Kenya Black orthodox tea is slightly different from the popular Black CTC since the resulting product is larger loose twisted black tea. The tea is manufactured using five basic stages namely withering, rolling, oxidation (fermentation), firing (drying) and sorting.
At the withering stage, the green leaf is withered to make the leaf soft and pliable ready for rolling. This process also reduces the moisture content from 80% after plucking.
The rolling stage also called fermentation stage is done by a rolling machine that presses and twists the leaf rupturing the inner cells. The leaf releases natural juices and chemicals. Rolling can be done in two or three stages. Sifting is done after each rolling and larger leaves taken back by conveyor belt for repeated rolling.
The third stage is oxidation. It’s during this stage that the leaf begins to develop the desired aroma and flavor of black tea, darkening in color, and developing polyphenol compounds called theaflavins and thearubigins. The dhools (green crushed leaf) are broken up following rolling and spread out in thin layers in cool, humid air and left to oxidize for 20 to 30.
The fourth stage is to stop the oxidation process and dry the leaf converting it from golden brown to black. For this step the leaf is placed in large, automatic dryers with fluid bed technique which carries it along, drying it as it moves and ensuring that all the pieces of leaf are evenly dried. This process also reduces the moisture content to between 2 and 3%.
The final stage is sorting where the made tea is passed through large meshed sorting machines. The machine sorts the tea to different grades preparing it for packing.
- GFBOP-Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
- GBOP-Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
- TGBOP-Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
- TGFBOP-Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
- FBOP-Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
- FOP-Flowery Orange Pekoe
- OP-Orange Pekoe