Oolong and Black Tea

Black and oolong teas encompass a wide range of characteristics but all undergo a similar processing technique.  Upon harvesting, the raw leaves are crafted into high grade, loose leaf tea through roughly four stages.  The first step is withering, either with hot air or strong sunlight.  The next two steps will sometimes be alternated and involve rolling or twisting by hand or machine and oxidation under controlled temperature and humidity to the desired level.  Generally, black teas are fully oxidized, giving them their dark colouring, while oolongs, requiring more attention to timing and temperature, are oxidized between 8 - 85% resulting in leaf colour ranging from dark green to dark brown/black.  Finally, the leaves are dried and sorted into a variety of grades.