Teacher Page

  • Colombia

    Our Colombian teas grown at 6700 feet just outside Bitaco in the Andes Mountains and hand-picked from one of the 375,000 plants in this field.

  • Kenya

    Our once in a lifetime Purple Tea is grown and hand-picked on a small farm in the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya.

  • Nepal

    From the verdant hills of Hile, Dhankuta our Nepalese tea is grown and hand-picked on a small farm at an altitude up to 7200 feet.

Tea Classification

Bottom Line Up Front

What do the letters and words following the name of a tea mean? As an example of a first-flush Darjeeling, Singbulli DJ-12-SFTGFOP1-Clonal-Superb

- Singbulli is the name of the plantation

- DJ12/19 means it's the 12th harvest of the year 2019.

- The letters SFTGFOP1 refers to the appearance of the dry leaf. The grade FTGFOP stands for "Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe". This means it's a whole-leaf tea with plenty of tips or buds.

- Then Indian producers have added a S "Super". Only Indian producers use the grade SFTGFOP1. And the 1, well we're still searching for that definition.

- A better, more commonly used meaning of FTGFOP, amongst tea drinkers is "Far Too Good For Other People".

What about the types

The classification of teas does not depend on the amount of tannins but the extent of oxidation and if the leaves are wilted.

Oolong is tea which is partially oxidized, while black and pu-erh are both fully oxidized (which is what makes it black and brown in color, just how a banana peel turns brown over time or when bruised: oxidation at work). And again the difference between black and pu-erh tea is that pu-erh tea is fermented.

Since all tea leaves come from the beautiful camellia sinesis plant, all tea leaves have the same amount of caffeine in the leaves. But it is the level of oxidation that determines how much of the caffeine permeates into the water and how much the leaves retain the caffeine.

Since white is unoxidized it releases little caffeine but if you were to eat white tea leaves you might get more caffeine than from a cup of black tea. For this reason, a cup of matcha, Japanese green tea crushed into a fine powder, has more caffeine than black tea or even an espresso shot despite being green tea.

Our teas are not the same as those you'd buy at the grocery store in jugs or bottles. We would recommend using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar or artifical sweeteners.

Then what is Orange Pekoe

We've all read the packages of the grocery store tea and noticed Orange Pekoe. Orange Pekoe is a grading system from India that defines the quality and size of tea leaves. Contrary to what most of us thought, it is not a flavor or type of tea. Pekoe is a translation of the Chinese term Bai Hao (meaning white tip). The name Orange comes from the Dutch House of Orange was used to signify the quality of the tea was met with royal approval. The word tea comes from te in the Amoy dialect of Southern Fujian since that is where the Dutch were importing their tea from with the Dutch East India Company long before the British had started drinking tea.

Grades vs. Quality

The lowest grades of tea are what is typically used to fill tea bags. While not an ideal cup of tea, they do provide a larger surface area which allows the water to pull color and flavor out of the leaf more quickly.

This is IMPORTANT to note. The grade has little to nothing to do with the actual quality of the tea. In general, more letters equate to a better tea but you can have a poorly made SFTGOP and a very well done OP.

Some farms may add numbers if they feel that it was a particularly good lot. Teas harvested prior to the official first flush are marked with an EX. The leaves from this harvest tend to be a bit more yellowish in color but not necessarily lower quality.

The names of the cultivated variety may also be provided. These are developed and cloned for emphasis on specific traits like drought hardiness and bring the character to the teas. The most common of these in Darjeeling is AV2.

Glossary of Tea Grading Terms

SFTGFOP - Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe

FTGFOP - Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe

TGFOP - Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe

TGBOP - Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe

FBOP - Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

BOP - Broken Orange Pekoe

GFOF - Golden Flowery Orange Fannings

GOF - Golden Orange Fannings

D - Dust

How to Make Your Tea

The amount of tea to be used (by
volume) varies from tea to tea because each tea has varying densities. Ideally,
use The Perfect Tea Spoon for the best cup of tea or use 1 tsp
per 8-ounce cup for light tea and 1 tsp plus for strong tea. Please remember
though you need more for large leaf tea. Always use a dry spoon. Green teas, with a few exceptions, tend to taste bitter when made strong. The cardinal rule
in making black tea is to use near boiling water (212 degrees F), not just
hot water. Right at the boiling point is when the oxygen within the water is at
its greatest level. The exception to this is Darjeeling First and Second Flush
teas which are steeped at 190 degrees F because they are less oxidized. You
may have to use slightly less than boiling water for Green Tea
which can be accomplished by letting the kettle cool for about 3 minutes.

If the tea leaves were to remain
in the pot, the tea would get stronger and become bitter; therefore, the leaves
need to be strained out and can be reused for a 2nd and 3rd
steeping. The flavors will change through each steep.


We only use Ceylon leaves in our mixes. Most
companies use the cheaper China black teas. The type of Ceylon tea we use has
been carefully chosen for its flavor and color. In so doing, we also found that
the output of tea per pound is very high. As an example, you may only need 2-3
teaspoons of our blended or flavored black teas to make a 20 oz. pot of tea. We
advise you to explore your tea but not everyone likes it too strong. These
teas are best when made light. Even the best teas can be ruined by making it
incorrectly and even the worst tea can be made to taste better by making it
correctly. If you have read this far, you are well on your way to making
excellent tea.