Domenico said

Darjeeling tea classification (EX , SPL, TPY, etc)

Hello everyone, I could use help…
Does anyone know the meaning of the letters: EX, SPL, TPY, CH, DJ, used next to the name of darjeeling tea?

Thank you very much :)

5 Replies
moraiwe said

When Darjeeling teas are sold, they are graded by size and quality. The grades fall into four basic groups: whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings, and dust.

In decending order of quality:

WHOLE LEAF Darjeeling Tea
SFTGFOP: Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (SFTGFOP) indicates that it contains many tips and are long and wiry in appearance. The tea liquor is lighter in color, but this depends on the Darjeeling tea season.

Other whole leaf grades are:
FTGFOP: Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP).

FTGBOP: Fine Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe (FTGBOP) Darjeeling Tea leaves are smaller in size and are graded in decreasing order of quality.

Other broken Darjeeling Tea grades are:
TGBOP: Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe.
FBOP: Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.
BOP: Broken Orange Pekoe.

GFOF: Golden Flowery Orange Fannings (GFOF) Darjeeling Tea leaves are still smaller in size than the brokens and are graded in decreasing order of quality.

Other Darjeeling Tea fanning grades:
GOF: Golden Orange Fannings.

D: Dust

CH is China, SPL is Special, CL is Clonal

Hope that helps!

Domenico said

Thanks for the informations !

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Moraiwe gave you the traditional grades of Darjeeling. The letters you are referring to are other/additional commercial designations which are used by sellers or estates. The EX is extra and SPL is special; EX SPL is extra special. There is also SUP for supreme. It’s not uncommon to see something like FTGBOP SPL. CH stands for teas from Old Chinese seed bushes which are said to have a special taste. There is also CL for clonal. Many of the estates are replacing old bushes with these new new clonal bushes. DJ is just the abbreviation for any darjeeling tea, there are a number of classifications like DJ 1 DJ 03 denoting different qualities. DJ is also the abbreviation and station designation code for the Darjeeling railway station in India Rail Schedules.

Domenico said

You gave me a great help, this is just what I was looking for :)
Thank you very much!

Teaotic said

Old post, but appears high on Google results, so I might add some corrections. The Pekoe grading system is about leaf size only, not quality, although larger leaf size of course often correlates with higher quality. But, for example, TGFOP leaf from stellar material would still brew a superior cup to STGFOP1 leaf from poor material.

And, numbers like DJ 01, DJ03, EX 12, etc are not actually part of the Pekoe (leaf size) grading system, but rather “invoice” numbers used by an estate, denoting the particular batch of tea. Lower numbers indicate earlier harvest, but EX batches are I believe harvested prior to DJ. Limited edition invoices might include different letters. Decent retailers include year/invoice numbers for transparency.

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