The Journey of Buying CTC Tea From Plantation to Your Cup
While sipping your daily cup of tea, have you ever wondered about the extensive process of tea making? It is worth recommending that you must visit a tea estate to encounter the whole process of tea making, at least once in your lifetime. An extravagant experience indeed! If you visit the tea gardens of North Bengal, you will surely be mesmerized by the leaf-plucking process done by local women. Flawless hand-plucked leaves with a bud in the middle are considered the best for making CTC tea. After plucking, the tea leaves go through several processes to reach your favorite pack of tea.
There are two methods of processing tea. One is the traditional manual process which is still followed by many traditional tea makers, while the other is the CTC (crush, tearing, and curling method). The traditional process provides the most authentic flavors and essence, unlike the CTC method. However, due to the high demand for flavored CTC tea, the brands have adopted CTC mechanized methods.
In this article, we will take you through the intricate manufacturing steps of enriching CTC tea and its journey from plantation to your cup.
Steps of Tea Making
Withering- After plucking, the tea leaves are dried mechanically to reduce their moisture content by 60% to 70%. The leaves are placed evenly on a wooden box called a withering trough, covered in a wired mess. The leaves are dried by blowing strong air through the trough. The process continues until the desired amount of moisture is reduced in order to enhance the flavor and aroma of the leaves.
Rolling- The withered leaves are passed through a mechanical roller to twist and press the leaves in order to dry up the leaves further and flatten them. The rolling machine consists of two roller of different width rotating at opposite directions and at different speeds. The process takes 20 to 30 minutes. After rolling, the twisted tea leaves are separated from the untwisted ones. The twisted leaves are taken for fermentation and the untwisted ones are put back in the rolling machine. This process of separation of processed leaves from unprocessed leaves is called sifting.
Fermentation- In this process, the tea leaves are placed on a glass tray. A Biochemical process, called oxidation, is used for fermenting the leaves, which helps to bring out the flavor, and aroma, and change in color to coppery brown. The process takes 2-4 hrs in total, and it is extremely important to be carried out with utmost precision so as to avoid damaging the quality of the tea.
Drying- After fermentation, the tea leaves are placed in a large conveyor belt for further drying. Heating is done at 115-120 degree centigrade for 20 -30 mins. The belts vibrate to move the tea leaves from one end to another, bringing out crispy and strong-flavored tea.
Sorting and storing- In the next step, the tea leaves are placed in an automatic sorting machine which sorts out leaves according to size, like full leaves, broken dust, and different aromas. Finally, the method of packaging the tea is very important. The packaging is usually done in ply wooden containers, wrapped in aluminum foils. This is extremely important to be done perfectly for retaining the mind-blowing flavors.
Enjoy authentic CTC tea in every sip:
The flavorsome journey from the sprawling tea garden to your cup is indeed fascinating. Every intricate process of CTC tea making is sheer art that lends it a stronger flavor and enriching taste. Want to experience the steamy magic in every sip? Browse premium quality CTC only at Dalmia Gold, India’s premium house of flavorsome tea blends.