How Is Tea Graded?
The grading of tea is an accepted method of classifying the tea and it relates to the quality of the tea leaves. The grading of tea facilitates the international trade in tea and is the central component in the assessing of a money value for the various types of tea This classifying of tea into grades is an important tool for the tea experts in their task of making evaluations and comparisons between the different varieties of tea that are grown and manufactured throughout the world. The accepted methods of grading tea relate to the grading of Black tea only. The two main factors which affect the grading of tea are:
1. The size of the tea leaves: Whole, large tea leaves gain a higher grading 2. The method of production of the tea: There are 2 methods of manufacturing tea.Manufacturing of tea and these are the traditional method of production of tea by hand and the more modern mechanized method which is aptly called the CTC process (Crush, Tear and Curl). It is considered that the mechanized method damages the tea leaves and as a result the tea leaves bear a lower grading. In respect of Green tea and Oolong tea, as opposed to black tea, no single accepted method of grading has been developed. For these teas there exists a whole range of grading systems and these differ from tea grower to tea grower, from tea growing region to tea growing region and so on. These tea grading methods are based on and depend on factors different from those that affect the grading of Black tea . The grading of Green tea and Oolong tea is affected by factors such as the variety of the tea plant , the region and area in which the tea was grown and the stage at which the picking of the tea leaves took place. The grading of Green tea and Oolong tea indicate the taste and quality of the tea. The Grades Of Tea
There are five main grades for classifying tea and these are: Dust –D This is the lowest grade in the classification of Black tea. Actually it consists of small pieces of tea leaves and tea dust. Fanning This consists mainly of pieces of tea leaves. It is a low grade. BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe This consists of small tea leaves or pieces of large Leaves. It is considered a medium grading for the classification of tea leaves. OP - Orange Pekoe This consists of large, whole tea leaves picked without the flower bud of the tea plant. FOP – Flowery Orange Pekoe These are the whole tea leaves together with the flowering tea plant. In addition to the five main categories of tea there are two further important qualities or traits and these are Golden where gold hues occur in the tea leaves evidencing their quality andTippy which signifies an abundance of young tea buds. The following classifications relate to choice tea consisting of whole leaves and complemented by one of the above traits: GFOP Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe These are whole, young tea leaves whose tips are golden and are complemented by the flowers of the tea plant. TGFOP Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe This consists of the tea bud and two uppermost leaves of the tea plant complemented by the flowers of the tea plant. This is the highest category in the grading of tea. However in this highest grading of tea leaves there are also two further quality refinements marking the best of the best: FTGFOP Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe for choice tea leaves SFTGFOP Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe which is the highest existing grade for tea leaves. The Quality Of The Tea
In evaluating the quality of tea, the tea experts give consideration to the variety of tea, the region where the tea was grown, the stage of picking of the leaves and the tea manufacturing process. Two further tests help in determining the quality and the taste of the tea brew and these are: The Scientific Test:
A critical assessment of the quality of the tea by chemical and physical means such as an analysis of the chemical composition of the tea, use of the...