Wales Tea Merchant - Vegan Teas - Sourcing Teas From Around The World. Last Orders For Christmas 18th December. Orders after that date will be dispatched from the from the 28th December with a break for new year 1st & 2nd. Wishing Everyone Happy Holidays From Harrison Teas.

Category: Black Tea

How is Tea made – A brief guide

How is Tea made – A brief guide

Firstly, What Is Tea?

To answer the question ‘how is tea made?’, we first need to define what tea is. Tea’s Latin name is camellia sinensis, from the genus camellia, and is an evergreen shrub, native to Asia, whose leaves are used for tea. The evolutionary origin of camellia sinensis has been traced back to China’s Yunnan province and its bordering country Myanmar. The Assamica variety, with its larger leaves, is native to India and is a naturally evolved variety (the variation was not established through human intervention).

Various Tea Types

Tea is available in varieties from white (the youngest leaves), to green, Oolong, and black. The process of creating this variety in tea is often referred to as tea fermentation.

The process that takes a green tea leaf plucked from a plant and allows it to become black is the process of oxidation where the natural enzymes in the tea leaf begin oxidizing the leaf, turning it from green to copper coloured. A similar process occurs when an apple’s skin is broken, and the white flesh of the apple begins to turn brown when exposed to the air – this is oxidization.

General Tea Manufacturing Process

Picking: The first stage of the manufacturing process is when the tea leaves are removed (plucked) from the tea plant. The best quality teas are said to be produced when the top two leaves and the bud are handpicked, unopened young buds with delicate silver hairs on them, are only exposed to natural withering and gentle drying allowing them to retain high levels of antioxidants and as such is the least processed of any tea leaves. Other teas use leaves picked when the bud is fully open.

Withering:  Withering is a natural drying process that removes around 75% of the moisture from the leaf, preparing it for further processing. Withering begins as soon as the leaf is plucked but is controlled by the manufacturer so that leaves wither evenly. Tea leaves are placed in large traces, spaced apart and the trays are frequently shaken to try and keep the withering as even as possible.

Initiation: The exact nature of the tea type that is produced depends on how much oxidation takes place. To prevent oxidation from occurring tea leaves are “fixed” which means that the enzymes are deactivated by a heating process. Some tea types require oxidation, which is controlled and then stopped. Oxidation is initiated by breaking open the tea leaf and allowing atmospheric oxygen to enter the cells of the leaf. The amount of oxidation you require and how quickly you require it will determine your method of initiation. Gentle rolling or tumbling of the leaves has less drastic effects while maceration (cutting) is used in mass production to create CTC (cut tear curl) tea or other broken-leaf tea. Oxidized teas must still be fixed after oxidation and control over the amount of oxidation is achieved through the introduction of the warm and moist oxygen-rich air.

CTC method and other broken leaf teas were developed primarily for tea bags and other quick infusion methods as the larger exposed surface area allows for faster infusion. CTC leaves are mechanically mashed and cut, to invoke oxidation contrasting sharply with the gentle rolling and tumbling of the traditional orthodox methods. While the contents of tea bags, often macerated and produced from lower quality tea leaves, are often referred to as “floor sweepings” this assertion is not accurate. Still, there are leaf grading applied to all leaf particle sizes including dust grades.

Fixing: Green Teas come from leaves that are only plucked when they have fully opened and are fixed by either pan frying or steaming. 

Pouchong is a tea classed somewhere between green and oolong tea, after picking and withering has oxidation initiated by rolling of the leaves. After oxidation of 8-10% of the surface of the leaf, Pouchong is fixed. 

Black tea is generally over 90% oxidized with Oolong teas taking up the space between Pouchong and Black teas, displaying huge amounts of variation in both oxidation and flavour. After fixing (firing) only 3-4% of the natural moisture remains in the leaf.

As oxidation has such a profound effect on the nature (and flavour) of the tea produced it can be said to be the most important part of the tea manufacturing process.

Tea tasting and blending are important aspects when considering how is tea made. In addition to assessing the quality of tea purchased, the most important job of a tea blender is to create a consistent taste year-round for a seasonal product. This is not an easy task and tea blenders are often tea tasters with many years of experience. In addition to maintaining consistency within existing blends, tea blenders create new blends. Thousands of varieties are now available, each with its own unique features. 

#tea #oolong #teavaieties #ha#tea #oolong #teavaieties #harrisonteas #ukteastore #walesteamerchant #camelliasinensis #assamicarrisonteas #ukteastore #walesteamerchant #camelliasinensis #assamica

Orthodox Black Tea

Orthodox Black Tea

Orthodox Black tea

Orthodox black teas are classified into grades to clarify the appearance of the leaves. 

However, this classification does not reveal anything about the physical taste of the tea – this can only really be done by experienced tea tasters, but it does let you know the level at which the tea estate grades the leaves for their size and appearance. 

This internal grading is always relevant to the individual tea estate and is not a general grading by which to buy. For example, a does not make the leaf equal to a TGFOP grade with another tea estate, but rather indicates the grade that estate has given the leaf. 

This grading is used around the world where the British system of naming has been adopted and including India  Sri Lancia ( Ceylon) & Africa.

The current Orthodox and CTC (Crush or Cut, Tear, Curl) black tea leaf grading terms are shown in the chart below:

lowery Orange Pekoe (FOP)Denotes tea from the end bud and first leaf of each shoot. FOP contains fine tender young leaves rolled with the correct proportion of tip. The word pekoe is thought to be of Chinese origin referring to the silver hairs found on the young buds, whilst the word orange does not have anything to do with the flavor of the tea, but one suggestion is the Dutch East India Company may have marketed the tea as “Orange” to suggest a royal endorsement from The Dutch royal House of Orange-Nassau.
Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP)This is FOP but with ‘golden tips’ which are the very ends of the golden yellow buds.
Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP)This is the same as FOP but the T for Tippy denotes a large proportion of golden tips present in the tea.
Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGTOP)This is excellent quality FOP
Special (Superior) Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (SFTGFOP)This is as good as it gets! This is the very best FOP. The term ‘Superior’ is often used when describing other types of tea to denote the best quality within that tea.
Orange Pekoe (OP)This kind of tea rarely contains ‘tips’ but has larger leaves than found in FOP that has been harvested when the buds open into leaf.
Pekoe (P)This tea contains shorter leaves than OP, often much less fine.
Flowery Pekoe (FP)Leaves for this classification are rolled into balls.
Pekoe Souchong (PS)Contains shorter, coarser leaves than P
Souchong (S)Most often, this term is associated with China’s smoked teas and describes large leaves that are rolled raggedly lengthwise.
Broken Leaf GradesBroken leaf grades are divided into many categories but can best be identified by the last three letters ‘BOP’ – meaning Broken Orange Pekoe. There are many variations as for leaf grade, but the letter meanings are the same i.e. GFBOP means Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe etc.
Fannings/Fines or DustThese are teas made up of the finest siftings and are mainly used in blends for tea bags requiring a quick brew. Their presence is denoted by the letter ‘F’ for Fannings e.g. BOPF – Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings, or ‘D’ for Dust e.g. PD – Pekoe Dust.
CTC Grades BP – Broken Pekoe, PF – Pekoe Fannings, PD -Pekoe Dust, F – Fannings, OF – Orange Fannings, GOF – Golden Orange Fannings, D – Dust, D1 – Dust 1, D2 – Dust 2, RD – Red Dust.

Tea Leaf Grading Terms In Other Tea Growing Regions


In China, primarily, tea leaves are identified by the region they were grown in, the time of year when the leaf has been harvested the method of manufacture, and the type of leaf used. In addition to this basic identification, the  tea naming will also include reference to the tea’s mythical origin or tradition associated with the tea, for example, Golden Monkey  Black Tea

A numbering system of grading is sometimes used using numbers 1 – 5 where 5 is the lowest grade and 1 is the highest.


Formerly known as Formosa, Taiwan is renowned for the quality of Oolong tea. Leaves are often identified by the growing region and also descriptive words from Good to Fancy to Super Fancy or Super Fine to Superior, Finest to ‘Top Super Fancy’ as is the case with Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea.


Tea naming in Japan indicates when the tea was picked and what sort of tea it is. For example, Sencha denotes a leaf picked in Spring whereas Bancha is the name given to a Sencha style leaf but picked later in the season, like a 2nd flush. Gyokuro is the name given to tea leaves that have been grown under shade picked in the early Spring and a Hoicha is roasted green tea using a leaf that has been roasted using a 3rd flush Bancha style leaf, Sanbancha..

Harrison Tea’s UK Tea Store

Soursop Ceylon Tea
Image Credit: Image Designer Powered By DALL E:3

Harrison Teas – Tea Infusions – UK Tea Store.

Welcome to my online UK Tea Store.

I would like to introduce myself, my name is Shane Harrison, My Company ‘Harrison Teas‘ is based in Cardiff.

I sell the best teas around at competitive prices. 

I would like to think ‘Harrison Teas’ have become one of Wales Premier Tea Merchants with a loyal following of customers that has been built up over many years.

Harrison Tea has and excellent range of tea infusions with over 70 high class teas.