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Black tea
and Camellia Sinensis Leaves

What makes camellia seninsis leaves become black tea

Black tea

All teas consist of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea sometimes referred to as a pekoe tea, green tea, white tea and oolong tea greatly differ in the processing method.

The additional processing steps to make black leaf tea give it a unique flavor not found in green, white or oolong teas. The leaves of this tea are also generally stronger in flavor and contain more caffeine than the more lightly oxidized teas.

How It is Made

Green tea leaves are dried and gently steamed, but then tea leaves undergo a much more intense processing. After the leaves are plucked, they are laid out to wither for 8 to 24 hours, which allows most of the water to evaporate.

The leaves are then rolled or bruised in order to break down the surface area and to release polyphenols. This will allow oxygen to react with the enzymes in the leaves, causing oxidation to take place.

The leaves are left out in the open and exposed to heat and humidity, to oxidize for three or four hours or longer. During this time, the leaves will change from green to a coppery red color, as part of the fermentation process.

After that, a final drying or firing takes place. The final drying stops the oxidation process and causes the leaves to turn black, which gives the tea the name of ‘black leaf tea’. From there the grades of tea will be decided by sorting.

History of Pekoe Tea

Tea originated in China nearly 5,000 years ago. According to legend, a leaf dropped by accident into a cup of hot water by the Emperor Shen Nung, created the first tea. By the 18th century, tea consumption spread across the world to Europe and America, and the tea trade played an integral part in history, as evidenced by theBoston Tea Party in the 1700’s.

The Chinese discovered that the process of making black tea resulted in a tealeaf with more potency, which could be stored for a longer time-period. The longevity of the tea’s potency made it easier to ship further distances, which increased the tea markets reach outside of China and across the world.

Historically, this tea was known to give energy and was used for other medicinal purposes.

Health Benefits of Pekoe Tea

Health benefits associated with drinking black tea include:

  • Improvement in mental alertness
  • Improvement in learning skills
  • Memory improvement
  • Improvement in information processing skills
  • Headache remedy
  • Low blood pressure remedy
  • Heart disease prevention
  • Heart attack prevention
  • Reduces cancer risks
  • Weight loss remedy
  • Type II diabetes remedy
  • Diuretic
  • Kidney stone remedy

This tea contains theaflavins and thearubigins, which display powerful antioxidant activity. Theaflavins and thearubigins improve health and are important antioxidants that assist in the body’s fight against free radicals.

Studies show that the antioxidants in the tea have a tumor-inhibiting effect on cells. While the reasons why have yet to be fully determined, scientists are encouraged by the effects this tea has had on cancer patients.

The tea contains between 40-80 milligrams of caffeine per serving and caffeine accounts for 2% - 4% of the composition of the tea, consisting of the most caffeine per cup of any tea, making it an effective source of caffeine energy.

Back to Varieties of tea
Chinese green tea
Japanese green tea
Oolong tea
White tea
Iced tea

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