Tea Processing: Drying and Grading


After completion of fermentation, it has to be stopped as soon as possible to avoid the over fermentation. Drying of the mass with hot air stop fermentation process. Drying reduce the moisture content of fermented leaves from 50 – 70 % moisture content to 3 %. In dry black tea, it also allows development of tea aroma. Drying is physically achieved by blowing hot air through fermented leaves as they are conveyed in chains. The temperature of hot air in the inlet is 100 – 120°C conveyed while that at the outlet is 56°C. Drying process takes about 15 to 30 minutes. The principle biochemical process involves conversion of chlorophyll to pheophytin and pheophorbide responsible for the black appearance in the manufactured tea. The high temperature during drying also cause loss of low volatile compounds, continuation of few reaction of fermentation stage and the formation of new compounds like β-ion and theaspirone which play an important role in the formation of aroma. Read more