Leaf Grade

Distinction between leaf grades

A distinction is generally made between leaf teas and broken teas. 

The terms used for leaf grades are a statement about leaf size and appearance and only partly about taste (flowery). However, they do not contain any classification about the quality of the tea. The quality of a tea is always determined during the tasting.


Leaf Grades for Leaf Tea

1. Flowery Orange Pekoe = FOP
This leaf grade describes a thin, wiry leaf with tips (gold or silver, visible leaf tips (buds)) 

2. Orange Pekoe = OP
Describes a long, wiry leaf, larger than FOP. Orange comes from the Dutch ‘oranje’ which means ‘royal’. 

3. Pekoe = P und Flowery Pekoe = FP
This leaf is shorter and coarser, usually also more open and not as finely rolled as the Orange Pekoe.


Leaf Grades for Broken Tea

1. Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe = FBOP
These sortings describe coarser and aromatic properties of small-leaved teas. These teas have a clean shaped and well rolled leaf with many tips. 

2 Golden Broken Orange Pekoe = GBOP
A well-shaped blade with fewer tips than FBOP. 

2. Broken Orange Pekoe 1 = BOP 1
The name for the FBOP on some plantations in India. In Ceylon, this term applies to semi-leaf teas, a sorting that lies between the OP and the BOP. 

3. Broken Pekoe = BP
This sorting originates during CTC production. The spherical leaves give the tea a
strong note. 

4. Fannings and Dust
This sorting describes the small and smallest particles of the tea leaf produced during sieving. Fannings and dust are preferably used in infusion bags, as they offer a very high yield and are strong.


Tea Tasting

During a tea tasting, exactly 2.68 g of each tea is weighed (this corresponds to the international standard). The tea leaves are then infused with boiling water and steeped for 5 minutes. Afterwards, the tea is ready for tasting. The infusion is sucked by slurping the tea and then spitting it out again. By slurping and smacking, the aromas in the mouth can unfold better and the trained tongue can perceive the different nuances better. 

Some criteria for assessing tea:

  • Testing dry and infused tea leaves (infusion) for appearance, colour and smell. This provides a first impression of the quality.
  • The colour of the infusion, the scent from the tea cup, the character and taste of the tea infusion.
  • The fragrance, first impression in the mouth and development of the aroma