© Denzil Green
Black Tea is tea leaves that have been allowed to ferment, turning them black.
The freshly picked leaves are allowed to start withering on racks, during which time they loose some of their moistness and body. Then, they are rolled to crush them somewhat, which releases enzymes in them.
They are then allowed to ferment, piled about 4 inches (10 cm) high.
During fermentation, the leaf oxidises, which causes the black colour of the leaves.
They are then dried in ovens. The heat kills the enzymes and stops the fermentation. The tea maker has to know the right time to stop the fermentation process.
The fermentation process gives Black Teas a much stronger taste than green teas, which is why Black Teas can have sugar and milk added to them.
The water must be boiling, unlike green teas which are best prepared with water which is somewhat shy of boiling.
Unless otherwise specified, 1 bag or 1 teaspoon of leaves per 8 oz / 250 ml of boiling water, let stand 5 minutes.
In China, they call it “red tea” instead of black.