Grade of tea
tea grading system
Tea grading is based on the size of the leaf and types of leaves included in the tea. leaf size is an important quality factory.
It is important to note that these classifications (or tea grading) varies from country to country. The most widely-used grading terms are the ones applied to teas produced in some countries, like Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Europe.
Why we should know this terms?
These terms don´t refer to sensory aspects of the tea –they don´t describe the body, texture or aroma of a tea- but give information about the appearance of the leaf that may be helpful when buying teas from a catalogue.
We know small pieces of leaf give stronger liquor than whole leaf teas. So if you are looking for a black tea to be used in a breakfast style blend, then you should go for a broken tea (look for the “B” in the grade). On the contrary, if you look for a mellow, soft and sweet black tea, one with high quantity of buds will provide such an experience, so pick the ones with an F or G letter. F stands for flowery –meaning that the tea has buds- and G stands for Golden -which denote a higher proportion of buds on the tea.
Leaf grades help to understand how the leaves look like and what to expect from them regarding strength, aroma, sweetness…All the information we can gather about the teas will be very useful when making a purchase or when starting a business. Very often tea purchases are made from a catalogue, by studying a long list of teas sent by the seller. The abbreviations, designations and grades previously discussed will help us get an idea of the appearance and style of the tea, but remember that to make a good purchase is advisable to request samples and cup each tea before buying.