Black Tea Leaf Grading
International standard categorized black tea grade depend on quality and condition of the tea leaves. In general, the closer the tea leaf to the bud tip, the higher the tea grade.
As showing in the picture below, the tea leaf at the bud tip is the Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP), which has higher tea grade, and taste better.
Whole Leaf Grade Term
- (T) Tippy - Produced from tips which is the young buds.
- (GF) Golden Flowery / (F) Flowery - Young tea leaves with buds, Golden Flowery is tea produced from young tea leaves with buds from early season
- (F) Finest - High Grade
- (SF) Special Finest - Highest Grade
- (OP) Orange Pekoe - Unbroken leaf longer than Pekoe
- (P) Pekoe - Unbroken leaf
- (PS) Pekoe Souchong - Unbroken leaf shorter than Pekoe and more coarse
- (S) Souchong - Large older leaf
In addition to these grading terms, number "1" may be added to indicate high quality tea.
Example of whole leaf tea grade:
- FTGFOP (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) - Highest quality tea from hand-processed from the best farm.
- SFTGFOP1 - Special finest, highest price range
- TFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) - High quality tea, main grades for Darjeeling and Assam tea
- FOP1 (Flowery Orange Pekoe 1) - Highest grade in FOP grade