A Guide to the Types and Grades of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea, originating from Sri Lanka, is known for its unique taste and variety of flavors. The tea’s quality is determined by various factors, including the part of the plant used, the processing method, and the size of the leaves. In this article, we’ll explore the different types and grades of Ceylon tea.

Silver Tips

Silver Tips are the most delicate and rarest type of Ceylon tea. The buds of a special cultivar are handpicked before sunrise and turn velvety-silver when dried. This type of tea offers a gentle and fragrant brew.

OP – Orange Pekoe

Contrary to popular belief, Orange Pekoe is not a flavor but a leaf size. OP tea has a strong scent and a smooth flavor with a sweet finish.

FBOP – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

FBOP tea is similar to Broken Orange Pekoe but is bigger in size. It is a coarser, semi-leaf tea with a small portion of tips, producing a mild yet flavorful brew.

BOP1 – Broken Orange Pekoe 1

BOP1 is a well-twisted semi-leaf tea, generally from the low country. It has a uniquely delicate and malt-like taste with an aftertaste that resembles caramel.


Pekoe tea is made from the just-unfurling buds of the tea bush. Pure pekoes are tightly rolled into a near-spherical shape and need extreme care when manufacturing.

BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe

BOP is a popular leaf size and the main broken grade. This tea infuses faster than whole-leaf varieties, giving way to a liquor that strikes the right balance between taste and strength.

BOPF – Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings

BOPF tea is uniform, black-leaf tea particles that are smaller than BOP but without tips, hailing from higher elevated regions. It has a bright color with a strong taste that retains most characteristics of BOP. BOPF tea is ideal for tea bags.


DUST 1 tea is the smallest of particles that infuse swiftly, resulting in optimum strength, color, and body. It is most suited for commercial brewing.

FBOPF EX.SP. – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning Extra Special

FBOPF EX.SP. tea is a whole-leaf black tea that tends to be expensive due to the abundance of leafy, long tips. It yields an exquisite cup with a mild caramel flavor.

Golden Tips

Golden Tips are very rare pale golden velvety whole buds taken from select plants, yielding a very delicate brew with a mild floral bouquet.

FF1 – Flowery Fannings 1

FF1 tea is short wiry particles mixed with medium-sized curly leaves and comprising some tips.


Gunpowder is a green tea that dates back to the 1800s, and the name originates from the fact that the tea is rolled very tightly into small pellets befitting ammunition used in old muskets.

In conclusion, Ceylon tea offers an array of choices in flavor, strength, and body. From the rarest Silver Tips to the commercial DUST 1, each type and grade of Ceylon tea offers a unique taste and brewing experience.

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