CEYLON TEA GRADES
OP: Orange Pekoe . A characteristically long leaf, thin and wiry, with a show of tip. Liquors are light and pale in colour
OP1: Orange Pekoe 1. Long wiry twisted leaf, beautiful often called ‘Spider Leg' consisting of one leaf and a bud.
OPA: Orange Pekoe Air. A long wiry leaf with an open airy twist.
P: Pekoe. The leaves are shorter and not so wiry as OP, often, they are curly and nugget shaped a bit like thick apostrophes. The liquors are more dark than OP.
P1: Pekoe 1. Treated as Pekoe, although slightly smaller, graded separately but catalogued together.
PF1: Pekoe Fannings 1. Off grade, secondary flake leaf, granular equivalent to BOPF.
PF: Pekoe Fannings. Off grade secondary leaf similar to PF1 but slightly longer.
PD: Pekoe Dust. A Granular off grade secondary tea smaller than OF.
Silver Tips: Only the finest of buds, which turn a fuzzy velvet soft pale green grey when dried, and shaped slightly crescent, with a long pine needle look.
FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe. The whole leaf is used in this one, showing plenty of long lighter tips and yields a lovely honey/caramel liquor.
FF: Fine Flowery. Specially hand picked fine pine needle like leaves with abundant flowery tips yeilding a beautiful aromatic tea, usually in conjunction with ExSp ( extra special ) to denote a high quality leaf assortment . Never blended.
FBOP Ex Sp: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Extra Special. Small leaf , like small pine needles, with an abundance of golden tips. Very flavourful.
FOP: Flowery Orange Pekoe. Both FBOP and FOP fetch high prices in the western markets. More expensive to produce but both are magnificent teas. The FOP consists of two leaves and an unopened bud. The more tips in the tea, the more costly it becomes as the golden tips in both FBOP and FOP are sorted out by hand.
GT: Golden Tips. Long and tippy , not catalogued, as it is sold privately.
BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe. This is the most sought after of the Ceylons and most popular. It is smaller than the leaf grades and contains good tip. Liquor has a good colour and strength.
BOP Sp: Broken Orange Pekoe Special. This is larger than BOP, but although they are graded separately, they are catalogued together.
BOP1: Broken Orange Pekoe 1. A shorter wiry twisted leaf than OP1, a semi – leaf .
BOP1A: Broken Orange Pekoe 1 A. This is an off grade, a secondary leaf is used other than the proscribed two leaves and a bud. Clean, no stalk or fibre.
BM: Broken Mixed. These are off grades ( secondary leaf), mixed, and flaky.
BP: Broken Pekoe. Slightly larger than BOP but with less colour in the liquor and is usually used as a ‘filler’ in a blend, with a ‘choppy’, hard leaf.
BP1: Broken Pekoe 1. Like in size to BOP, but granular.
BPSp: Broken Pekoe Special. Larger, more granular particles than BP1
BOPF: Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings. This is a grade much sought after especially in the UK. It is a fine granular grade that may yield a quick brewing if a lot of tea is used but brews beautifully for the recommended amount of time. It’s a good full flavour tea and deep colour in the cup. Some companies use BOPF in tea bags. BOPF certainly makes a better bag tea than Dust, the latter which hardley has any flavour at all. But bag tea will stale and loose it’s flavour very quickly; one reason why loose leaf is recommended. Our BOPF is still rolled by machines and sifted, and is NOT a CTC grade. We vehemently refuse to import CTC ( Cut Tear Curl) teas .
FNGS: Fannings. This is a chopped leaf, and an off grade, secondary leaf, flaky.
FNGS1: same as fannings, but smaller flake.
OF: smaller than PF1, larger than PD ( Pekoe Dust )
D1: Dust 1. Less granular than Pekoe Dust and very clean.
D: Dust. Dust comes in Grades of D1 for optimum strength. People often associate Dust with floor sweepings and this is wrong. All dust is , is the finest tea that gets through the net once the larger leaf has been sifted and falls into the bottom-most sifting belt. Dust still carries a lot of flavour and is excellent for tea bag use because it is fine and the leaf does not need to open fully to produce flavour. Dust is certainly cheaper than other grades to purchase, and although I do not stock dust, in order to brew it lose it would need a silk tea strainer ( fine chiffon silk stretched into a bamboo frame to create a screen) in order for the tea to not get through into the cup. But Dust certainly yields a good strong brew. And it always depends upon the quality of the water used.
CTC : Cut Tear Curl. Machine cut tea, not made by orthodox methods. I do not import CTC.