|My tea leaves are here!|
Green teas require a steamer so I decided that I would attempt a black tea. The night after I received my shipment, I couldn't get to sleep. This may or may not have had anything to do with the bag of tea leaves in my refrigerator. I decided to start my tea crafting at about 1:30am on a Friday. The first step was to wither the leaves. I spread them on a cookie sheet lined with wire cooling racks and left them to do their thing for the next 12 hours.
|Laying the leaves out for withering|
|Two leaves and a bud|
|There were some larger leaves too|
Once the leaves were finished withering, it was time to remove the long stems. This took quite a long time and it gave me a new found respect for those who do this day after day.
|After the stems are removed|
The next step was to roll the leaves in a cheesecloth. Having watched countless tea processing videos I had a vague idea of how this was supposed to work. Boy did it take a lot of elbow grease! I was afraid of breaking the leaves at first but they were pretty resilient. My family thought they smelled like dirt but I thought the leaves smelled amazing.
|Tea stained cheesecloth|
|The leaves after rolling|
After rolling, the leaves needed to oxidize. This is the main process that determines the type of tea. I lay them back out on the cookie sheet and covered them with a hot, damp cheesecloth. They were left for about 3 hours. I had run out of time for this batch but would like to experiment with multiple rolling and oxidization steps in the future.
|The finished leaf|
|The leaves after steeping|
The taste was....just ok. It was mild and really more like an oolong than black tea. There were some very faint floral notes and a mild toastiness. I may try roasting the leaves a bit more to see if that will deepen the flavor. I'm also going to be re-tasting over the next few weeks because I have a feeling that it the taste will change a bit. While it wasn't the best tea that I've ever had, it felt amazing to drink a tea that I made with my own two hands. Practice makes perfect and I will definitely be trying this again in the future. All in all this was a really fun experiment and I am so glad that I had the chance to give it a try.
You can find out more about Boston Teawrights here.