How are tea leaves fermented? The process is a complex one and is often referred to as oxidation, but it is not the same thing. The term is used to describe a process in which the leaves are damaged by microbial activity. In most cases, this happens with the presence of oxygen, but some people choose to use starter cultures from a previous batch, which allows the leaves to undergo a natural oxidation process.
Fermentation occurs when a tea leaf is exposed to a hot, humid environment, and comes into contact with yeast, bacteria, and mould. This process accelerates the aging process, and is best done in a humid cellar.In the traditional method of aging tea, the leaves are kept in a humid, hot environment for about fifty days. This process helps to increase the amount of caffeine in the tea. Since eighty percent of the world’s population consumes caffeinated products, this is a vital ingredient. Despite the high cost, fermentation is an important part of the production process for high-quality tea. It makes it a more sustainable beverage to drink.
In the industrial process, yeast is used to speed up the fermentation process. The tea leaves are placed under an airtight tarpaulin in a room that has a constant temperature and humidity, and then aged for up to fifty days.
The process of fermentation takes place in a room where tea leaves are placed. During this process, a temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius is maintained. Biological agents are introduced to the tea, and the result is carbon dioxide, alcohol, and flavor. In true fermentation, the tea leaves are subjected to a chemical reaction between their polyphenols and oxygen. In this way, the leaves are fermented.
In modern times, accelerated fermentation is used to meet the growing demand for unique teas. This method is known as “cooked” pu-erh and is the process of making a tea that is more expensive than its fresh counterpart. During this process, the leaves are stacked in a large room where they are subjected to a high temperature. This is essential because the heat from the process will deactivate the enzymes that are triggered by the plucking process.
The process of fermentation is similar to that of other beverages, with a few exceptions. In a traditional setting, the leaves are fermented for a long time, and then put under an airtight tarpaulin. Afterward, the tea is steamed to stop the oxidation process. If the process is prolonged, the tea is cooked and is diluted, producing a more flavorful product.
Traditional teas are fermented naturally, but accelerated fermentation is a method used to produce more exotic and distinctive teas. For example, accelerated fermentation produces shou pu-erh, or “cooked” pu-erh.” The process involves rolling tea leaves, which releases the juices. As the tea is cooked, the microbes in the leaves will begin to oxidize, making it taste milder.
In addition to natural fermentation, accelerated fermentation is also a common way to make specialty teas. In the case of shou pu-erh, the accelerated process involves heaping the unfinished leaves in a large pile. This process stops oxidation and also kills the unwanted microorganisms present in the leaves. As the leaves continue to oxidize, the fermentation process will stop.
Fermented tea is made by using special ingredients and air. Some are fermented by natural fermentation, while others are fermented through artificial means. The fermentation process will change the nutritional value of the tea and affect its smell and taste. Generally, both types of fermentation will produce the same type of tea, but the latter will contain a higher concentration of antioxidants. The process is also important for ensuring the safety and quality of the tea.