Beyond CTCs: Discovering African Specialty Teas!

Beyond CTCs: Discovering African Specialty Teas!

What is CTC tea? You might wonder...


Have you ever imagined why the world of tea is so diverse and complicated? It comes in all shapes and sizes of tea leaves yet stems from a single tea plant, Camellia sinensis. On the other hand, it has got so many fancy names like English breakfast, Afternoon tea, Milk tea, High tea, or Iced tea, but what makes the difference? Well, this story of tea is a bit detailed, and we will unfold all these mysteries in time to come.


Now, let's start with the story of CTC teas…


Centuries ago, tea was invented in China, and the tea-drinking habit has been on an evolving journey ever since. Some sipped the hand-picked tea buds as it was, but some preferred to play around with it to make different renditions. These solo experiments have resulted in thousands of tea varieties, while some best innovations occurred with black tea, the most popular type.

The old style of black tea making was called Orthodox style or the traditional style. This mostly had slow and gentle movements for producing tea leaves either by hand or by machines. The commercial-scale of Orthodox tea production was done with machines and some automated techniques.

But, not everyone was satisfied with this old-style tea making, which was slow and tedious.

During the early 1900s, a new technique called, CTC (Crush, Tear & Curl) was invented for efficient production of Black tea, and we call these teas "CTC teas".

CTC black teas came in a small & grainy appearance with a strong & colory brew. This CTC leaf was ideal for making tea bags, where consumers demanded a decent cup of tea, within a shorter period. This is where Africa’s love affair with CTC tea began. The strong and colory African CTC black teas were ideal for producing quality tea bags demanded by consumers across the globe.

Well, that’s all history, and here’s what happens now in the world of tea drinking …


While the colorful African tea bag is demanded by a majority of the tea consumers even today, a considerable portion of tea lovers is switching back to the good-old loose-leaf teacup. 51% of US tea consumers used only tea bags as their prime means of brewing tea during 2019, however, as we look back from 2022, this trend has begun to reverse slowly.


Yes, the art of authentic loose leaf tea culture, or "the leafy tea culture" as we call it, is earning popularity among tea lovers due to a few reasons,

  • The first and foremost fact would be the flavor: Leafy teas, in general, come in all attractive shapes and sizes, with a variety of flavors. It could please all your senses with its gorgeous appearance, sensational aromas, and vibrant flavors.

  • Apart from the flavor, you can have better control, better selection, and a mindful tea experience with these leafy teas, and once you get used to this leafy tea habit, it is almost addictive.

  • On the other hand, some studies reveal that the lifestyle changes resulting from the prevailing pandemic situation have also contributed to this novel trend. Sounds interesting, isn't it?


So, what makes a specialty loose leaf tea?

When the loose leaf teas are made to premium quality, using extreme care & techniques, best tea plants, or the best tea harvest of the season, it is called a “Specialty Tea”. These premium tea leaves usually come in the best shape, appearance, aromas, and flavors.


Africa is falling in love with Specialty teas…

With its years old experiences in the CTC black tea industry, Africa is now geared up for making teas with its own identity. Single-origin teas, Orthodox black teas, Green teas, White & Purple teas are a few examples of this trendy initiative.

At Asami tea, we share a similar dream; the dream of spreading all the pure and sensational flavors of African Teas to the world.


Let's explore more:

It's time to learn a bit more about some popular specialty tea types, which you can get from this amazing continent, Africa.


1. African Black Orthodox Teas

Standing together with other renowned Orthodox black tea producers like Ceylon, Africa is now on a quest to produce premium Orthodox black teas. African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, and Malawi have already started this journey, with many more picking up the trend. These fairly black and stylish teas are really delicate and flavorful and come in different tea grades like OPA, OP, FOP, Pekoe, FBOPF. Usually, these leaf attributes can change from one garden to another, however, the overall cup features a bright amber color, with comparatively lighter-bodied yet delicious liquor. Now, if you wish to sip some of these astonishing Orthodox teas, we have plenty in the Asami collection. (explore now)


2. White Teas

Commonly made by using the topmost buds of the tea plant, white teas go through a natural sun drying phase to protect their delicate flavors. This opaque brew is so soothing, light, and refreshing to sip. (try now)


3. Purple Teas

This is such an incredible tea descending from Kenya, which is made from a special tea plant variety. These purple tea leaves can brew into a liquor that has a unique purple hue and light, refreshing cup characteristics. (try now)


4. Green teas

From fine and tender tea leaves, stems fine quality green teas. Like any other green tea, African Green Teas are also made after blocking the oxidation process. Here the tea shapes are fairly open and uneven compared to other green teas. However, these leaves can present a brew that is so fresh, sweet, and slightly grassy. (try now)


Explore Asami Teas

If you are a tea lover who loves to sip different flavors from all around the globe, it is time to move beyond the usual CTC tea bag from Africa. We have evolved a lot from there, and these original tea flavors are really worth exploring & sharing. Explore our exclusive collection to get a glimpse of what Africa is producing today and you will be amazed by the vibrant flavor profile of these treasures. (explore now)