The classification of black teas was defined by and for the English. It therefore applies to teas produced in producing countries with an Anglo-Saxon culture: India, Ceylon, Kenya. In black tea, the terminal bud is referred to as tip. The term Orange means "royal", alluding to the royal family of the Netherlands (the Orange - Nassau). During the phase of rolling the tea, the juice of the leaves will permeate the tips. It will thus offer a golden or silver color from where the terms Golden and Silver. Two main certified categories of teas: whole leaf teas (high quality) and broken leaf teas (more full-bodied flavor).
These are the best quality teas based on the famous FOP (Flowery Orange Pekoe): the tip and a leaf (Imperial picking). The classification is then refined, to account for the relative quantity in tip, and then for their quality.
-OP (Orange Pekoe) : Tip And two leaves (fine picking).
-FP (Flowery Pekoe) : Leaves rolled into a ball.
-Pekoe: Leaves less fine, without buds, coarse-looking.
-Souchong: Very large leaves, low leaves on the tea plant, large and aged, used especially to prepare smoked teas.
-Pekoe Souchong: Rough picking.
These are the less fine teas based on the famous BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe): The leaves are no longer presented in full and are much smaller than in FOP. The beverage is more full-bodied and darker, and the infusion shorter.
Order of quality :
FBOP (Flowery BOP)
GBOP (Golden BOP)
GFBOP (Golden Flowery BOP)
TGBOP (Tippy Golden BOP)
BP (Broken Pekoe)
Other teas, such as green teas, do not have an international system of grade comparable to that of black tea.
After picking, the tea leaves are often wilted and then heated very quickly at high temperature (desiccation), in order to destroy the enzymes and thus stop any risk of fermentation. They are then rolled and dried several times (rolling). Drying by the Chinese method uses copper basins placed on the fire, while the Japanese practice steaming.
If we conceive that we can produce organic tomatoes or strawberries in France, it is sometimes more difficult to envisage it for tea leaves and yet it is worth recalling some basic truths about tea:
Almost all tea production is sold for export. This sector is therefore generating currencies but also many jobs: tea makes whole regions live.
The additional costs associated with the purchase of chemical fertilizers, the use of intensive cultivation methods and industrial processing are minimal in relation to the financial gains due to increases in production.
Nearly 99% of the world's tea production is in "conventional" (non-organic) crops. A tea designed with industrial methods can also be tasty and pleasant to drink: pesticides, lead and other heavy metals are not discernable on the palate.
Certified organic teas are rare in the world of tea (less than 1%). It seems important to clarify once again that conventional (non-organic) teas are very highly treated: There are about 50 pesticides used in the cultivation of tea! One who returns in green tea with disturbing levels is fenvalerate. Recall that we regularly carry out analyzes on pesticide residues on the teas we import.
A good product is also a healthy product and therefore produced according to the standards of organic farming. Thus, with rare exceptions, we only seek and select certified organic teas by an international certifier recognized by our inspection body (Ecocert sas).
An organic tea with the certificate "AB" (organic farming) is a guarantee of authenticity and therefore of quality.
- we select only organic teas from identified plantations.
- We do not buy "blind" on the tea bourses.