First of all, there are hundreds way to classify and grade tea; each country would grade tea a little bit different from each other. What I’m about to show you is the standard that is accepted in most tea-grown countries in the world like Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, etc. In this series, we will be going through each type of tea and how we classify them.

Usually, tea would be graded based on 2 main factors: origin of plantation and processing technology. Origin of plantation is often divided into 3 categories:

  • High Grown
  • Low Grown
  • Big tea estates (Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Tuyen Quang, Phu Tho, Lam Dong, etc.)

Depending on where the tea is grown, it will heavily affect the flavor of the tea, color of the water, aroma of the tea, etc. Typically, high grown tea has a honey golden liquor that is light and considered to be one of the best tasting teas around the world due to its well-defined flavor, aroma and strength. Low grown tea has a burgundy brown liquor and a flavor which is rather strong. However, this is not always true as low-grown tea often get taken care of better, thus producing a higher value tea. As for tea from big estates, they all have a different terrior, therefore, different flavor. Only highly experienced tea masters would be able understand clearly these tea in order to use them in their tea blends.

Another way the tea is graded and classifed is through the processing technology. For black tea, 2 main way of processing tea is orthodox and CTC. Here is how these 2 process are different from each other:

Orthodox:

Fresh tea leaves Plucking – Withering – Roll – Fermenting/Oxidation – Drying – Sorting – Storage/Packing

CTC:

Fresh tea leaves Plucking – Withering – Rotorvane  –  Crush/cut – Tear – Curl – Fermenting/Oxidation – Drying – Sorting – Storage/Packing

In simplest term, CTC tea is a more fermented version of orthodox tea through the process of crush and cut.

Finally, at the end of the process, they are graded based on the appearence of the tea. Below is the grading system that we use in our company (and also many others in the world):

  • FGC Grading System
    Orthodox:

    • OPA, OP, PEKOE, BOP, FBOP, PS, BPS, Fannings, Dust, etc.
  • CTC:
    • BOP, BP, PF, PD.

To understand more about tea blends and which to choose for your tea brands, visit: https://vietnam-tea.com/