Erin said

Talk to me about Orange Pekoe

Talk to me about it. I always equate it to nasty ass Red Rose tea… are there any good ones in your opinion?

11 Replies

My understanding is that Orange Pekoe is a grade of Indian/African/Southeast Asian (China excluded) black tea. It is a step or two from the lowest grade in a system of eight or so grades (SFTGFOP-1 being the highest, and fannings being the lowest).

I also believe the name ‘Orange’ in Orange Pekoe is a reference to the House of Orange in the Netherlands, the country which first imported Chinese tea to the west in the 1600’s.

Are there any good ones? I have had good teas that are of the OP grade. It’s not a high grade, but neither is it a poor one. I think, depending on the context it is used in, the term is overused, and it may not really mean anything, unfortunately.

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There are good OP teas, you just aren’t likely to find them in tea bags or in a grocery store.

except for bop which is still quite good but a bit mute on the taste depending on the variety.

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Erin said

See, I’m not opposed to trying a loose leaf variety at all. I just want to find a decent one!

try out teas that are closer to whatever kinds you are drinking that is available in the loose leaf form then expand out words. I’d recommend English breakfast or an Assam variety.

I tried Stash’s Orange Pekoe teabag years ago, and it wasn’t bitter, but it was flat-almost tasteless. I don’t see it on their website anymore. I tend not to buy teas that call themselves strictly Orange Pekoe. I have bought Ceylon OP teas that are decent loose leaf teas.

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jessilee24 said

Not sure if you are interested in Teavana at all, but they do have a good Orange Pekoe on sale right now… Himalayan Splendor, details include “1st Flush SFTGFOP-1 ‘special finest tippy golden flowery orange pekoe’.” Sorry to be so excited about this one, but my husband is a plain black tea kinda guy and I just discovered this on sale and was pretty stoked.

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Teaotic said

This is from a paper I wrote a while ago:

Black tea is often graded by the Pekoe (pronounced peck-oh) system, which describes the size of the leaf. Contrary to popular belief, the term “Orange Pekoe” refers only to a size of leaf, not to a particular type of tea. This system is not a direct indicator of quality, although the leaf size often correlates with the taste and clarity of the resulting brew. The origin of the term ”Orange” in Orange Pekoe, the basic grade, is thought to derive from the Dutch royal House of Orange-Nassau. The grades are as follows:

OP (Orange Pekoe)
FOP (Flowery Orange Pekoe)
GFOP (Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
FTGFOP (Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)
SFTGFOP (Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)

FTGFOP” is also said to stand for “Far Too Good For Ordinary People” ;)

That last one’s a hoot!

Erin said

Ha! This is great :) Thanks!

Tina S. said

Ooh, this is a handy comment!

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