One of the most frequently heard and misunderstood terms in the tea world is “pekoe.” Whether you pronounce it “pea-ko” or “peck-o” it all means the same thing – a particular grade of loose leaf black tea. Black teas are graded by both the location of the leaf on the plant (the closer to the tip the better,) and the wholeness of the leaf after processing. The tea industry has an entire alphabet soup of terms and abbreviations to describe these in detail. (You can learn much more in this Wikipedia article than we have space to cover here.) So when you see something like FBOPFEXSP, never fear; it’s just Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings Extra Special tea.
Orange Pekoe, or OP for short, is a basic medium grade black tea. When brewed, its liquor is an orange-amber color. OP is just tea: it does not contain any orange peel, fruit, or juice. However, it does often serve as the base tea to which fruits and spices of all kinds are added. At Leaf Teahouse, we feature several OPs from Sri Lanka, including Super Pekoe — a malty,strong and highly caffeinated tea, and and a more mellow New Vithanakanda Extra Fancy Long Leaf OP (pictured).