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Acronyms in Tea Grades – What do they all mean?

You must buy tea quite often, but have you ever noticed the different alphabets in your tea pack? What do all those letters mean? Wondering what their significance is? We will discuss it right here.

These are acronyms and they are the “grading terms” that provide additional information about the blend you have brought in the pack. They are a very good guide in tea purchasing because these grades provide vital information regarding the quality of tea leaves in a particular pack. The quality of leaves is judged according to their wholesomeness, shape and size.

However, this is not the sole indicator but a helpful guide in buying. From these acronyms buyers can understand what kind of aroma, flavor and strength they will get from a particular blend.

Now, let’s have a look at the grading system found in tea packs.

Grading System Found in Tea Packs

  • OP: Orange Pekoe
  • SFTGFOP: Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
  • FTGFOP 1: Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe One
  • FTGFOP: Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
  • TGFOP 1: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe One
  • TGFOP: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
  • GFOP: Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
  • FOP: Flowery Orange Pekoe

There are certain terms that we common people fail to understand or do not have proper knowledge. Here we will explain some terms commonly used in relation to tea.

Understanding Some Terms Related to the Tea World

  • GOLDEN – It is the gold color present in tea leaves.
  • FLOWERY – It refers to the delicate bud with tea you will find when it is plucked.
  • ORANGE PEKOE – It is the term used in tea industry to describe quality of tea leaves. This word comes from ‘oranje’, a Dutch word meaning royal and ‘pak-ho’, a Chinese word referring to the white color or any other color that fine young shoots of tea plants have.
  • FINEST TIPPY GOLDEN – It indicates that your blend is rich in light-colored tips. Generally, tips of tea plants have light shade since there is no sap.
  • TIPPY – It means there is abundance of young buds.

In fact, Orange Pekoe signifies the delicate operation of plucking the tea. You will find that the top quality Darjeeling tea has the acronym FTGFOP 1 indicating that this blend is produced with utmost care from tender tips and evenly sized leaves. This grading term is only used for blends produced from whole leaf teas. Finest quality Darjeeling tea has this acronym and hence, has most delicate flavor and taste.

One thought on “Acronyms in Tea Grades – What do they all mean?”

  • Richard Kaplan
    Richard Kaplan April 27, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    I am an avid tea drinker and can say that loose leaf tea from Sri Lanka is by far my favorite. I purchased a 1 kilo box of loose leaf while my wife and I were in London last year. We served it at a dinner party at our home. Most of our guests were coffee drinkers, but tried the tea without milk or sugar (which is the way it should be consumed). They loved it!

    Reply
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