Major differences between CTC & Darjeeling Leaf Tea

Both CTC and Darjeeling leaf tea are popular categories of tea among Indians and are sold by various brands in the market. But, not every CTC tea and orthodox whole-leaf tea meets your expectation of great taste and flavor, which mostly depends on the manufacturing process of the tea. Both these variants of tea have distinct flavors and tastes and taste way different than each other with different health effects.

Let’s understand the basic differences between the manufacturing process of CTC tea and orthodox Darjeeling Leaf tea:

Orthodox Darjeeling Leaf Tea: Also known as whole-leaf tea, the production process of orthodox Darjeeling tea involves plucking, withering, rolling, fermentation/oxidation, and drying. 

In the manufacturing of whole-leaf tea, the hand plucking of the two tender leaves with a bud is done. The plucking is a very delicate process that is done by seasoned professionals to ensure the leaves and buds are undamaged during plucking which can ruin the flavor of the leaves.

Withering or air drying is the next process of whole-leaf tea manufacturing that is done for several hours to prevent the crumbling of the leaves.

Rolling is the next process of whole-leaf tea manufacturing to develop the flavor of tea and where various variety of tea is created.

The next step followed is oxidation which is done by air drying the leaves for several hours till the leaves are turned reddish-brown. In this step also, different complex flavors of tea are developed.

The final process of whole-leaf tea manufacturing is firing which involves drying the leaves to below 3% moisture content. Evaporating the moisture ensures the tea is well kept with a longer shelf life. This tea is best consumed when brewed like green tea, with or without sugar. Too much brewing strips off the authentic flavor of the tea.

Now let’s understand the manufacturing basics of CTC (crush, tear, and curl) tea:

CTC tea is basically the commonly bought and consumed Indian black tea with a stronger flavor and taste which comes due to the extensive manufacturing process.

In the manufacturing process of CTC tea, leaves are repeatedly passed through a series of cylindrical rollers having hundreds of sharp teeth that crush, tear, and curl the leaves into smaller bits. Because of repeat oxidation, the leaves gain dark brown to blackish color and gain a rich aroma and flavor. This tea is mainly consumed with milk and sugar. The tea is mainly crafted of authentic Darjeeling and Assam tea. To experience the rich flavor and taste of CTC tea, head to Dalmia Gold Tea to buy Dalmia Gold Premium tea available in various options of family packs.