Move to standardise CTC tea grades

The Tea Board of India has finally decided to standardise the grades of different types of Crush-Tear-Curl (CTC) tea produced in the country. Of the total tea produced by the country, about 90 per cent is CTC. The Deputy Chairman of the Ta Board Roshni Sen issued a circular on January 20 in this respect. This instruction of the Board will come into effect from March 1 next, said tea industry sources here.

It is expected that implementation of the instruction would be able to bring about uniformity of the CTC teas produced in the country in respect of their grades and would thus augment their marketing.

Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA) chairman AR Kasera hailed the above decision of the Tea Board as a step in the right direction. “It will now remove confusion in the domestic as well as the overseas markets on the matter,” he said.

Tea industry sources said that the issue was under consideration of the Board for quite a long time. The latest decision of the Board came after several rounds of discussion with the producers’ associations, auction buyer associations and six auction organizers.

Now, following the rationalization and standardization of the grades of CTC teas, there will be eight grades of CTC Broken Leaf, three grades of CTC Fanning and eight grades of CTC Dust contrary to the more than 60 existing grades.

It needs mention here that in Kenya, there are only four primary grades and three secondary grades. But due to the different varieties of tea produced by India, it is acceptable to have more grades in India than in Kenya. The Tea Board directive is applicable to all CTC teas manufactured in India and applicable for all routes of marketing – auction and non-auction, said the sources.

In this respect, North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said that due to the different varieties of tea produced in India it is acceptable to have more grades than Kenya.

Grade of tea with its nomenclature is a tool for identification for the purpose of marketing. Tea is classified into different grades during the manufacturing process. However, confusion very often surfaces among the buyers and sellers on the identification of specific grades for the tea of the same quality.

To remove this confusion, tea grades are now sought to be standardised basing on the two parameters of ‘stainless steel wire mesh size’ and ‘thickness of standard wire gauge,’ said the sources.

Source: The Assam Tribune