Tea grading is a complex system that categorizes tea based on factors such as leaf size, shape, and color.
Main Grades – Small Leaf Tea
Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP): BOP is a popular grade of small leaf tea that balances taste and strength. The well-made, neat medium-sized leaf should not have excessive stalk or fiber, and there should not be any fine particles that are not true-to-grade.
Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning (BOPF): BOPF has smaller particles than BOP and is popular in higher elevations. It has a stronger taste than BOP while retaining all other characteristics.
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning (FBOPF): FBOPF is similar to BOP leaf but with firm leaf consisting of few tips.
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning One (FBOPF1): FBOPF1 is a typical low country semi-leaf tippy tea, similar to BOPF but with a firm leaf consisting of slightly more tips than FBOPF.
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning Special (FBOPFSP): FBOPFSP is similar to FBOPF1 but with a firmer and more black leaf with better tips.
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning Extra Special (FBOPFEXSP): FBOPFEXSP is a whole leaf tea with an abundance of long tips, similar to FBOP1 but with a firmer and blacker leaf with much better leafy tips.
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP): FBOP is smaller than BOP1 with the presence of tips but larger than FBOPF1.
Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe One (FBOP1): FBOP1 has a long twisted wiry leaf and is fairly tippy, longer than BOP1.
Dust (D): Dust is the smallest of particles left after sifting and is often used in tea bags to infuse rapidly and make a strong and robust brew.
Dust One (DUST1): DUST1 is less grainy than PD and clean.
Main Grades – Leafy
Broken Orange Pekoe One (BOP1): BOP1 is a semi-leaf tea that is twisted and typically comes from the low country. It has a mild, malty taste that is popular among tea drinkers who prefer a smoother, more balanced brew.
Orange Pekoe One (OP1): OP1 is a long, wiry tea that is well or partly twisted. It has a stronger flavor than BOP1 and is often preferred by those who enjoy a more robust tea.
Orange Pekoe (OP): OP is a whole leaf tea that is well twisted, resulting in a delicate brew with varying tastes depending on the region. It is less wiry than OP1 but more twisted than OPA.
Orange Pekoe ‘A’ (OPA): OPA is a long, bold leaf tea with air twists and large, slightly open leaf pieces. It has a distinctive taste and aroma that sets it apart from other leafy grades of tea.
Pekoe (PEK): PEK is a twisted and coarse tea that has a strong, robust flavor. It is often used in blends and is known for its hearty character.
Flowery Pekoe (PEK-1): PEK-1 is similar to PEK but smaller in size, resulting in a lighter, more delicate brew. It is often preferred by those who enjoy a more subtle flavor.
Golden Tip (GT): GT is a white tea made from dried tea leaves that are naturally golden in color. It has a sweet, honeyed flavor and is high in antioxidants, making it a popular choice among health-conscious tea drinkers.
Silver Tip (ST): ST is similar to GT but made from buds that are silver in color. It has a light, delicate flavor and is prized for its rarity and unique qualities.
C.T.C. (Cut, Tear, Curl)
Broken Pekoe One (BP1): BP1 is a larger size leaf with bold round particles, providing a full-bodied, bright tea. It is equivalent in size to high grown BOP, but more granular. This tea has a strong, bold flavor and is perfect for those who prefer a full-bodied cup of tea.
Pekoe Fanning One (PF1): PF1 is a smaller size leaf with a strong tasting tea. It is equivalent in size to grainy high grown BOPF, but more granular. This tea has a strong, robust flavor and is perfect for those who prefer a strong cup of tea.
Pekoe Fanning (PFGS): PFGS is a grade of broken leaves, which are slightly larger than dust particles. This type of tea is often used in tea bags to provide a strong and quick infusion.
Broken Pekoe (BP): BP tea is made up of broken stems and choppy, hard leaf pieces. It is usually considered low-quality and is often used in blends or as a filler.
Broken Orange Pekoe One ‘A’ (BOP1A): BOP1A is a flaky leaf tea without any stalk or fiber. It is known for its clean and smooth taste, but is not as popular as the main grades.
Chunmee (CH): Chunmee is a popular green tea that has a dusty appearance and is generally more acidic and less sweet than other green teas. It comes in several grades with numbers indicating the quality and size of the tea leaves.
Gunpowder One (GP1): Gunpowder tea gets its name from the tightly rolled pellets that resemble grains of gunpowder. The flavor of GP1 varies depending on the tea’s growing location, and it’s essential to look for shiny pellets when purchasing to ensure freshness. High-quality GP1 will have small, tightly rolled pellets.
Gunpowder Two (GP2): GP2 has slightly larger pellets than GP1 and is coarser in texture.
Gunpowder Special (GP-SP): This variety of gunpowder tea features bloom curl twisted pieces of leaf.
Young Hyson (YH): Young Hyson is similar to Orange Pekoe (OP) but must have a green color. It has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor.
Green Curl (GC): GC features opened coarse leaves with a darker color.
Sowmee (SW): Sowmee has even and neat opened pieces, and the leaves are usually a light green color.
Green Tea Flowery Fanning (GTFF): GTFF is similar to Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning (BOPF) and features a firm leaf but with a green color and a few tips.
Green Powder (GRP): GRP is a powdered tea that is the last part of the green tea manufacturing process.
Black Tea – Main Grades
- BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe – Small or broken pieces of leaves
- BOPF – Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning’s – Smaller than BOP leaves, broken leaf, slightly larger than dust
- OP – Orange Pekoe – Same Style but small than OPA
- FBOP – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe – Same style of BOP but slightly bigger in size and consisting few tips
- Pekoe – Twisted and Coarse
- Pekoe1 – Same style, but small in size than the Pekoe
- OPA – Orange Pekoe ‘A’ – A good quality tea, consisting of large and slightly open leaf pieces
- OP1 – Orange Pekoe One – More Wiry than OP
- BOP1 – Broken Orange Pekoe one – Wiry and small than OP1
- FBOP1 – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe one – Little small than the BOP1
- FBOPF – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning’s – Similar to the BOP leaf but firm leaf and consisting few tips
- FBOPF1 – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning’s one – Similar to the BOPF but firm leaf and consisting Little more tips then FBOPF
- FBOPFSP – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning’s Special – Similar to the FBOPF1 but firm and more black leaf with much better tips, prices are high
- FBOPFEXSP – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning’s Extra Special – Similar to FBOP1 but firm and more black leaf with much better leafy tips, expensive than
- D – Dust – Similar to D1 but will appear slightly brown powder leaves price must be low
- D1 – Dust 1 – The smallest of particles smaller than Fanning’s leaves
CTC Teas (Cut, Tear, Curl)
- BPS – Broken Pekoe Special – Even curl pieces
- BP1 – Broken Pekoe 1 – Little smaller than BPS
- BPL – Broken Pekoe Leaf – Even leaf pieces
- PF1 – Pekoe Fanning’s 1 – Similar to BP1 but small pieces
- PD – Pekoe Dust – The smallest of particles smaller than PF1 leaves
- Silver Tips: These teas are small, unopened leaves of the tea plant. These tips are also commonly known as “buds,” although they do not form flowers and also appear silver mixed white color
- Golden Tips: Similar to silver tips color appear as gold mixed white
- BOP 1A: Broken Orange Pekoe one A– Weight Less Large leaves
- BM: Broken Mix – Smaller then BOP 1A’s
- FNGS: Fanning’s broken leaves, slightly larger than dust
- FNGS 1: Fanning’s broken leaves, slightly larger than FNGS
- PFNGS: Fanning’s broken leaves, slightly larger than dust
- PFNGS 1: Fanning’s broken leaves, slightly larger than PFNGS
- BP: Broken Pekoe – Broken Stems
- CH: Chunmee – Curl twisted pieces smaller then GP Sp
- GP1: Gun Powder 1 – Twisted and Coarse similar to Pekoe but color must be green
- GP2: Gun Powder 2 – Little opened coarse slightly bigger then GP1
- GP Sp: Gun Powder Special – Bloom Curl twisted pieces bigger then CH
- GC: Green Curl – Opened coarse more dark color leaves
- SW: Sowmee – Even and neat opened pieces
- Sencha: consists of tiny dark green needle – shaped pieces
- GTFF: Green Tea Flowery Fanning’s – Similar to the BOPF firm leaf but Green color consisting little tips
- GTFF1: Green Tea Flowery Fanning’s 1 – Similar to the GTFF but little bigger in size
- GRP: Green Tea Powder – Powder type tea last part of the manufacture