What color is fresh tea leaf? And how does black tea become black? We get this question at just about every Tea Tasting session and from our regular customers. The simple answer is that all leaf starts out as green. The first step in black tea manufacture is called Withering. Here we show a picture of a withering trough where fresh leaf is placed and dry hot air is applied to it from below for a period of 10-14 hours. The main objective is to remove 60-70% of the natural moisture in the leaf. After this, the leaf goes through a rolling machine where the curl and shape of the tea take form, followed by a calming process allowing the leaf to oxidize and finally drying and sorting. It enters the dryer as green leaf and after high heat is applied to it, it comes out as black leaf.