Tea Terminology for the Leaf

Tea Terminology

Tea is graded and produced according to the size of the leaf, tea the information below about tea terminology to educate your self on the difference between BOP and FOP.

Many of you will know 'Orange Pekoe Tea', Orange Pekoe is a grade of tea, it is not a specific type of tea. Ceylon Orange Pekoe is very famous but you can get different origin Orange Pekoe's. 'Pekoe' derives from a Chinese term 'Pek-ho' and refers to the covering of tiny sliver-hairs on the underside of the leaf of certain types of tea bush. 'Orange' is said to have derived from Holland's 'House of Orange' the Royal family to import and re-export tea. Thus the name is associated with quality.

Grades of Tea / Loose Tea Terminology

FOP: Flowery Orange Pekoe – denotes tea made from the top bud and the first two leaves of each new shoot. FOP Teas contain young, tender leaves with a balanced amount of 'Tip' or 'Bud'. Why not try our English Breakfast Tea FOP or our Irish Breakfast Tea FOP

OP: Orange Pekoe - contains leaves that are larger than a FOP and is harvested when the buds have opened into leaves, seldom contains tip. (BOP refers to a Broke Orange Pekoe- The same quality of leaf but a broken to make the leaf smaller)

GFOP: Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - This is a FOP with 'Golden Tips', the very end of the golden yellow leaf.

TGFOP: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - These Teas have a high content of golden tips and is referred to as "Tippy".

FTGFOP: Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - FTG represents tea with the highest Tippy content.

SFTGFOP: Super (or Special) Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe - These teas have the finer lighter coloured liquors and is the highest quality available.


Souchong: The term Souchong refers to a 'sub-variety' in Chinese, used for the larger, lower down leaves. Now it refers to a smoked tea from China or Taiwan.

Congou: Fine quality black Chinese tea, usually fifth down the line of the tea bush, with the tea bud first, the flowery and orange pekoes next, followed by two Souchong leaves. It is most commonly sold today with the scent of petals from the tiny Chinese pink roses.

Bohea: A term originally used for the Wuyi Tea from the Wuyi Mountains as they had previously been referred to as the 'Bohea Hills'. Now refers to the last crop of the season of a lower quality. This tea is usually used for scented tea.

Fannings: Teas used for packing tea bags are referred to as FANNINGS. This is a very fine cut leaf which brews very fast for the Western world. There is also a market in tea dust but really that is only used as fillers by some of the big tea brands.

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