LOOSE LEAF BLACK TEA

The Indian subcontinent produces some of the world's greatest black teas. The magic of these teas has a lot to do with the manner of processing where each step influences the final flavour of the infusion.

The "orthodox" method of processing black tea, which originated in India, involves five main steps as well as a great amount of art and expertise on the part of the tea maker. This includes: withering (to remove the moisture); rolling to rupture the cell structure of the leaf; oxidisation (during which the tea develops its flavour); and firing or baking (to stop the oxidisation), and finally sorting and packing. The key difference with black teas and other types (i.e. green, oolong, white, yellow, and pu'er) is that it is 100% oxidised.

The wide variety in geographic and climatic conditions of the subcontinent's tea-growing regions, from lowland plains to the Himalayan foothills, means that it produces very distinctive black teas.