Assam Tea

Assam tea is known for its full-bodied malty flavor, deep aroma, rich color, and brisk taste.

What is Assam tea?

Assam tea is a variety of black tea made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. Assam tea is worldwide famous full-bodied tea with robust flavor produced in the state of Assam in India. It is the largest tea producing area in India, making up to more than 50% of all tea production in the country.

Assam lies along the Brahmaputra River—an area called the Brahmaputra Valley in northeast India, bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar. The tea here is grown at sea level, in a warm, wet climate. The tropical climate of the region is responsible for earthy and malty flavour, with a smooth buttery and creamy overtone.  The tea is well known as Assam black tea, breakfast tea, English breakfast tea.

The Flavour of Assam Black Tea

Assam tea is a particular type of black tea that’s well known for its rich, malty flavor and many potential health benefits. There are two kinds Assam tea: Orthodox and CTC both named after the manufacturing process used to create them.


Orthodox Tea



Orthodox tea refers to loose leaf tea produced using traditional methods, which involves plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation/fermentation and drying.

CTC (Crush, Tear, and Curl) is a method of processing black tea in which tea leaves are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers with serrated blades that crush, tear, and curl the tea into small, even-shaped pellets.

Intent of production

Orthodox tea production focuses on preserving the singular virtues of the leaf resulting in fermented tea leaves

CTC is about ensuring faster production of a standard quality of tea.

Tools and methods of production

While orthodox tea makers use traditional practices during their tea manufacturing process, which can be time-consuming and require a lot of human intervention

CTC tea manufacturing process is a faster way of producing a standard quality of tea.

The flavor profile of the tea

Orthodox teas produce more authentic tea experience. Orthodox blends of all types – oolong, white, green or black – have a delicate flavor.

CTC teas have a generic taste and produces dark, strong liquor have a distinct astringent flavor. If you want to have masala chai or want to add milk to tea, then CTC is the best.



Harvest and Processing

Due to the climate, tea leaves are harvested twice a year. The two harvests are referred to as the first and second flush.

  • Spring Flush (Or First Flush): The first harvest begins in March and can run until mid-May. Small leaves and buds are harvested during this flush. First flush Assam is considered lower quality and less desirable.


  • Summer Flush (Or Second Flush): The second harvest begins in mid-May. Tea from this harvest is known as “tippy”, because the leaves have golden tips. They brew to a sweeter, darker and more full-bodied tea that is more prized than first flush tea.

Process Name

How it done

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1. Tea leaves are plucked fresh very early in the morning when there are the dew drops on the leaves.

2. The leaves are hand-picked with utmost care.



1 - Withering process is commenced where the humid content of the leaves is reduced by about 30 % in order to make them soft and flexible for the subsequent rolling.

2 - The withering takes place in special withering through of a length of 25 - 30 m, which is stringed with a wire grid and ventilated with large fans.
3 - The leaves are spread out on the grid. The air, which moves through the ventilators, can also be heated if required due to higher humidity content of the leaves.
4 - The withering process takes 12 - 18 hours.


Rolling OR CTC

1 - The withering green leaves are rolled in large rolling machines.

2 - These generally consist of two large, heavy metal plates, which are rotating against each other and are hereby breaking open the cells, bringing the cell fluid into contact with the oxygen in the air.
3 - Alternatively, put through a CTC machine which simultaneously crushes tears and curls the leaf it as the process implies.



1 - The fermentation is an oxidation and tanning process of the cell fluids, which have been released during the rolling.
2 - For the fermentation, the leaves are spread out on tables in layers of 10 cm.
3 - During the fermentation - which takes 2 - 3 hours - the leaves change their colour, which gradually becomes a copper-red.
4 - The "tea maker "constantly monitor the degree of oxidation, particularly with respect to the scent of the wet leaves.
5 - The quality of the finished tea is very much dependent on the correct fermentation.



1 - The fermentation is finished when the desired grade of fermentation.

2 - The tea has developed its typical smell and the copper-red colour is dried.

3 - The tea is moved through the dryer on a conveyor belt.

4 - The starting temperature amounts to 90°C and binds the cell fluid firmly to the leaves.

5 - Towards the end of the 20-minute long drying process.

6 - The temperature decreases to 40°C and the humidity content to approximately 6%.

7 - When the tea is infused, the cell fluid, which stuck to the dried leaves, is solved in the hot water and produces the aromatic and invigorating drink.



1 - The black tea, which is released by the dryer, is raw tea.

2 - Which is now sieved via a number of shaking, mechanical sieves with which the common leaf grades are separated from each other.

3 - Sorting generally yields the following grades:
      Leaf Tea - Broken Tea - Fanning - Dust



The most important phases of the treatment with respect to orthodox tea production are: withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting into leaf and broken grades, i.e. sizes. Tea suppliers in Assam have tea grades that include the whole leaf, broken leaf, fanning, and dust tea grades.

  • SFTGFOP - S (Super) F (Finest) T (Tippy) G (Golden) F (Flowery) O (Orange) P (Pekoe)- large leaf
  • FP - F (Flowery) P (Pekoe) - small leaf
  • GFBOP - G (Golden) F (Flowery) B (Broken) O (Orange) P (Pekoe) - fine broken
  • BOPF - B (Broken) O (Orange) P (Pekoe) F (Fanning) - fanning
  • CTC - C (Crushing) T (Tearing) C (Curling) - round leaf


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