What is Orange Pekoe?

Orange Pekoe is the top of the 4 grades of tea that is used in theWestern grading system. There are sub categories inside these, we’ll touch on these which we’ll touch on below. The system deals with the size, and in some cases the shape, of the leaf.

How do the categories work?
There are 4 categories, starting at Dust, which is the tiniest small pieces, and Fannings, which are a little larger, around the size of a pin head. Both of these grades tend to be used only in Tea Bags.

Broken Orange Pekoe, the next to highest grade is a broken leaf.It is seen as being a broken leaf, rather than being Fannings or Dust which do not resemble a leaf at all. BOP can be classed in three grades: Tippy, Golden or Flowery, which we will discuss below.

Orange Pekoe is whole leaf tea. The grading system uses sieves to determine the grades of the tea, and Orange Pekoe will not pass through the sieve at all.

Orange Pekoe and BOP can be further refined as Flowery (FOP or FBOP which containing a greater proportion of tips or buds than OP or BOP), Golden (GOP or GBOP with more golden coloured tips or buds, representing younger leaves) and Tippy (TOP TGOP containing more tips or buds than the other two grades). OP is can have the numbers 1 and 2 can be added to denote higher grades within this classification, and the prefixes Fine or Super Fine to represent the highest class. So what do we have this month?The Orange Pekoe is OP1, representing the best Orange Pekoe,without having a higher proportion of tips. The Chai is FBOP,being Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe, containing an abundance oftips.There is still more to tea categories than we have been through here, this represents an overview of the key tea categories, and most importantly, an insight to what tea grades are represented this month.