Different Grades of Tea

Remember that tea grades are not standardized, so they may vary widely according to country or region of origin. Also, tea grades do not necessarily indicate quality. The acronyms found below describe the dry leaf's appearance, not its taste. Taste, after all, is in the tongue of the beholder.


Terms Describing BLACK TEA GRADES (ORTHODOX TEA)
WHOLE LEAF
FP Flowery Pekoe
FTGF OP Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
TFG OP Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
TGF OP 1 Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1
GF OP Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
F OP Flowery Orange Pekoe
OP Orange Pekoe Broken
BROKEN
BOP1 Broken Orange Pekoe One
GFBOP Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
BPS Broken Pekoe Souchong
GBOP Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
FBOP Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
DUST
OPD OrthodoxPekoe Dust
OCD Orthodox Churamani Dust
BOPD Broken Orange Pekoe Dust
BOPFD Broken OrangePekoe Fine Dust
FD Fine Dust
D-A Dust A
Spl. D Special Dust
GD Golden Dust
OD Orthodox Dust
Terms Describing BLACK TEA GRADES (CTC Tea)
BROKEN
BP Broken Pekoe
BOP Broken Orange Pekoe
BPS Broken Pekoe Souchong
BP 1 Broken Pekoe One
FP Flowery Pekoe
FANNINGS
PF Pekoe Fannings
PF 1 Pekoe Fannings One
BOPF Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings
DUST
PD Pekoe Dust
D Churamani Dust
PD 1 Pekoe DustOne
D 1 Dust One
CD 1 Churamani Dust One
RD Red Dust
FD Fine Dust
SFD Super Fine Dust
RD 1 Red Dust One
GD Golden Dust
SRD Super Red Dust

Pekoe

The word "pekoe" comes from the Chinese word bai hwa or "white flower". In Taiwan, occasionally the Latin alphabet is used with a language system called POJ (an interesting bit of trivia to impress your friends with: this system was actually developed by the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church). Under the POJ system, the word is "peh-hoe", which has evolved over time into "pekoe". Today the term is used to classify a superior grade of black tea.

A pekoe tip is the down-like white or yellow hair on the tip of the youngest tea leaves. So the next time you hear someone refer to a tea as being "tippy", you'll know that they mean it has an abundance of tips!

OP: Orange Pekoe

No, it's not orange flavored tea. It does not refer to a particular flavor, color, or even quality. It simply designates a particular leaf size. During the manufacture of tea, the resulting product is leaves of varying sizes. OP denotes a particular size (typically larger leaves) that will not pass through a sieve of particular width.

Choppy

Tea is called choppy when a lot of tea contains leaves of widely varying sizes.

OP Sup Orange Pekoe Superior

This grade is only produced in Indonesia.

BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe

Tea classified as BOP means that it is somewhat finer that Orange Pekoe (OP). Fannings Also known as tea dust, fannings are small particles of tea leaves, used almost exclusively in tea bag production.