Tea and Coffee Merchants

Mr. Harvey’s Tea Grading Guide

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 flavour.

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
F.O.P. with lots of golden tips. Considered very good quality.

F.T.G.F.O.P. Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
F.O.P. of superior quality. Sprinkled with ‘gold dust’!

S.F.T.G.F.O.P. Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
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’.

P. Pekoe
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 Pekoe
G.B.O.P. Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
F.B.O.P. Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
B.O.P. Broken Orange Pekoe – the most widely sold grade of tea
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.

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