Although I had clarified about tea varieties in my previous posts few people wanted to know more about the CTC variety of Indian Teas. They seemed to be still confused about Greens, Blacks & CTC variety.
All the varieties of teas come only from the same shrub - Camellia Sinensis. It is the leaf which is then processed and brought to you as Tea. Now, the colour in the beginning is Green from all the cholorophyll that it contains. Depending on the way and for how long it is processed, colours change from green to white, brown & black. The main difference between Green & Black Tea is that while the Green is not fermented, Black Tea is. When the green leaves are rolled and exposed to air to trigger the fermentation process, the leaves turn brown and the flavours and aromas start intensifying. The Black, the Brown and the Greens have the same health benefits and research is yet to prove any difference. It is only the level of oxidants that differ in both. However, both do contain anti-oxidant properties owing to the polyphenol & flavonoid content in both of them. Flavonoids are known to be good for the heart. So to sum up, both are good for your heart and brain.
Now let's move to CTC which has been popularized by marketers.
What is CTC Tea?
With least amount of processing the freshly plucked leaf turns white first. After further processing & resorting it turns green, brown & black. While the whites and greens have the most amount of flavour the brown & black teas get stronger. Different names are given once again to the processed leaf depending upon the size & strength. It is the reprocessed teas that are known as CTC, crushed-turned-curled. In CTCs too one then chooses whether one wants flavour OR strength.
Let us now see how the CTC Teas are graded further:
BOPL - Top of the grade. Great aroma, colour but light liquor. 6-holes per inch mesh used to sort this variety.
BPS - Superior to BOPL. Richer in aroma, colour and strength of liquor. 8-holes per inch mesh.
BOP - Stronger than BPS, richer in aroma and with darker colour . 10-holes per inch mesh.
BOPSm - Smaller than BOP but with strong flavour and aroma. Popular with consumers. 12-holes per inch mesh.
BP - Very pleasing to the eye, perfect and ideal size. Extremely popular in 5-star hotels & in with consumers. 14-holes per inch mesh.
BPSm - Strong, popular with hotels & consumers. 18-holes per inch mesh.
OF - Very pleasant to the eye just like the BP & BOPSm varieties. Quite strong in flavour and aroma. Popular with
Further processing and sorting gives these teas new names under the category of Secondary Grade. The only difference is that number 1 is added at the end of the names. The smaller the leaf the stronger it is and darker the liquor. As you move from whole leaf to dust the taste of the tea gets stronger. Blends are a mixture of different grades of teas and each blend has different taste depending upon the proportions used.