Did you know that all tea despite the name of the “color” of the tea actually comes from the same “tea plant”? The Camellia sinensis plant. The styles of tea are produced by altering the shape and chemistry of the leaf, through the manufacturing process.
A tea’s grade does not necessarily indicate flavor or quality. They are rather determined by many different factors including: the country of origin, the variety of the tea, the garden or estate, the elevation, the particular flush (picking) and the manufacturing after harvesting. Most black teas are graded and sold according to leaf or particle size. The harvesting and manufacturing of tea has a great impact on the finished size of the leaf, thus the tea grade.
In general, including “flower tea” or ” fruit infused tea” there are in total 6 styles of tea:
- White Tea
- Green Tea
- Yellow Tea (Fruit or Flower Infused Tea)
- Oolong Tea
- Black Tea
- Pu’erh Tea
Tea processing is five basic steps;
- Firing/ Drying
In our previous article about 'Tea Leaf Grading' - the grading system is based upon the size of processed and dried black tea leaves. Black tea is what you usually get served generally speaking almost everywhere, on the plane, in hotels, it’s your average liptons tea.
As a quick explanation black tea is usually completely made within a day and runs through all 5 processes in a linear form which are generally not repeated.
Black teas offer the strongest flavors are the only style of tea regularly consumed with milk and sugar.
Summary of General Classifications (Tea Grading)
Tea Classifications generally speak of the part of the tea leaf
Orange pekoe (OP)
Orange pekoe is used to describe a basic, medium-grade black tea consisting of many whole tea leaves of a specific size
This refers to the down-like white “hairs” on the leaf and also to the youngest leaf buds
Are essentially the leftover of the tea “leaf” after the buds have been picked for higher graded tea
Broken (B) – Plucked
Choppy (C) contains many leaves of various sizes.
Flowery (F) consists of large leaves, typically plucked in the second or third flush with an abundance of tips.
Golden flowery (GF) includes very young tips or buds
Tippy (B) includes a larger amount tips
Source: Originally posted on Terrestrial by SJ Perret