A Brief and Insightful 2023 Guide to CTC Tea

The ubiquity of CTC tea is more significant than it may seem. Some identify it as “tea powder” or “tea dust” while most simply call it “chai.” And if you are interested in learning more about the staple CTC tea you drink daily, this post can be a great starting point.

This brief guide is also helpful for those planning to start a CTC tea business such as a CTC tea distributorship or wholesale.

What is CTC Tea?

CTC tea is a type of tea that is processed in tea factories. CTC tea has a round pellet-like appearance which it develops from its manufacturing process. 

Here is an image of blended CTC tea: 

Blended CTC tea

Today, CTC tea comprises more than 70% of the tea in the consumer market in India. CTC tea is affordable, has a long shelf life, and is mass-produced every year in India. 

CTC Tea Manufacturing Process

The tea's name "CTC" itself suggests the manufacturing process: Crush, Tear, and Curl. 

CTC tea manufacturing process involves three main processes or stages:

  1. Crush - The first process is to crush the dried loose-leaf tea into small pieces to ready them for further processes. 
  1. Tear - The second process involves shredding the tea leaves into tiny pieces. This is done inside cylindrical rollers that have interior-facing sharp spikes.
  1. Curl - The third process is the final stage where the shredded leaves are curled inside the same cylindrical rollers. 

Types of CTC Tea

There are primarily two types of CTC tea, Unblended CTC tea, and Blended CTC tea. Here are the basic differences between them:

Unblended CTC Tea

Unblended CTC tea is one of the most traditional types of CTC tea. As the name suggests, unblended CTC tea is not blended with any other types of tea. Unblended CTC tea contains only CTC tea pellets. 

Blended CTC Tea

Bended CTC tea is one of the modern types of CTC tea. It is blended with other types of tea such as orthodox tea. Blended CTC tea with other types of tea helps improve the overall flavour profile. 

As a leading CTC tea company in Siliguri, we at Naturolled, blend our CTC tea with high-quality green leaf tea. Learn more about Naturolled Blended CTC tea

Blended CTC tea

CTC Tea vs Leaf Tea

CTC tea and leaf tea are different from each other. Some of the primary differences between leaf tea and CTC tea include:

  • Flavour - Leaf tea has an undiluted flavour while CTC tea has an engineered flavour.
  • Taste strength - Leaf tea has a mild taste while CTC tea has a strong taste.
  • Appearance - Leaf tea has a dried leaf appearance while CTC tea has a pellet-like appearance.
  • Shelf life - Leaf tea has a lower shelf life than CTC tea.
  • Price - Leaf tea (especially 1st flush leaves) is expensive while CTC tea is affordable as it is mass-produced.

Choosing the Best CTC Tea

One tried and true way to choose the best CTC tea is to look for two factors:

  • Appearance 
  • Green leaf tea blend

CTC tea that has a perfect pellet or ball-like shape is generally good in quality. The perfect pellet shape indicates the usage of top-tier Crush, Tear, and Curl processes.

Another strong indicator of high-quality CTC tea is green leaf tea blend. Most average CTC tea available in the market is blended with average-quality orthodox leaves that are brown in colour.

However, the best CTC tea batches are the ones that are blended with high-quality green leaf tea. 

At Naturolled, we blend our loose and packaged CTC tea with the highest-quality green leaf tea while keeping the cost reasonable. 

Starting a CTC Tea Business

If you are interested in starting a CTC tea business, you can partner with us as a tea distributor, tea wholesaler, or a tea dealer.


Here are CTC tea FAQs to help you learn more about CTC tea:

1. How many types of CTC tea are there?

There are primarily two types of CTC tea: Unblended and Blended. Unblended CTC tea is not blended with other types of tea while Blended CTC tea is blended with various types of tea grades, such as Orthodox, BOPSM, BOP, Green leaf tea, etc. 

2. How do you identify the best CTC tea?

The best CTC tea has a well-rounded pellet shape and is blended with multiple tea grades and types, including green leaf tea. 

3. How do you prepare CTC tea?

You can prepare CTC tea in various ways. Some of the common ways people/tea lovers prepare CTC tea is black tea, milk tea, elaichi (cardamom) tea, and masala tea.

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