A buzz has been going around the tea industry for a number of years now, claiming that Kenyan tea farmers have a new cultivar with something unique: purple leaves. All sorts of statements have been made about this new cultivar, so we looked into it a bit. As is often the case with tea, our hunt turned up both myths and realities. Part of the reality is that there are quite a number of other purple tea types out there. Continue reading
In the tea industry, tea leaf grading is the process of evaluating products based on the quality and condition of the tea leaves themselves. The highest grades are referred to as “orange pekoe”, and the lowest as “fannings” or “dust.”
Pekoe tea grades are classified into various qualities, each determined by how many of the adjacent young leaves (two, one, or none) were picked along with the leaf buds. Top-quality pekoe grades consist of only the leaf buds, which are picked using the balls of the fingertips. Fingernails and mechanical tools are not used to avoid bruising.
When crushed to make bagged teas, the tea is referred to as “broken”, as in “broken orange pekoe” (BOP). These lower grades include fannings and dust, which are tiny remnants created in the sorting and crushing processes.
Orange pekoe is referred to as “OP”. The grading scheme also contains categories higher than OP, which is determined primarily by leaf wholeness and size.
The 2017 white teas will be here soon! So, we here at JAS-eTea.com thought a revisit to the history of white teas would be nice. Like all true teas, they are made from the basic tea plant (scientifically known as Camellia sinensis) or one of its varietals, cultivars, or clonals. White teas are as much a part of the history of tea in China as any other. Today, other countries (like India) are produceing their own versions of these much sought after teas. They are so delicate and delightful that folks with the skills to process them in the correct manner are becoming very interested in marketing this tea type. Let’s talk some more about the history and the details of these beautiful teas. Continue reading