Saturday, March 23, 2013

Orange Pekoe Tea

Orange pekoe tea is a black tea.
 It refers to their size and not to the flavor or color of the tea.
Black tea is passed through a series of sieves and graded by size.
Orange pekoe is the name given to the largest tea leaves.
The leaves are generally long and wiry and contains no tips.

The inclusion of the word “orange’ in the phrase has at least two possible origins.
It may have been related to the Dutch royal house of Orange-Nassau.
The Dutch were the first to bring tea to Europe.
 Thus the forming the Dutch East India Company long before the British had a hand in the tea trade. The word “orange” may be an attempt to associate the tea grade with royalty.

A second and possible explanation is that it may have referred to the color of high-quality tea leaves after oxidation and prior to frying.
 It might also have applied to the color of some black tea leaves after frying.

The origin of the word pekoe is also vague.
It seems to have something to do with the downy white fibers
 resembling tiny hairs on young tea leaves and buds.
However, much of the orange pekoe tea doesn’t contain the buds.
The buds are known as tips.
Orange pekoe tea that contains many buds is also designated with the word “tippy”.

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