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Tea Leaves Grades

تاريخ التحديث: 1 مايو 2020

Tea is a Chinese name for evergreen shrub or small tree which produces tea leaves, native to southern and eastern Asia. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves. Tea belongs to the Camellia family,  which is characterized by green leaves shape and aromatic yellow-white flowers. despite the different types of tea and different methods and rituals prepared from one country to another , all the countries in the world have the tea on their own drinks list. It is important to note the variety of varieties and the methods used in the classification of tea grades, and this is what we will learn in this article.

Camellia sinensis is an evergreen plant that grows mainly in tropical and subtropical climates. Small shrubs grown from seeds are harvested after about three years, and these shrubs may remain for 50 years. The mellow leaves are picked by hand, with the best kind of leaves near the top. In the black tea, the leaves are first fermented for about 24 hours. In the black dragon tea, which is a kind of tea that Chinese people drink, the leaves are partially fermented and are concentrated in flavor and color. Tea is classified according to the leaves size, starting from the smallest. 

In the tea industry, the grades of tea leaves are the process of evaluating the product based on the quality and condition of the tea leaves themselves. The highest scores are referred to as "orange pekoe", the lowest "fannings" or "dust".

The leaves of green and Oolong-teas teas are usually whole and the grade is not specified. The same applies for a few of the black teas, particularly Chinese, where its name is a synonym of quality. For other black teas the grade is important since it gives two pieces of information: the fineness of the crop, and the size of the leaf (whole, broken, ground).

In these grading the term "orange" is not connected with the fruit of the same name. It means "royal", and comes from the name of the Dutch dynasty Orange Nassau. As for the word Pekoe it comes from the Chinese word Pak-ho meaning "fine hair" or "down", and denotes the end bud, which gives an impression of white down, since it is not entirely open.

Pekoe tea grades are classified into different varieties, each determined by the number of adjacent new leaves (two, one, or none) and which are selected along with the buds. The highest quality in the pekoe grades consists only of leaf buds, which are selected using fingertips. Do not use mechanical tools to avoid bruising.

Whole leaf grades

- OP Orange Pekoe Main grade, consisting of long wiry leaf without tips. harvested when the bud has opened.

- P Pekoe  The leaves are shorter than the Orange Pico OP.

- FOP Flowery Orange Pekoe High-quality made from the bud and top leaves 

- FOP 1 Flowery Orange Pekoe 1 Limited to only the highest quality leaves in the FOP classification.

- GFOP Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe A Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) with golden tips on the buds

- TGFOP Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe A high proportion of golden tips

- TGFOP1     Limited to only the highest quality leaves in the TGFOP classification.

- FTGFOP Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe Highest quality grade.

- SFTGFOP Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe and (FTGFOP1, STGFOP) Limited to only the highest quality leaves in the FTGFOP classification.

Broken leaf grades

- BT Broken Tea Usually a black, open, fleshy leaf that is very bulky. This classification is used in Sumatra, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and some parts of Southern India.

- BP Broken Pekoe The most common broken pekoe grade; from Indonesia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Assam and Southern India.

- BPS Broken Pekoe Souchong Term for broken pekoe in the Assam and Darjeeling regions.

- FP Flowery Pekoe High-quality pekoe. Usually coarser with a fleshier, broken leaf. Produced in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Southern India, as well as in some parts of Kenya.

- BOP Broken Orange Pekoe Main broken grade. Prevalent in Assam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Southern India, Java, and China.

- F BOP Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Coarser and broken with some tips. From Assam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Indonesia, China, and Bangladesh. 

- F BOP F Finest Broken Orange Pekoe Flowery The finest broken orange pekoe, with a higher proportion of tips; mainly from Ceylon's "low districts".

- G BOP Golden Broken Orange Pekoe Second grade tea with uneven leaves and few tips.

- GF BOP1 Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe 1 only the highest quality leaves in the GFBOP classification.

- TGF BOP1 Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe 1 High-quality leaves with a high proportion of tips; finest broken First Grade Leaves in Darjeeling and some parts of Assam.

Fannings grades

Fannings are small pieces of tea that are left over after higher grades of teas are gathered to be sold. Traditionally these were treated as the rejects of the manufacturing process in making high-quality leaf tea like the orange pekoe. Fannings with extremely small particles are sometimes called dusts.

Fannings and dust  are considered the lowest grades of tea, separated from broken-leaf teas which have larger pieces of the leaves. However, the fannings of expensive teas can still be more expensive and more flavourful than whole leaves of cheaper teas.

- PF Pekoe Fannings

- OF Orange Fannings From northern India and some parts of Africa and South America.

- FOF Flowery Orange Fannings

Common in Assam, Dooars, and Bangladesh. Some leaf sizes come close to the smaller broken grades.

- GFOF Golden Flowery Orange Fannings Finest grade in Darjeeling for tea bag production.

- TGFOF Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Fannings

- BOPF Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings Main grade in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Southern India, Kenya, Mozambique, Bangladesh, and China. Black-leaf tea with few added ingredients, uniform particle size, and no tips.

Dust grades

- D1 Dust 1 From Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Africa, South America, Southern India, and Bangladesh.

- PD Pekoe Dust

- PD1 Pekoe Dust 1 Mainly produced in India.

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