Orthodox Method – This is the most common method of processing black teas. With this method, more care is put into the tea leaves. After the leaves are picked, they are allowed to wither in the warm air for up to 18 hours to reduce their water content until they are soft and pliable. The leaves are then rolled in a special machine that gently presses and twists the leaves in order to break the cells to begin the oxidization process. This process can take several rounds, depending on the grade of leaf being cut. After the leaves are cut, they are once again exposed to the air in a climate controlled environment so that they can continue to oxidize, altering the level of polyphenols in the leaf. This is the point where the flavor of the leaf begins to develop. Once the leaves reach the appropriate oxidization level, they are then fed into a machine to dry, which halts the oxidization process.
CTC (Cut, Tear, Curl) Method – This method was developed around the teabag boom of the 1950’s to facilitate the production of smaller cut tea leaves and a quicker processing time. While the production begins and ends in the same fashion with withering and drying, the rolling process is skipped in this method and the leaves are instead minced and broken apart in a rotorvane machine with blades rotating at