Tea Grading System - India, Sri Lanka
Tea grading is somewhat complicated, each country has there own way of doing it. There are 4 categories tea falls under: Whole Leaf, Broken Leaf, Fannings and Dust. The first grade of a black tea is called OP or Orange Pekoe (Peek-oh). If there a grade that has a number 1 at the end (FTGFOP-1), this means it is the best grade of tea for that type. A grade only describes the leaf style of that particular tea and not the quality. Below is the grading system used in todays teas.
SFTGFOP: Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe – Top grade, almost all tea leaves have golden tips.
FTGFOP: Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - Excellent quality with lots of golden tips.
TGFOP: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - Golden buds have a lighter color than other leaves.
GFOP: Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - Smaller amount of golden tips.
FOP: Flowery Orange Pekoe - Long whole leaves.
OP: Orange Pekoe - Rarely contains golden tips.
FP: Flowery Pekoe - The next grade down from OP, smaller leaf.
PS: Pekoe Souchong - Pekoe leaf further broken down is Pekoe Souchong.
Souchong - Shorter and tightly rolled leaf style for Indian Souchong. Chinese grading system refers to large leaves.
Pouchong - A rare, bold flat tea leaf that is often light in liquor. China is the most common producer of this grade.
BROKEN LEAF TEA
These fall on the other side of the scale from Orange Pekoe, going down in this order. A broken leaf tea will contain the letter B in the tea grading.
GFBOP: Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
GBOP: Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
TGBOP: Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe
BOPF: Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings - This grade is primarily used in tea bags since it is small and steeps very quickly.