Black tea originated in China around 2700 BCE when tea leaves blown by the wind fell into a pot of hot water being stirred by herbalist Shen Nung or so one legend goes. But the facts are that tea, with its intriguing flavour and health benefits, is now the world’s most popular beverage after water.
We know that China enjoyed tea for many centuries before traders introduced it to the outside world. Today tea is grown in China, Japan, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), parts of Africa and Taiwan using similar methods of processing as those begun in China so long ago. Young tea buds and leaves are picked then withered or softened so they can be rolled by machines to break down the fibrous cell walls of the leaves releasing essential oils to aid in fermentation. The leaves are sifted and separated by size onto honeycombed trays to oxidize, dried at 200º Celsius, then packaged and sent to grateful tea lovers around the world.