Saturday, 3 July 2010

meditative power of tea? my ass...

The meditative power of tea drinking? My ass...

Thought about that this morning when I was trying to get everything settled/prepared for my mother's visit. Needed to make tea quickly before the dogs lost their cool. Started the day with pure Java Santosa, which I wrote about a few days ago in relation to black tea blends. The leaves of the Java Santosa are medium-sized and have little light brown tips. When I buy Darjeelings, I keep reading about the FTGFOP marking at the end of a tea's name. I wonder if this tea from Java would pass the muster in India of being called an Orange Pekoe.

I rarely try to be very educational here, but I will go ahead and impart a bit of knowledge. I assure you it happens very rarely, but you know that already. This rating (the letters after a tea's name) has to do with the quality of the tea. The Darjeeling that I usually drink has FTGFOP at the end of it, and here's what it means: Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.

When you look at some black teas, you can see little red/light brown tips on the tips of the leaves. That's where the tippy and golden come in. Orange Pekoe is used cavalierly and is endlessly confusing what it really means. Many people in the tea industry just mean that it's a black tea with a certain size of leaf. Some people just use Orange Pekoe to describe any black tea.

When I was in school, we could order Orange Pekoe tea in the cafeteria in the dorm, and it was nothing like the loose-leaf teas I talk about here. Just because you see OP at the end of a tea label, doesn't mean it's good. The letters that precede the OP are what matter.

Enough of my attempt to teach you anything. That's why God invented you could go there instead of here. I've already steamed though the above-mentioned pot of Santosa, and another pot of Margaret's Hope Darjeeling, which you must've noticed I really like. And before I packed my bag to go watch Germany play Argentina, I polished off a pot of Japan Sencha Fudji, which is certainly not the name I'd buy it under in Japan. Only for the German market. I need to find out what this Sencha is really called.

That's for another day. Hope you're enjoying the weekend wherever you are. As much as I like the sunny weather, part of me wishes I could be sitting with you Aussies through the long winter nights. Soon enough, right? Soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. I've been slowly working on an article on grades of's quite a crude article at this point...

    Frankly, I find the whole grading thing annoying, and their naming scheme (and the abbrevations) quite absurd. It's about as counterintuitive as it can get.