Identifying LTP processed tea?

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Oct 17th, '10, 04:17
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Identifying LTP processed tea?

by mbanu » Oct 17th, '10, 04:17

Is there any way to distinguish LTP (Lawrie Tea Processor, I think) processed tea from CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) processed tea? Does the end leaf have a different look to it?

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Oct 18th, '10, 12:25
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Re: Identifying LTP processed tea?

by tortoise » Oct 18th, '10, 12:25

I'm going to be completely unhelpful and just say that I have no idea what you are talking about. :lol:

Hopefully someone else will. I would be curious to hear.

Oct 18th, '10, 22:03
Posts: 98
Joined: Oct 14th, '10, 00:06

Re: Identifying LTP processed tea?

by mbanu » Oct 18th, '10, 22:03

Alright, quick background for helpfulness. :)

Once the tea has been plucked from the bush, it goes through a few processing steps before being ready to drink. All these steps used to be done by hand, but that is very expensive, so many of the steps have now been mechanized.

Rolling the tea leaves into the shape they'll be packed in is one of those steps.

There is the "orthodox" roller, which rolls whole-leaf tea. It does a decent job (although it breaks up some of the leaves accidentally, which are then sold as "broken" grade tea, or "fanning" or "dust" grade if in really tiny pieces), but it can only be operated in batches; meaning that you start the roller, roll the leaves, and the roller stops. Big tea companies were naturally a bit annoyed by this, because of the huge volume of tea they go through; they wanted something that could be "rolling" all the time, with no downtime.

So they invented other forms of "roller", such as the Rotorvane, the Legg cut machine, the Crush, Tear, Curl (CTC) machine, and the Lawrie Tea Processor. These could only make broken or lower grade tea (the CTC machine, for instance, seems to essentially be an elaborate grinder), but they could operate continuously, and lower grade tea was just fine in teabags, which were becoming more and more popular. (Note: By lower grade, I only mean the size of the broken up tea leaf bits; this has nothing to do with how many leaves were included in the tea pluck (Two leaves and a bud, three leaves and a bud, etc.), or the altitude the tea was grown at, or other aspects which are also important in determining quality.)

I was wondering if there was a way to identify what way broken tea was processed by looking at the dry leaf. From my understanding, although they tried making pure "Rotorvane" processed teas when it was first invented, nobody really makes those anymore, and now it is only used to break up the whole leaves into smaller pieces to speed the use of CTC machines, and the Legg cut machine seems to be out of fashion, (Maybe I'm wrong on this?) but that the LTP method is still in use in some areas (it is actually a newer method than CTC). However, I don't know how to distinguish between CTC processed tea and LTP teas (or from the broken/fanning/dust grades from Orthodox tea rollers), and thought someone might be able to help... I assume the dry leaf looks different, but maybe not?

Aug 26th, '11, 04:18
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Joined: Aug 26th, '11, 03:11

Re: Identifying LTP processed tea?

by harkisidhu » Aug 26th, '11, 04:18

I was the fortunate one to run the prototype of the Lawrie's Tea Processor. The Parent company of the Jokai (Assam) Tea Company was Alex Lawrie, based in the UK. The machine got its name from that company.
The identifying of the difference between CTC & LTP teas is very difficult, specially in the smaller grades (PF and below). The larger grades were a bit more open & the density a tad less. The infusions were always a bit brighter.
Harki Sidhu
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