Grades of Tea Tea
grading is based on the size of the leaf and types of leaves included
in the tea. Though leaf size is an important quality factor, it is not,
by itself, a guarantee of quality.
are often designated as OP or FOP. These designations are part of the
grading system used for whole leaf black teas and refer to the leaf size
and amount of tip in the tea. Pekoe means teas picked as 2 leaves and a
bud. OP, or Orange Pekoe, is a full-leaf tea with no tip or buds. FOP,
or Flowery Orange Pekoe, is a longer leaf than an OP and has some buds.
Grading systems and terminology vary with tea type and country. The
system is especially highly developed for Indian teas (see the following
table). But regardless of where the tea comes from, the more whole and
less broken the leaf is, and the more buds it contains, the higher the
grade of tea.
BLACK TEA LEAF GRADES P: Peko smaller, shorter leaves than OP OP: Orange Pekoe long, thin, tightly rolled leaves FOP: Flowery Orange Pekoe. longer leaf than an OP but not as tightly rolled GFOP: Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe FOP: with some golden tips TGFOP:Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe GFOP: with more golden tips FTGOP: Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe OP leaves that are broken FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe FOP: leaves that are broken
GREEN TEA GRADES There
is no uniform grading system for green teas, but the better quality
green consist of a leaf and bud, then 2 leaves and a bud and so on. Some
common green tea leaf terms are: Gunpowder: also called pearl tea, young leaves and buds are rolled tightly into pellets that unfurl in the cup Imperial: loosely rolled pellets made from older leaves Young Hyson: young leaves rolled long and thin