CTC Manufacture

CTC Manufacture: CTC (Crush-Tear-Curl) is the most well-known non-orthodox method of manufacture, and was invented during WWII to increase the weight of the tea that could be packed into a chest. It also eliminates some of the labor required to produce tea, thus increasing the speed and efficiency of tea manufacture.

In the Crush-Tear-Curl process, tea leaves are plucked and withered. After they are withered the tea leaves are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers that crush, tear and roll the tea leaves into tiny, irregular balls that somewhat resemble coffee grounds. Once completed, the leaves are left to oxidize and are finally fired. After the tea is fired, it is sorted into different grades.

CTC tea is used primarily in mass-market teabags. Given the small particle size, CTC tea has a greater surface area ratio than whole leaf tea, causing it to brew quickly and generally have a thicker body with more astringency.