Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Tao of Tea
Assam is the largest black tea growing region in the world. CTC refers to “Cut, Tear, Curl” a process that tends to turn tea leaves into small pellets. The CTC grade is the most common tea grade used in India to make Chai, as it is very conducive to boiling.
Learn more about this tea here.
I know that there are some who would take one look at this tea and dismiss it because of the size and shape of the leaves. They certainly do not look like tea leaves, they look more like large grains of sand or perhaps small pebbles.
But, the CTC grade (which, as you can read above, refers to the Cut, Tear, Curl process) is actually a very popular grade of tea, especially with those who enjoy spiced Chai blends. It offers a strong, delicious flavor, and when paired with the robust spices of a typical spiced chai blend, it can withstand the strength of the spices without losing its flavor within the blend.
And that is certainly true of this CTC grade Sada Chai from The Tao of Tea. Don’t let the name trick you, this isn’t a spiced chai blend that many of us here in the United States immediately think of when we see the word “chai.” Chai here refers to the Hindu word for tea. And this is a deliciously rich Assam chai (or tea), one that could certainly hold its own when blended with a combination of strong spices.
The flavor is very rich and malty! It has a sweet, caramel-y undertone, and there is no bitterness to this cup. Of course, I did take special care to avoid bitterness, and allowed it to steep just 2 minutes in my Breville One-Touch. But that turned out to be perfect, because I’m enjoying a full-flavored, well-rounded cup of tea. The astringency is lighter than I’d expect from an Assam (which may or may not have something to do with the short steep time), but there is some astringency to it.
This is one of the maltiest Assam teas that I’ve encountered… if you’ve ever wondered what “malty” tastes like, this is the tea to try!