How many different categories of tea leaf quality are there?
It's good to know Tea Plays uses a higher quality of leaf. And useful to know how to recognize a lower quality.
The state and type of tea leaves can give us a lot of information about how good the tea we are drinking is. Whole-leaf tea, as used in Tea Plays bonbons, is the highest possible grade. Here a classification, based on traditional operations and processing of the tea leaves. The variety of ways of processing can result in either larger leafy grades (either whole leaves or large broken pieces) or smaller broken grades.
The large leaf grades are:
- orange pekoe (OP)
- flowery pekoe (FP)
- pekoe (P)
- pekoe souchong (PS)
- souchong (S)
The broken grades are:
- broken orange pekoe (BOP)
- broken pekoe (BP)
- BOP fanning
The highest grades are “orange pekoe”, and the lowest grades of all are 'fannings' or 'dust'. Very often, cheap tea bags used in catering contain a mixture of the last two categories. Be a little cheeky next time and tear one open to see if it's leaves or dust inside!
Tags: All About Tea, Tea Benefits