A word on grading
Apart from China’s, most teas are
graded using several letters around the term ‘orange pekoe’ (Orange from Dutch
royalty as the Dutch were one of the first to bring tea to the west). Pekoe is a
Chinese word for leaf.
The list is exhaustive, but this is the gist of it:
F.O.P. Flowery Orange Pekoe
Tea made from the bud and
first leaf of each shoot. These are tender young leaves yielding fine
G.F.O.P. Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
F.O.P. with golden
tips (the tiny, undeveloped buds).
T.G.F.O.P. Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
lots of golden tips. Considered very good quality.
F.T.G.F.O.P. Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange
F.O.P. of superior quality. Sprinkled with ‘gold dust’!
S.F.T.G.F.O.P. Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange
With such a name, this has to be the ultimate!
O.P. Orange Pekoe
Usually long think whole leaf,
harvested after the buds are opened. This does not contain ‘golden tips’.
Whole leaf that tends to be shorter and slightly
coarser than O.P.
The broken grades of leaves are as follows, they tend to yield a stronger
infusion that, if desired, can be drunk with milk.
G.F.B.O.P. Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
T.G.F.B.O.P. Tippy Golden
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
T.G.B.O.P. Tippy Golden Broken Orange
G.B.O.P. Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
F.B.O.P. Flowery Broken Orange
B.O.P. Broken Orange Pekoe – the most widely sold grade of
B.O.P.F. Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings – the finest siftings. Usually a
rich, strong, quick brew. Used chiefly in the tea bag market and supermarket
branded ‘house’ teas.