Tea is to Taste: Orthodox or CTC?
For us, the tea lovers of the world, a cup of hot flavorful tea is more of a companion than a beverage. We don’t drink to live, we live to drink. While sitting by the window and enjoying the downpour, finishing the assignment during the wee hours of the night, we keep feeling the urge to take sips of our favorite every now and then. In life, we choose our companion according to our preferences. Why should the process of selecting our buddy, tea, be any different? Like they say deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light; the secret to a cup of strong aromatic tea lies in the processing of its leaves. Want to know more?
How are tea leaves processed?
Tea leaves are processed in two ways: Orthodox method and C.T.C. (Crush, Tear, Curl or Cut) method.
- What is Orthodox method?
As the name suggests, Orthodox is the traditional method of tea processing. This method involves plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation or fermentation and drying of tea leaves. Usually, Orthodox teas are processed and harvested by hand to get intact and whole leaves; they can be processed in machines as well.
- What is Orthodox method? As the name suggests, Orthodox is the traditional method of tea processing. This method involves plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation or fermentation and drying of tea leaves. Usually, Orthodox teas are processed and harvested by hand to get intact and whole leaves; they can be processed in machines as well.
- What is C.T.C. method?
In C.T.C. method, tea leaves are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers with zigzag blades that crush, tear, and curl the leaves into small, even shaped pellets
What is the difference between Orthodox and C.T.C.?
In the Orthodox process, great care is taken in rolling and handling the leaves because they are quite delicate and are susceptible to damage. This makes the orthodox process a labour intensive, time consuming and expensive. Orthodox teas are loved by tea connoisseurs all over the world owing to their nuanced taste. They can be consumed without any milk or sugar. Just a few drops of lemon and a little sweetener are all that is required to make your perfect cuppa. Orthodox teas give you the most authentic experience of tea tasting.
In the C.T.C. method, tea leaves are processed quickly and easily. Such method of tea production doesn’t need much human expertise. It is a method of mass tea production. Therefore, C.T.C teas cost much less than Orthodox teas. C.T.C. teas tend to taste bitter owing to their strong flavour. That is why such teas taste better when consumed with milk and sugar.
Which is better? Orthodox or C.T.C.? It is true when they say, ‘to each his own’. If you love your ‘Masala Chai’, C.T.C is the one for you. But if you like to think of your tea ritual as an experience, Orthodox is the one for you. Old is gold, you see.