Tea Terminology - Did You Know? January 01 2015

Grade terminology


Choppy contains many leaves of various sizes.
Fannings: are small particles of tea leaves used almost exclusively in tea bags.
Flowery: consists of large leaves, typically plucked in the second or third flush with an abundance of tips.
Golden Flowery: includes very young tips or buds (usually golden in colour) that were picked early in the season.
Tippy: includes an abundance of tips.

Whole leaf grades
The grades for whole leaf orthodox black tea are: Ceylon orange pekoe (OP) grades'
OP1—slightly delicate, long, wiry leaf with the light liquor
OPA—bold, long leaf tea which ranges from tightly wound to almost open
OP—main grade, in the middle between OP1 and OPA, can consist of long wiry leaf without tips
OP Superior—primarily from Indonesia, similar to OP
Flowery OP—high-quality tea with a long leaf and few tips, considered the second grade in Assam, Dooars, and Bangladesh teas, but the first grade in China
F OP1—as above, but with only the highest quality leaves in the FOP classification
Golden Flowery OP1—higher proportion of tip than FOP top grade in Milima and Marinyn regions, uncommon in Assam and Darjeeling
Tippy Golden F OP—the highest proportion of tip, main grade in Darjeeling and Assam
TGF OP1—as above, but with only the highest quality leaves in the TGFOP classification
Finest TGF OP—highest quality grade (Note: "Special" is occasionally substituted for "Finest", with a number 1 at the end to indicate the very finest), often hand processed and produced at only the best plantations, roughly one quarter tips

SFTGFOP(1)—sometimes used to indicate the very finest
A joke among tea aficionados is that "FTGFOP" stands for "Far Too Good For Ordinary People".