Ceylon Estate Teas manufacture the entire range of tea grades that are produced in Sri Lanka. A tea’s grade does not necessarily indicate the flavor or quality and is commonly referred to the size of the leaf and its location on the tea bush.
Although Tea grading has not been standardized between major tea growing countries, Tea grading is primarily used by the estates for segregating various teas during the manufacturing process. This process is not clearly defined and therefore it is not considered as a proper evaluation method of quality teas. Grading terminology also differs when describing green tea, black tea, and oolong tea. Therefore, these terms are briefly discussed in their general uses.
Other factors such as origin, soil, rainfall, elevation, the particular “flush” or picking season combined with the harvesting and manufacturing process all lend a hand in providing tea its unique flavor.
D – Dust
The smallest of particles left after sifting which is often used in tea bags to infuse rapidly and make a brew that is strong and robust.
F – Fanning
A very small, broken leaf that is slightly larger than dust.
S – Souchong
The large leaves which are located closest to the bottom of the branch. These coarse leaves are twisted lengthwise and often used for various Chinese smoked teas.
P or PEK – Pekoe
Pekoe grade tea leaves are slightly less coarse and smaller than Souchong
OP – Orange Pekoe
Orange Pekoe grades are leaves that are plucked close to the end of a branch. Besides the buds and flowers, they are the youngest and smallest of tea leaves found on a branch.
BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe
The leaves in broken grades of orange pekoe tea are reduced in size usually by machine. This allows for more surface area, causing the tea to infuse faster than whole leaf varieties.
FOP – Flowery Orange Pekoe
This orange pekoe grade also includes some “tips” or leaf buds.
FBOP – Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
This grade of tea would refer to broken orange pekoe with the addition of a small portion of “tips."
Please watch our friends Chaminda and Harris from Lumbini Tea Plantation explain different tea grades and qualities noting why Lumbini makes only quality/premium teas.