Types of Tea

Types of Tea


There are three types of tea: Green, Oolong and Black. These are the result of the tealeaves being processed in any one of three different ways (unfermented, partially fermented, or completely fermented).

Green tea

This is made by steaming green tea leaves to stop oxidation, rolling the leaves to express flavor and then heating them to dry.

Black tea

This is made by drying the green leaves in a process known as "withering" so the leaves become oxidized (also known as fermented), rolling them, and then applying hot air to stop the oxidation process.


Also known as red teas take after the black teas in that they are prepared the same way, but with a shorter drying period so the leaves are not as oxidized, or fermented


Tea grading is one of the most complicated and misunderstood subjects. It is often misunderstood because of a number factors.

Fanning 1(F1)-Forms about 3-4% of the production. This is a mixture of black tea and large amount of smallish cut fibres often sifted out of the primary grades. The teas are quite useful in tea bags due to its quick brewing, strong flavour and good colouring qualities.



  • Broken Pekoe 1(BP1)-Forms about 12-14% of the total production and has the largest size particles. Liquors are light in colour but have an encouraging flavouring characteristic.
  • Pekoe Fanning 1(PF1)-Forms the bulk of the production about 58-60% and made up of black grainy particles slightly smaller than the BP1.
  • Pekoe Dust (PD)-Forms 10-12% of the production, often black and finer than the PF1 and has thick liquors and aroma.
  • Dust 1(D1)-Forms about 4-6% of the production and is made up of the smallest particles and characterised by strong liquors.


  • Dust (D)-Made up of tiny bits of broken leaf often used to brew strong tea.
  • Broken Mixed Fanning (BMF)-Fibrous lots with very little trace of black teas.


  • Pekoe (P)-Is the largest of the leaf grades with thinner liquors as compared to smaller grades. Demanded more for its attractive appearance than for the cup quality.
  • Flowery Pekoe (FP)-Is neater and more even than the pekoe, it is curly and free of stalk and flaky leaves, commands a higher price due to its brighter and cleaner liquors.
  • Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP)-Contains amount of Tips that contribute to the flavour and the attractive appearance. Has a clean cup but demanded more for appearance than the liquors.
  • Orange Pekoe (OP)-Fancy looking containing very tightly rolled leaf resulting to very attractive twisted and wiry appearance. However contains no tips and is thin and light in liquors.
  • Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP)-Contains good amount of tips, smaller particles and is sold for both its appearance and good cup qualities.
  • Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning (BOPF)-This contains the smallest of all grades and has a rapid brewing properties and gives a good strong flavour and coloury liquors.
  • Dust (D)-Contains the smallest particles and influenced by its appearance. In a cup, it produces strong coloury liquors.


These are not oxidized. They are withered, immediately steamed to prevent oxidation and then rolled and dried. They are characterised by a delicate taste, light green colour and are very refreshing. Some green teas however, can be quite pungent with a surprising amount of body to the cup.

The primary difference between green and black teas is that Green teas are not allowed to go through the fermentation process, which causes teas to turn black during the drying process.

The green Orthodox will produce similar orthodox grades as indicated above while the CTC green teas processing will produce the same CTC grades as above.


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Kenya Chamber of Commerce
Federation of Kenya Employers
International Tea Committee

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