Pellets of flavour bombs, produced by crush, tear and curl method (CTC), famously known as “Chai” in Indian households. It brews a strong, full-bodied cup of black tea, commonly prepared with milk, spices, and sugar
The name CTC comes after Crush, Tear, Curl (CTC) – the method of processing this black tea, where tea leaves are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers with hundreds of sharp teeth that crush, tear, and curl the tea into small, hard pellets. CTC tea is hardier than its orthodox counterparts in texture and in sustenance, owing to its meticulous process of manufacturing. It is mostly sold loose in India. CTC tea is the popular choice in tea shops and domestic households for their preferred style of brew. It is normally brewed with milk and sweetened with sugar and emerges with a strong red coloured brew. The addition of spices is also encouraged which results in the very intriguing original Indian blend of tea, Masala Chai. The spices used range from cardamom, cinnamon, whole cloves, cumin, and even ginger and nuts to stir up the most exotic mystic cuppa brew. A sip out of a cup of Masala chai creates an explosion of different flavours inside the mouth, thoroughly pampering the taste buds and leaving them confused.
CTC tea producing regions in India
One of the biggest contributors of CTC tea for the entire nation’s needs come from the tea gardens of Assam followed by the Dooars in West Bengal and from selected tea gardens in the slopes of the Nilgiri range in the South of India. A railway station at the foothills of the Dooars in Nagrakata is the lone connection between the isolated foothills and the rest of the world. It is from here that the entire CTC produce of Assam & Dooars tea estates is accumulated and sourced for distribution to different parts of the country as well as the world.
Processing of CTC tea
At our plantations, we make sure that we make only the best quality tea. The tea processing involves the following steps:
The making of the tea starts with plucking. As true quality is essential in a good raw material (Tea Leaf), great emphasis is given to plucking, the apical parts of shoots consisting of 2-3 leaves and the terminal buds are nipped off in plucking.
The first step of processing is “withering” in the factory, in which freshly plucked leaf is conditioned physically, as well as, chemically for subsequent processing stages. This is one of the most important tea processing steps, as the desired quality in tea manufacturing is ensured by maintaining the desired level of withering. Leaves are spread on the troughs at a given thickness and the air is blown upwards from the bottom of the perforated bed.
The next step is fermentation and a great deal of attention is paid to regulate the temperature, humidity, and duration of fermentation to ensure that the flavour of the tea remains intact.
The tea leaves are fired at an optimally regulated temperature, to get the best quality of our tea. We make sure that proper care is taken to not over-cook the leaves as the process of drying the produced tea is responsible for the addition of flavor to the tea.
Grading is done by sifting through meshes with a lot of care so that the teas are sorted into different shapes and sizes perfectly. CTC teas are generally graded into three broad categories, Leaf, Fanning, and Dust. The leaf grade or bolder CTC are graded in BOPL, BOPSM, and BP. The fanning is commonly graded in BPSM, PF, and OF. The Dust grades are PD and Dust. The price difference between the different grades is not much and BP and OF tend to command the highest prices.
Weighing and Packing
Close inspection is done while the teas are weighed and packed into tea chests or any other packaging as per the requirement.