How is Black Tea Graded?


size of the particle or leaf.
1. The size of the leaf, in turn, frequently depends on how the tea has been harvested and processed


Orthodox method.
When the Orthodox method is used, the top tier of leaves and the bud are hand-plucked


In this case, the tea leaves may be either plucked by hand or harvested by machinery
The top tea grade is referred to as Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. With this particular tea, the top leaves and bud are hand-plucked. The tea’s name is derived from the buds’ golden edge.

Grading Tea
• • • After processing, the tea is graded by size. Grading tea is more of an art than a science The size needs to be consistent among the various grades because smaller, broken pieces of leaves brew faster than whole leaf. whole leaf is considered better quality than broken, and smaller whole leaves generally have more flavor than larger ones.

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Whole Leaf Broken Leaf Fannings and Dust Additional Modifiers

Whole Leaf
• S - Souchong (Usually the fourth leaf of the shoot which means it comes from coarse plucking and is therefore, lower quality) • FOP – Flowery Orange Pekoe (It’s often thought that Orange Pekoe is a type of tea, but it’s really just a size. Flowery refers to its shape resembling a crushed flower because it is loosely rolled.) • OP – Orange Pekoe (Generally regarded as a good quality tea that is rolled up slightly tighter than FOP)

Broken Leaf
• P – Pekoe (A large broken leaf grade that usually does not contain any visible tips) • BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe (Broken into pieces that are typically square shaped)

Fannings and Dust
• F – Fannings (The size usually found in tea bags. The name comes from an old practice of using fans to separate the smallest pieces from the larger) • D – Dust (The finest of all grades, almost powder-like)

Additional Modifiers:
• T – Tippy (A modifier used in whole and broken leaf grades to indicate that the that there are buds present) • G – Golden (Describing the coloring of the tips or buds and is considered favorable) •

• When grading whole leaf teas, they usually start at the lowest grade, PS (Pekoe Souchong) to FOP which is a higher quality. Then, they will add the modifiers such as GFOP (Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) which is even better. • After that, even more modifiers are added such as, FTGFOP (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) and even SFTGFOP (Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe). Whew, that’s a mouthful!

The grading system is typically used Africa, India, or Sri Lanka Some Chinese teas may also be subjected to the grading system

the grading systems for green tea and oolong tea vary according to the country involved in Japan
green teas grown in Japan are graded according to geography, style, and quality Japanese grades tend to go by names such as extra choicest, finest fine, common, and nubs.

In green tea is graded in relation to the leaf’s age, style, and shape. China

Chinese grades are identified by names such as Pinhead and Pea Leaf. Meanwhile, green teas grown in India are known by leaf styles such as Young Hyson, Soumee, and Fannings.

How is tea graded? p/

• The first thing to keep in mind is that these are descriptions of the dry, cured leaf _only_. They have no necessary relation to the aroma, color, or flavor of the end product. It is possible to get a delicious cup from ugly, broken leaves; it is possible to get an awful cup from well-handled, beautiful whole leaves. But since you may have little information to work with other than the grade, let's look at the various

There are different grading schemes for black and green teas. Here are the basic grades of black tea:

• Flowery Orange Pekoe (peck-oh), Orange Pekoe • Pekoe • Souchong • • • • • Broken Orange Pekoe Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings Broken Pekoe Fannings Dust

• 'Pekoe' (pronounced 'PECK-oh')
is derived from a Chinese word meaning 'white'; this referred to the white hair on the leaf bud. Early Western merchants used the word to mean that the leaves so graded were exclusively plucked from the tip of the branch: the leaf bud and the two leaves below the bud. Its use in India and Sri Lanka broadened to mean whole leaves of a uniform size, and this is what it generally means now. This may include leaves picked from lower on the branch.

• 'Flowery Orange Pekoe'
is often abbreviated 'FOP'. The term 'flowery' apparently refers to the leaf bud, since actual tea flowers are not used in the preparation of the drink.

• Orange'
is variously described as a reference to the Dutch House of Orange or as a reference to an old Chinese practice of including orange blossoms as a flavoring agent. Whichever story is true, Orange Pekoe leaves are higher quality than Pekoe leaves. means large leaves, generally not from the tip of the branch.

• 'Souchong'

High-quality Darjeelings are often graded according to a complex (one is tempted to say baroque) system including terms such as TGFOP and FTGFOP. One r.f.d.t reader was under the impression that these abbreviations stood for "Too Good For Ordinary People" and "Far Too Good For Ordinary People." Not a bad guess, in my opinion. Here's what they actually stand for:

• TGFOP: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.

'Tippy', 'Golden', and 'Flowery' are all references to the leaf bud at the tip of the branch. (Buds have a lighter color than fully formed leaves, hence 'golden'.)

• FTGFOP: Fancy [or Fine] Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. 'Fancy' is a term also used in the grading of

• SFTGFOP: Super-Fine [Fancy] Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.

When dealing with Darjeelings also see the following terms:
• Estate:
names the plantation where the leaves were grown.

• Vintage: means that the leaves are the product of one harvest, and are not blended with any others. • First Flush: the leaves were plucked in the first
growth of the season. It usually produces a very light, delicate drink.

• Second Flush: second-growth harvest. More robust
and complex than first flush.

How tea testers grade tea

The tea taster's is a specialised function demanding talent cultivated during years of training and experience. The sense of taste is only one of the many faculties a taster must cultivate. Of the five human senses of smell, sight and touch areas essential in tasting tea as is the sense of taste. The term 'tea tasting' is therefore a partnomer for what is a comprehensive examination of tea. Close Scrutiny Before a taster Begins his work, sample of tea are infused or brewed. Each sample is infused in boiling water for six minutes. The liquor or liquid is then separated from the infused leaf. White porcelain cups and pots are use to ensure an authentic view of liquor colour. When ready for tasting, the taster first examine two or three ounces of dry leaf tea. Good black tea should have a uniform black colour with a bloom or sheen. it should contain golden tips( the more the better) which come from the 'buds' and not from two leafs. Brown stalk and fibre are unwelcome as they represent the hard stem between leaves. The taster checks the size and evenness of the leaves. The style of the tea is just as important; a well twisted heavy leaf is desirable while a flaky style is not. His sense of touch helps him verify whether the tea is crisp and well-dried. A spongy feel indicates that the tea contains a high percentage of moisture and therefore will not 'Keep' well deteriorate g.html .html
• Decisive factor Then tea taster's eye turn to the infused leaf to see its colour, its uniformity and brightness. The infused leaf gives a cross-section view of the tea and therefore a look of sniff are helpful. Until now the taster has not used his palate which is of course, the most decisive factor in the examination of tea, but before he tastes, he carefully looks at the colour of liquor to see how bright and golden it is.He then proceeds to taste by sipping about a spoonful of the liquor and rolling it in his mouth for a few second before spitting it out. In the course of the few second that the liquor in his mouth, the taster registers how strong and brisk it is. Strength is thickness while briskness (life or pungency which spring water has but water from a lake does not) is a property of a good tea which will 'keep' well. In these same few seconds, the taster also judges the final aspects of the liquor. Character is the distinctive taste which depends upon the area in which tea is grown. Quality is aroma which is found in abundance only during certain seasons of the year when leaf growth is slow. flavor or bouquet is the ultimate in tea liquor and, being rare, is much sought after. a Darjeeling tea with an outstanding flavor can be worth Rs. 1600 per Kg or More. .html
• Palate Memory Trained sensitive taste buds and a keen sense of smell are essential to detect so much in such a short time, but they are not all.An encyclopedic palate memory is must for a successful tea taster. No tea can be tasted and valued in abstract. The taster must be able to compare it with a number of teas he have tasted over years and which are no longer available. Without experience and a long association with a wide range of teas, a taster can not do justice to his work. The taster is often called upon to assist the producer in improving quality. He must be intimately familiar with the various process of tea manufacture. Otherwise he cannot relate a shortcoming in the tea with a particular fault in manufacture.

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