The world of tea is a mystifying one for those that fall in love with it. Not only are there so many different teas, there are also so many different uses and methods of drinking them. After that, if one considers the various grades of tea, it throws open an entire new world of possibilities to explore.
There are numerous tea grades around the world. A lot of them are common while some are unique. We take a look at some of the regular grades for both orthodox and CTC teas.
The orthodox teas from India are desired all around the world for their flavour as well as their appearance. To some, these teas are the pride of the world and mentioned below are just a few grades of orthodox teas.
Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
These are among the best whole leaf grades that are regularly available in the market. Of course, there are other grades which are superior and carry more tip, but this is the standard top quality whole leaf which is produced in greater amounts than others.
Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
This broken grade of orthodox is one of the more popular grades around in its classification. The reason for this is because it is one of the few broken grades to carry a generous share of golden tips while also having a size which a lot of people prefer.
Golden Orange Fannings
Arguably, this is the most sought after grade in the fannings category. With more than a fair show of tips, this grade is generally a success for those who are able to manufacture it in the best possible manner and size.
Orthodox Pekoe Dust
Towards the fag end of the season when there is less demand for the other grades, it is the dust category or this grade in particular which lights up the market. In such times, the dust categories of certain gardens will receive higher bids than even their whole leaf premium grades.
These are so named because of the Crush, Tear, and Curl method of manufacture. Broadly speaking, this is the category of teas which are drunk by the masses around the world and the category which made tea bags possible initially. Though these teas are generally meant for mass production, there are some top quality CTC teas which produce excellent flavour and brisk cups that rank right up there with the very best around the world.
Broken Orange Pekoe
Over the years, this is probably the grade of CTC which has generated the highest amount of interest from the buyers within the country as well as from abroad. Hence, it should also come as no surprise that this particular grade generally fetches the highest prices and also holds the world record for auctions held around the world.
Broken Orange Pekoe Small
A lot of people prefer this smaller size to the larger BOP as they feel that it has the best of both (in between the bigger and smaller premium grades) worlds. This gets reflected in the cup quality as well.
This grade is smaller than the above mentioned grades and is extremely popular in certain parts of India. So much so that in certain tea growing regions, manufacturers tend to produce more of this grade as there is a higher demand which they tend to cash upon.
Broken Pekoe Souchong
This is the largest among the CTC leaf grades and is not very popular all over because of its size and also because these are generally a bit ragged in make. There are few takers and gardens generally produce a limited quantity or would prefer not making it maybe.
Orange Fannings/Pekoe Fannings
The reason that these two grades have been clubbed together is simply because of the fact that gardens do their own grading. One garden’s OF could be another’s PF and only well trained professionals would be able to tell the difference with their naked eye. These are often preferred for teabags.
Though larger than the dust grade, this is one of the more popular categories of dust grades and closely resembles the OF/PF grades. This is picked up a lot to use as part of a blend or to be put into teabags while some people prefer drinking this tea loose.
This grade is very popular because of its size which allows for various uses like blending apart from just plain drinking. An advantage of the dust grades is that their size allows for less quantity to be served with each proportion without compromising on quality.
These grades consist of a bulk of the tea that is consumed around the planet and now you know a bit more about them than just the taste and appearance.