Black Tea Production and its Health Benefits

This morning we decided to make a cup of black tea. We were wondering what the benefits and negatives are about this black liquid, so we did some research.

As you probably already know it is made of the same plant as green, white, yellow and oolong tea. This is Camellia Sinensis, evergreen bush known as a tea plant, tea tree, … whose leaves and leaf buds are used for the tea production. Black tea is known for its coppery red color so it is called red tea in China. Black tea is made from aged and steamed leaves while green tea is made from fresh green leaves… one day we will make a post about the differences in tea production.

Let’s take a deep dive into the process of black tea production. As we mentioned, there are many types of tea made from the same tea plant. The secret is in the process. For black tea, leaves are plucked from the tea plant and immediately taken to the processing factory. While there are many different kinds of black tea, they all share some basic stages common to any black tea production: withering, rolling, oxidation and drying (firing).

For the withering stage, plucked leaves are spread out in a thin layer in warm air until moisture content of the leaves has been reduced to about 50-70%. The next step is rolling, where the oxidation process starts. By breaking the leaves’ cells the natural juices and chemicals are released. This process is done using a rolling machine. The third stage is oxidation. Here leaves begin to develop their flavour, aroma and darker color. Leaves are spread out into a thin layer in a cool and humid environment to oxidize. Because of this oxidation process the black tea is full of healthy antioxidants. Purpose of the final stage is to stop the oxidation process. For this step the leaves are placed in automatic dryers usually on a conveyor belt which carries them along and dries them as it moves. Here the leaves get their color spectrum from brown to black.

There is no scientific evidence to support all the benefits from drinking black tea that you can find on the Internet. There are some that are supported by science, but in general just be careful what you read. One of them that is 100% true is that black tea has a lot of antioxidants. Consuming antioxidants decreases body cell damage and consequently decreases the risk of chronic disease and improves your health in general. If you want to boost your energy level, drink a cup of black tea. The caffeine and amino acid L-theanine lead to better focus and relaxation. It also increases alpha activity in your brain, which actually helps improve your focus and alertness. 

One of the studies that was among the most interesting ones was where scientists followed over 70 thousand people for 10 years. They found that those who were drinking black tea every day had a 32% lower risk of stroke than those who did not drink black tea. Some other black tea benefits may also be true, such as reducing the risk of cancer, lowering blood sugar level, reducing blood pressure and improving gut health. 

There are a lot of studies made on this topic so feel free to discover more for yourself. Down below we have listed the sources from where we were jotting down some paragraphs for this post. I hope you liked it and that you have learned something new.

Sources
https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/133.10.3285S
https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/81.1.122
https://doi.org/10.1021/jf020514c
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.12.006
http://theteadetective.com/ChinaBlackTeas.html

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