Oxidation is the chemical reaction that turns the green leaves into black or oolong tea. The level of oxidation can vary depending on the desired type of tea.
Drying: After the oxidation step, the leaves are dried to stop the process and remove any remaining moisture. The leaves may be dried in the sun, in an oven, or using other methods.
Sorting: The final step involves sorting the tea leaves by size, shape, and quality. The leaves are then packaged and sent to market.
The process of making tea can be more complex for certain types of tea, such as green tea and white tea, which are not oxidized, or for pu-erh tea, which undergoes a special fermentation process. Additionally, different regions may have their own unique methods for making tea. However, the basic steps outlined above are common to most types of tea.