Crush, Tear, Curl!
No, we aren't talking about steps after a rejection from your crush...
Crush, Tear, curl or Cut, Tear, Curl is one of the various methods of processing Black tea (yes, yes the same tea Insta influenzaaas keep mentioning about a gazillion times). Normally the batch of tea leaves which are plucked from the fields are withered, crushed, dried, rolled and go through fermentation according to the type of tea being manufactured.
On the other hand, the CTC method consists of a series of cylindrical rollers with numerous sharp teeth attached to it. Tea leaves that have undergone withering are then sent through these rollers for further processing. These rollers rotate very close to each other at different speeds, creating a movement that cuts, tears and curls up the withered tea leaves into small and hard pellets.
This method reduces a lot of manpower or steps of production and can be used for mass-scale productions that can meet the growing demand of the market, thanks to its fast rate of production. Thus, they are much cheaper and more accessible.
CTC teas usually have a steeper and generic taste and are much popular while the orthodox teas have an authentic taste and are more expensive, owing to the man-hours put into the processing. Thus tea connoisseurs prefer the latter over the former (you v/s the girl your crush likes :/ ).
The leaves would be oxidized under controlled temperatures and humidity levels. This process is also termed as “fermentation”. However, there is no real fermentation taking place.
The level of oxidation will determine the quality of the tea being produced. Since the oxidation process initiates at the rolling stage itself, the time gap between these stages plays an important factor in the quality of the tea. The leaves are then dried and finally, the tea leaves will be sorted into different grades according to their sizes (leaves, brokens, fannings and dust).
Origin And History Of CTC:
By the early 20th century, the tea market of India has grown immensely, while still under the rule of the British. James Buckingham, a British Colonel, was the Chairman of the Assam Branch India Tea Association. He went on to plant the Amgoorie Tea Estate in Assam, who's supervision was then given to Sir William McKercher in 1931. Sir William McKercher invented the CTC tea process which then widely spread across the country and has been used since then on a large scale and the rest is history! CTC is now the most popularly consumed tea in the whole world.
Taste And Aroma
CTC teas tend to have a very rich, malty flavour with bitter notes and the liquor produced is also strong and dark (before you panic, no it’s not the liquor you think it is, calm down!). Once processed, they have a deep brown or blackish colour, which is a sufficient appearance for CTC teas as it indicates careful sorting. Although orthodox teas are relished for their taste, CTC teas give a reasonably good tea experience. So don't worry, all of us gareeb folks can still have our 'movie scenes wala chai-sunset' moments :p .
(List of facts to disprove WhatsApp forwards, all the best!)
Promotes weight loss by blocking the fat absorption in the cells.
Helps in better digestion and boosts immunity.
Lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Lowers the blood pressure.
Helps relieve stress.
Few Of The Popular CTC Teas
(other than Assam tea!)
The term Orange Pekoe refers to a basic, medium-graded black tea and is not to be mistaken as orange-flavored tea or tea associated with orange oils, like I did :'). Pekoe teas can be classified/graded based on their color, condition of the leaves, inclusion of tips or buds with the leaves while plucking etc. When they are crushed to produce bagged teas, they are referred to as broken. These lower grades also consist of fannings and dust.
Golden Broken Orange Pekoe (GBOP)- Second graded tea with uneven leaves and fewer tips.
Golden Flowery broken Orange Pekoe (GFBOP)-It is the same as Golden broken orange pekoe, but it has the highest quality leaves in the whole of GF BOP classification.
Broken Orange Pekoe -It is the main grade of the Broken graded pekoes and mostly consumed in Assam, Ceylon, south India and China.
Fanning- They are comparatively much smaller in size and are the leftovers from the higher or larger grades' tea production.
Dust- They simply are fine particulate leftovers which are the lowest grade of tea production. Pretty self-explanatory.
Some of our CTC teas include: Sanctuary | Suntea | Sassujee
Not to forget...Masala chai, one of the favourite brews of Indian dadis (especially in monsoon), was also invented through the help of CTC , which made it inexpensive. Amen!
If there's anything I'm thankful to the British for, It'd be this!
How Much Tea Can Be Consumed In A Day?
(QuantiTEA?) Well, anything more than 4 cups a day has proven to be harmful and toxic and is not recommended. Also, consumption of more than 5 litres of tea per week will lead to dental or skeletal fluorosis...obviously you wouldn't go that far now would you!
Where Can You Buy CTC Tea?
Oh well! hehe...Brother!Brother Idhar! Scroll up and check out our wide range of CTC teas and others too if interested!
We'll be waiting!
Keep in mind that CTC teas have higher susceptibility to adulteration and so it is recommended you buy only from trusted websites or sellers!
Until then, Happy brewing!