How is black tea made?

How is it made?

The process for black tea is a simple but long process, but makes it all worth the wait. It starts with the Camellia Sinensis plant and finishes in the mug with a splash of milk, but what are the stages between? Let’s go through it:

  1.  Picking: The leaves of the Camellia Sinensis are picked off the plant, however pickers tend to go for the more mature leaves when going for black tea
  2. Withering: After picking, all the leaves are sorted and laid out onto racks. They are then laid out to dry for several hours. Withering can take up to 60% of the leaves moisture content from this alone, which is pretty amazing.
  3. Rolling: First, they manually roll leaves by wrapping them up into cloth bundles and rolling. They are then put into a specialist rolling machine to further roll. This process releases further moisture prior to the oxidation and fermentation process whilst also having them rolled ready to pack.
  4. Fermentation: Black tea needs to be processed longer than most teas, so this stage is very important. The tea is piled up in a container, then covered from direct sunlight and left to oxidize for an extra 2 to 3 hours. This will turn the leaves from a green to a copper brown colour.
  5. Final drying: They are then dried again! This is to grab as much of the remaining moisture as possible. They go onto a conveyor belt which passes through ovens that can reach up to 93 degrees Celsius. This turns the moisture content from its 50% to about the 3% mark, which gives the tea its iconic dark brown/black appearance.  
  6. Grading and packing: The leaves are graded by size and separated to ensure that each pack is consistent. They are then packed and shipped!

What's the best way to enjoy it?


We recommend using a teaspoon of your favourite (Nelson & Norfolk) black tea alongside freshly boiled water for about 3–5 minutes, then pouring and adding whatever additions you prefer. After that, you’ve got yourself a delicious cup of tea!


Check out the entire tea collection here and taste our fantastic blends yourself!


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