Fermentation: The Key Step in the Processing of Black Tea
Fermentation: The Key Step in the Processing of Black Tea
Journal of Biosystems Engineering. 2016. Jun, 41(2): 85-92
  • Published : June 01, 2016
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Jolvis Pou, K.R.

Background: The same plant, Camellia sinensis, is used to produce all types of tea, and the differences among the various types arise from the different processing steps that are used. Based on the degree of fermentation, tea can be classified as black, green, white, or oolong tea. Of these, black tea is the most or fully fermented tea. The oxidized polyphenolic compounds such as theaflavins (TF) and thearubigins (TR) formed during fermentation are responsible for the color, taste, flavor, and aroma of black tea. Results: Research indicates that an optimum ratio of TF and TR (1:10) is required to ensure a quality cup of tea. The concentrations of TF and TR as well as desirable quality characteristics increase as fermentation time increases, reaching optimum levels and then degrading if the fermentation time is prolonged. It is also necessary to control the environment for oxidation. There are no established environment conditions that must be maintained during the fermentation of the ruptured tea leaves. However, in most cases, the process is performed at a temperature of $24-29^{\circ}C$ for 2-4 h or 55-110 min for orthodox tea or crush, tear, and curl (CTC) black tea, respectively, under a high relative humidity of 95-98% with an adequate amount of oxygen. Conclusion: The polyphenolic compounds in black tea such as TF and TR as well as un-oxidized catechins are responsible for the health benefits of tea consumption. Tea is rich in natural antioxidant activities and is reported to have great potential for the management of various types of cancers, oral health problems, heart disease and stroke, and diabetes and to have other health benefits such as the ability to detoxify, improve urine and blood flow, stimulate, and improve the immune system.
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