Tea leaf grading is the process of evaluating products based on the quality and condition of the tea leaves themselves.
The highest grades for Western and South Asian teas 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.
Whole leaf grades
Main grade, consisting of long wiry leaf without tips.
More delicate than OP; long, wiry leaf with a light liquor.
Bolder than OP; long leaf tea which ranges from tightly wound to almost open.
Orange Pekoe Superior
Primarily from Indonesia; similar to OP.
Flowery Orange Pekoe
High-quality tea with a long leaf and few tips, considered the second grade in Assam, Dooars, and Bangladesh teas, but the first grade in China.
Limited to only the highest quality leaves in the FOP classification.
Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
Higher proportion of tip than FOP. Top grade in the Milima and Marinyn regions, but uncommon in Assam and Darjeeling.
Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
The highest proportion of tip, and the main grade in Darjeeling and Assam.
Limited to only the highest quality leaves in the TGFOP classification.