The journey from shrub to cup takes tea through five main stages.
Plucking: Plucking: This first step is as tricky as it is critical. For instance, plucking two leaves and a bud in the industries norm and additional leaves will result inferior quality.
Withering: Next, the leaves are laid out to dry or wilt, to reduce the amount of moisture.
Rolling: Then, the leaves are bruised or rolled to commence fermentation.
Fermentation: Kept under climate-controlled rooms, the leaves are left to oxidize. The amount of time given for fermentation influences the colour, taste and strength of the liquor.
Firing: This last step is used to arrest the fermentation and remove the balance moisture contained in the leaf. This results in the production of black tea as you know it.