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  The varieties of tea available that is produced from Camellia Sinensis can be largely categorized into Green Tea, Black Tea and Specialty White Teas.

Black Tea and Green Tea
Although it is commonly assumed that black and green tea are produced from two different trees, they in fact come from the same tree. The difference in the two types of teas arises from the process of fermentation. During the fermentation process tea turns red and then eventually black when dried. Green tea in contrast is not fermented, but is heat-treated to retain its colour.

No records are available on how and why the process of fermentation was started. It is however possible that the process was developed to store and preserve tea more easily and retain it for longer periods of time.

While both green and black tea have their own distinctive tastes, black tea grew in popularity throughout the world. The number of ways in which black tea can be consumed are varied and has therefore resulted in it being preferred over green tea.

Terms describing the grading of selected black teas
Pekoe – a whole leaf black tea produced by a medium plucking of the second leaf on the tea bush. The word Pekoe is derived from Chinese, meaning ‘white hair’ and was originally applied to early tea pluckings, due to the white down on the backs of the young tea leaf.

Broken Orange Pekoe – (BOP) black tea comprising smaller leaves and broken segments with an abundance of tips. Can be applied to both Orthodox and CTC teas.

Broken Pekoe – (BP) full boiled black tea comprising broken segments of somewhat coarse leaf, without tip. Can be applied to both Orthodox and CTC teas.

Fannings – small grainy particles of leaf (1-1.5mm) sifted out of better grade teas. Fannings will produce a liquor that is often as good as that of a whole leaf grade – it is a grade which applies to both orthodox and CTC teas. In the orthodox teas, fannings will include broken orange pekoe fannings (BOPF) and golden orange pekoe fannings (GOPF), which describe the amount of tips in a grade.

Flowery Orange Pekoe – can be either whole leaf or broken leaf orthodox black tea with a lot of tip, which gives its finer quality.

Flowery Pekoe – a whole leaf black tea with the leaf rolled lengthwise.

Orange Pekoe – black tea comprising leaf 8 to 15 millimeters long which has fewer tips than an FOP.

Dust – the smallest particle of leaf size in both orthodox and CTC teas, which is normally used for tea bags, as they infuse quickly with the full flavour and strength coming through the tea bag material.

Terms describing the grading of selected green teas
Chinese Type Gun Powder Special – tiny particles of tea representing pellets. Generally having a smokey character in the cup.

Young Hysen – large particles of tea, approximately three times the size of Gun Powder.

Green Tea Fannings – similar to BOP Fannings, this particular grade is suitable for tea bags.

Sencha – long leaf tea which produces a delicate brew.
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