As a true Indian I have always loved my cup of strong ‘CTC tea’. Now what is CTC tea? It’s our ‘Chai’ which we have almost every day. In this post i will give you a little sneak-peek into the world of CTC.
All tea is produced from a plant called Camellia Sinesis, but the difference in manufacturing process results in different varieties called CTC, Orthodox and Green Tea. Each of these have their own unique characteristics including a different taste and health benefit.
In 1930’s Sir William McKercher developed the CTC method of crushing, tearing and curling (grinding, shredding and rolling). This involves combining several processes in 3 easy steps during which tea leaves are dried, shredded, rolled and oxidized. Oxidation is a chemical reaction involving oxygen1. In tea this reaction results not only in a physical browning of the substance but also in the creation and unlocking of new compounds at a molecular level. The new process did not get recognition until World War II and it was only after 1950 that it gained popularity.
CTC leaves are crushed and broken into small granules or small leaf particles for small grade teas with a distinctively flaky appearance and blackish or brownish in colour
For those who like a hearty cup with strong liquor qualities and darker and deeper liquor and a brisk after taste, CTC provides an added appeal. The CTC process ensures that the rich colour and strong aggressive flavour infuses very quickly. Exquisite with milk.
In the Indian domestic market, this type of manufacture is by far the most popular – 75 to 80% of tea production is of the CTC type. In the export market, particularly in the C.I.S., the Middle East, United Kingdom and Ireland, CTC teas continue to be the most highly in demand. The popularity of CTC is also catching up in China. The convenience, low price, strong liquor, generic flavour, and mild bitterness all have contributed to the near-monopoly that CTC-type teas now enjoy in South Asia.