What is CTC Tea? The Tea That India is Obsessed With!

What is CTC Tea

If there’s one staple beverage that India is truly obsessed with, it’s definitely chai. And with the ongoing viral chai reels on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, the chai culture is trending more than ever before. But all thanks to CTC tea that makes the main ingredient for the chai that India simply loves?

Yes, it’s all in the CTC tea that your favourite chai gets its kadak taste. But what is CTC tea and how is it different than standard tea leaves? Get all of these answers and explore more interesting facts in this post.

What is CTC Tea: CTC Tea Full Form

CTC tea gets its name from the process by which it is made. The term CTC stands for Crush, Tear, Curl. In this method, the tea leaves undergo a mechanical process that involves crushing, tearing, and curling them into small, ball-shaped pellets. This process helps in the rapid extraction of flavor and color from the tea leaves, resulting in a strong and robust brew.

CTC tea full form

CTC Tea Origins

CTC tea has its roots in the tea-growing regions of India, particularly Dooars and Assam. Dooars, located in the northeastern part of West Bengal, is famous for its lush tea gardens that produce some of the finest tea in the world. Naturolled, a leading Siliguri tea company and a Dooars tea brand, offers the highest quality CTC tea sourced freshly from the most pristine Dooars tea gardens.

The region of Assam, in the northeastern region of India, is renowned for its strong and malty black teas. The CTC method of tea processing was first introduced in Assam in the early 20th century, revolutionizing the tea industry in the region. The CTC process helped in producing tea that could withstand the robust flavor preferences of the local population and cater to the growing demand for a strong and flavorful tea.

How is CTC Tea Different from Leaf Tea

The most significant difference that CTC tea shares with loose leaf tea is the strength in the flavour profile. CTC tea has a strong and robust flavour that makes a perfect fit for that kadak chai taste that every Indian loves, while loose leaf teas have a delicate flavour that differs from one variety to another.

Another significant difference is CTC tea is way more affordable than loose leaf tea varieties that come at premium price tags. And it’s because of the affordability of CTC tea that everybody can afford their daily cup of chai. 

FUN FACT: Before the introduction of CTC tea in India, leaf tea was expensive. So, to cut down the cost of readily-served tea in tea stalls, chai walas would mix masalas such as cloves, ginger, and cardamom. This fact is believed to have been the origin of masala chai. 

CTC Tea For All Popular Types of Indian Chai Varieties

CTC tea plays a crucial role in the preparation of various types of chai that are popular across India. Chai, or Indian-style tea, holds a special place in the hearts of Indians and is an integral part of their daily routine. Without CTC tea, it is simply not possible to prepare these trending chai varieties: 

Kadak Chai:

Kadak Chai, meaning “strong tea,” is popular for its robust flavor and intense kick. To prepare it, use CTC tea along with pure milk, water, and a desired amount of sugar. Make sure to boil it a good number of times to prepare a strong and invigorating cup of tea.

Masala Chai:

Masala Chai is all about the delightful fusion of CTC tea and a medley of aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in Masala Chai. This beloved tea blend entices with its exquisite flavors and comforting fragrance, making it a favorite among tea enthusiasts.

Tandoori Chai:

Originating from the vibrant city of Pune, Tandoori Chai presents a fascinating twist to traditional tea. Through this unique preparation, CTC tea undergoes a brewing process with milk, water, and sugar before being cooked in a traditional tandoor, infusing the beverage with a distinct smoky essence that tantalizes the taste buds.

Irani Chai:

Inspired by the tea culture of Iran, Irani Chai is a velvety and sweet delight created using CTC tea leaves, milk, sugar, and occasionally enhanced with the enchanting flavors of rosewater or saffron. This milky indulgence is often served in charming Iranian-style cafes and tea houses scattered across India.

Adrak Chai:

When it comes to combating colds and coughs, Adrak Chai, or ginger tea, is a trusted remedy. This invigorating blend involves adding freshly grated ginger to boiling water, accompanied by the infusion of CTC tea leaves, a touch of milk, and a hint of sweetness, creating a comforting and healing beverage.

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