What is the difference between black tea and Orange Pekoe black tea?

2024-01-31

The term "Orange Pekoe" (OP) refers to a grade of black tea and does not indicate any specific flavor or the addition of orange flavor to the tea. Instead, it is a classification system used in the tea industry to categorize the size and quality of tea leaves.

Refers to any tea that is fully oxidized, resulting in a dark color and robust flavor. Black tea is a broad category that includes various grades and types of tea.

Orange Pekoe (OP): Orange Pekoe is a grading term used in the Western tea tradition to classify whole, large tea leaves. Contrary to common misconceptions, it has nothing to do with the flavor or the addition of oranges; instead, it refers to the size and quality of the tea leaves.


Can be made from various leaf sizes, including broken leaves (BOP - Broken Orange Pekoe), whole leaves (OP - Orange Pekoe), or smaller particles (CTC - Crush, Tear, Curl).

Orange Pekoe (OP): Specifically refers to whole, unbroken tea leaves. The term does not indicate a specific flavor but rather the quality and size of the tea leaves.


The flavor profile of black tea can vary widely depending on the specific type, region, and processing methods. Common flavors include malty, earthy, fruity, and sometimes floral notes.

Orange Pekoe (OP): Being a grade rather than a type of tea, Orange Pekoe does not dictate a particular flavor. The flavor will depend on the specific black tea variety and its origin.


A general term used to describe fully oxidized tea leaves. Examples include Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon, and Keemun, each with its own unique characteristics.

Orange Pekoe (OP): Used as a grade in the Western tea market to indicate high-quality, whole-leaf black teas. It is often associated with teas from regions like India and Sri Lanka.

In summary, "Black Tea" is a broad category that encompasses fully oxidized teas of various leaf sizes and flavor profiles. "Orange Pekoe" is a specific grading term within this category, indicating high-quality whole leaves without implying any specific flavor or the addition of oranges to the tea. The flavor of both black tea and Orange Pekoe will depend on the specific type and origin of the tea.