Bruising is a Tea making technique that breaks down the structures of leaf cells in order to promote oxidation of the tea leaves. It is a very important step in the making of oolong tea and black tea as the bruising allow for oxidative enzymes to work.
In the making of oolong tea, the bruising is done by tossing or tumbling the tea leaves in containers. After the tossing and/or tumbling the edges of tea leaves are bruised and the oxidation starts.
Depending on the desired level of oxidation, some oolong teas are just lightly oxidized, while some other oolong teas are further oxidized. Taste of oolong teas can vary largely due to different degrees of oxidation. The less oxidized oolong teas usually taste more floral and vetegtal. The darker, more oxidized oolong teas take on a fuller taste profile that is earthy, nutty, and sometimes toasty.
Black tea on the other hand, after the bruising, usually goes through the oxidation process completely. This means most black teas are fully oxidized. And as a result, they have a full bodied profile with little to no vegetal taste.
Pictured above is a brewed cup of Golden Monkey black tea.
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