CTC Teas in India

“Crush, tear, curl”, sometimes also known as “cut, tear, curl” aka CTC is a type of granular tea originating in India in the 1930s that are entirely different from orthodox teas. Tea leaves are plucked, withered, rolled, oxidized, and dried to make orthodox teas  whereas the leaves are put through a series of rollers with sharp teeth that crush, tear, and curl the leaves into small, hard pellets that make the rich and malty CTC teas. In theory, while making CTC teas all five steps of making orthodox teas are followed but in a more rapid fashion. Flavour-wise CTC teas are much darker than orthodox teas with a malty and rich aftertaste. When the leaves are crushed and torn more enzyme is released and on longer fermentation, the tea becomes stronger than orthodox teas. In 2020 alone, India consumed 1.10 million tons of tea most of which was CTC. 

Sipping a cup of CTC tea with milk, sugar, and assorted spices might seem like a thing hardwired in our destiny but we have taken on the habit only recently and there is an interesting backstory to how and why the concept of CTC teas was conceived and developed. There are three people to be credited with when it comes to developing CTC teas and they are Samuel Davidson, Sir William McKercher, and Willian Jackson. The motive certainly was not experimentation with flavours but to magnify production and sell it to more people. CTC teas can be processed and harvested in larger quantities making them lucrative. An extensive marketing strategy was adopted to make the whole of India relish the sweet concoction. After independence, CTC teas were marketed as 100% Swadeshi to let go of the imperial connotation. In the 1950s, the production of CTC teas also spread to Africa. 

Best CTC Teas in India

Tea Estates in Assam and Dooars region of West Bengal produces some of the best CTC teas in India. Teas from these regions are sought after for their exemplary flavours woven in a pungent astringency that makes the tea immensely refreshing. Best CTC teas in India are often blended with everyday Indian spices to make masala chai  with an intensely refreshing aroma. Although the price of CTC varies according to grade, it is much cheaper than the orthodox variety. It can be said that the advent of the CTC machine gave a renewed value to marginal teas. Sliced prices helped the promoters to creatively market CTC teas to the Indian populace and in no time we became a nation of tea drinkers. 

Like orthodox teas, CTC teas too are graded according to size. Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) is top-quality CTC tea with larger pellets that steep deep ruby liquor with interesting flavours. Broken Orange Pekoe Small (BOPSM), Broken Pekoe (BP), Orange Fannings (OP), Pekoe Dust, Churamani Dust, Golden Pekoe, etc are the other grade according to the size. CTC teabags often contain dust-grade teas that steep a strong liquor that goes best with milk and sweetener. 

Teas in India

Based out of Siliguri, Chai Chun procures the best CTC teas from the fine estates of Assam and Dooars, packs them in a state-of-the-art facility, and delivers them directly to your doorstep so that you can relish the rejuvenating freshness. Shop our CTC collection here!

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