CTC sounds like a company’s acronym, no? While it is an acronym, it actually stands for the process that defines this type of black tea: crush, tear, and curl.
The CTC method was invented in the early 1930s by W. McKertcher. Its popularity spread quickly a crossed India and Africa. Unlike normal teas that are rolled in the final stage, CTC is actually passed through a machine of cylindrical rollers containing hundreds and hundreds of small sharp “teeth.” Because of this process, about 80% to 90% of the factory’s production is of small particles (fannings) for tea bag blends. It is fully oxidized and machine processed making it less expensive and considered to be less quality than what is considered “orthodox.” CTC is usually a conglomeration of tea leaves harvested from more than one plantation during the first harvest. They are then blended together which allows for consistency in their flavor.
CTC tea is drunk typically by the general public in India and in the usual manner: boiled in a combination of milk, water and sugar. This is done simply because CTC is considered to have a bitter taste due to its supposed “low quality.” In all honesty, the flavor of the CTC tea is purely based on whether or not the harvest was of good quality or not. This tea is popular due to the fact that the tea can be mixed with other herbs, spices and creams as well as manipulated to appease the taste buds of the drinker.
In the end, the popularity of this tea relies solely on the tea drinker. What do you think, dear readers? Do you like/drink CTC? If so, do you drink it straight or do you manipulate it in anyway?