What is Orange Pekoe Tea

January 26th, 2009

What is Orange Pekoe Tea

Many western countries use the term orange pekoe as a blanket term to describe any type of black tea. Actually, orange pekoe isn’t a type of tea. It is a term that is used for identifying qualities of black tea.


Orange pekoe is a commonly used grade of tea. There are seven higher grades of whole leaf tea, ending with the Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. This is the highest grade tea in the world.

Manufacturers grade teas on the size of processed black tea leaves. This system is called orange pekoe grading. This basic grading system identifies a certain length of black tea leaves and the flavor of the tea.

An orange pekoe is a leaf that has been unbroken. Black teas with an orange pekoe grade tastes woody and slightly bitter, with a strong fruity and floral aromas.

The Name

There is no orange flavor to teas graded as orange pekoe. This part of the name more than likely came from the name of the trading company brought the tea to Europe.

Pekoe more than likely comes from the Chinese words amoy or bai hwa, which describe the white characteristics of the leaves and the flowers.

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