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Tea Abbreviations

Teas are graded by quality, like many foods are.  However, teas are graded with a confusing jumble of letters.  Here’s an overview of what the grades are and where you are likely to find them.

  • BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe.  The main broken grade of Ceylon, Java, China, and South India.
  • BP: Broken Pekoe.  A broken/black tea, heavily broken.  Indonesia, Ceylon, and Sothern India.  Woody, with a lot of stalks.
  • BPS: Broken Pekoe Souchong: Assam and Darjeeling, pearl shaped leaves.
  • Broken: A small broken, or cut, leaf.
  • Cl: Clone teas.  Different tea plant, but similar flavor.
  • CTC BOP:  Crushing, Tearing, Curling Broken Orange Pekoe.  It’s a short production tea, with very uniform leafs that quickly infuse.
  • Dust: Smallest grade of tea.  Found in tea bags.
  • Extraneous particles: The steam or stalk that is sometimes processed with the tea.
  • Fannings: Small particles of tea leaves.  1mm in size.  Found in tea bags.
  • FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.  A coarser broken grade with some tips.  Assam, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, and South America.
  • FOP: Flowery Orange Pekoe.  Plain grade of Indian tea.
  • FTGFOP1: Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1.  Mainly from Darjeeling, some Assam.  Finest grade of production, with even leaves and tippy.
  • GBOP: Golden Broken Orange Pekoe.  Next level down from the GFBOP, with fewer tips.
  • GFBOP: Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.  Usually an Assam tea, made from broken top-grade tea from Kenya with only broken tips (tips are explained further down).
  • GFOP: Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.  The top grade from the only surviving Kenyan tea garden that makes tippy teas.
  • Infusion: Tea leaves after brewing.
  • OP Sup.: Orange Pekoe Superior.  Tippy, Indonesia only.
  • OP: Orange Pekoe.  The main grade of Ceylon and Java, long wiry leaves.
  • Pekoe: A Chinese word, roughly meaning “white down,” refering to young leaves.  Pekoe and Orange Pekoe are grades for tea.
  • SFTGFOP1: Special Finiest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe 1.  Superlative grade (better than FTGFOP1).
  • TGBOP: Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe.  The finest broken grade of Darjeeling and Assam.  A lot of tips, with smooth leaves.
  • TGFOP: Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.  The main grade of Darjeeling and Assam.
  • Tippy/Tip: The lighter, or golden, tips of the tea, that don’t change the color of the tea.

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