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6 Super interesting things to know about Orange Pekoe (OP) tea

Ever heard someone claiming that they love Orange Pekoe tea? Or, perhaps you glanced at a tea packet labelled as Orange Pekoe Black Tea in your supermarket and became curious to know more.

Irrespective of what got you interested in this special kind of tea, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll be talking about Orange Pekoe Tea in detail and answering all your questions.

But before we begin, it’s important to introduce you to the concept of leaf grading. Do you know that all forms of Black Tea produced across the world are classified based on the type of leaves used to prepare the tea? This classification is done through standard labels knowns as Tea Grades.

Read - What are tea grades for Black tea and what do they mean?

Tea Grade determines the quality of tea based on a lot of factors like - the size of the leaf, type of tea leaves in the mix, the bloom of the leaves, aroma, taste and the colour of the final brew.

Comparing the size of tea leaves
Comparing the size of tea leaves

“Pekoe” is the highest grade of tea and has many further variations. Orange Pekoe is the finest among all of them.

As such, any “Pekoe” grade tea implies that the tea leaves are ‘whole’. Whole leaf tea is not broken or torn during production. However, the size of the leaves depends on plucking and processing.

1. What is Orange Pekoe (OP) tea?

Contrary to what the name might imply, orange pekoe is not an orange-flavoured tea. It isn’t associated with the orange fruit in any way. Orange Pekoe tea is simply the highest grade of black tea originating from Western and South Asia.

Orange Pekoe (OP) black tea
Orange Pekoe (OP) black tea

If you drink black tea frequently, chances are you’ve already had Orange Pekoe Tea a couple of times! But, you’d be wrong to consider black tea and orange pekoe tea to be the same.

Yes, all Orange Pekoe Teas are black teas. But the reverse isn’t true. To understand better, let’s look at the many types of this special tea.

2. Types of Orange Pekoe tea

Orange Pekoe (OP) Black tea is further classified into other tea grades.

When crushed to make bagged teas, the tea is referred to as "broken", as in "broken Orange Pekoe" ("BOP"). These lower grades include fannings and dust, which are tiny remnants created in the sorting and crushing processes.

Orange Pekoe (OP) tea leaf grading
Orange Pekoe (OP) tea leaf grading

Some variations of Orange Pekoe Tea include flowers, tips, and buds from the tea plant. They result in the finer qualities of Orange Pekoe Tea. A few of them are mentioned below.

  1. OP (Orange Pekoe) — is the main grade and consists of long wiry leaves without tips. This grade is further classified into OP1 (more delicate than OP), OPA (bolder than OP) and OPS (Superior OP from Indonesia)
  2. FOP (Flowery Orange Pekoe) — is long whole leaves with buds. Flowery tea consists of large leaves that are plucked in the second or third flush with an abundance of tips.
  3. FTGFOP (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) — is one of the finest grades of pekoe tea. Interestingly, the abbreviation also translates into Far Too Good For Ordinary People which is true)!
  4. TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) — is the main grade of Assam and Darjeeling tea and is called ‘Tippy’ contains the highest proportion of tips. ‘Golden Flowery’ refers to very young tips or buds (that are usually golden in colour) that are picked early in the season.

Despite a purported Chinese origin, these grading terms are typically used for teas from Sri Lanka, India and countries other than China; they are not generally known within Chinese-speaking countries.

All you need to remember is that if you’re drinking any type of Orange Pekoe Tea, you’re drinking one of the finest quality of tea in the world. Don’t take our word for it. Have a look at the many benefits of Orange Pekoe Black Tea.

3. What are the benefits of Orange Pekoe tea (OP)?

If you’re wondering what is Orange Pekoe Tea good for, then this list will give you a complete insight. Let’s begin.

Orange Pekoe (OP) tea
Orange Pekoe (OP) tea

Has High antioxidant properties

Orange Pekoe (OP) tea contains a high level of antioxidants known to provide plenty of health benefits. Consuming this tea helps in reducing free radicals and restore cell destruction in the body. This eventually may help diminish the possibility of diseases for eg. Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and asthma. It’s safe to say that it improves overall health.

An article published in May 2000 called “International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition” revels that Orange Pekoe black tea is rich in compounds called flavonoids. These flavonoids, or pigments, contain antioxidant properties shown to lessen the danger of conditions like heart condition and cancer.

Reduces the risk of heart-related disease

Flavonoids and polyphenols in Orange pekoe tea also benefit the heart. Consuming this tea regularly may help reduce many risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels, and obesity.

The small study concluded that those who drank three cups of Orange Pekoe black tea per day had an 11% reduced risk of developing heart disease. Adding Orange Pekoe tea to your daily routine is an easy way to include antioxidants into your diet and potentially reduce your risk of future health complications.

Helps in  reducing LDL cholesterol Levels

Orange Pekoe (OP) tea plays a beneficial role in reducing cholesterol levels.

The human body contains two lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body. They are abbreviated as LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (High-density lipoprotein)

LDL is considered the “bad” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol to cells throughout the body. Meanwhile, HDL is considered the “good” lipoprotein because it transports cholesterol away from your cells and to the liver to be excreted.

When there is too much LDL in the body, it can build up in the arteries and cause waxy deposits called plaques. This can lead to problems like heart failure. Studies have found that consuming Orange Pekoe black tea may help reduce LDL cholesterol.

Improves gut health and immunity

The gut contains trillions of bacteria, as well as 70–80% of your immune system. The type of bacteria in your gut plays a significant role in your health. Some of these bacteria are beneficial for your health, some or not.

Research states that the type of bacteria in your gut may play an important role in reducing the risk of certain health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even cancer.

The polyphenols found in Orange Pekoe black tea may help maintain a healthy gut by increasing the growth of good bacteria and eliminating the growth of bad bacteria, such as Salmonella.

In addition, Orange Pekoe tea contains antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful substances and improve gut bacteria and immunity by helping repair the lining of the digestive tract.

A cup of Orange Pekoe tea
A cup of Orange Pekoe tea

Helps in reducing high blood pressure and prevention of Diabetes

Orange pekoe tea helps in treating type-2 diabetes. The number of people affecting high blood pressure is increasing worldwide. It plays an important role in regulating the blood sugar level in patients.

A small controlled study looked at the role of Orange Pekoe tea in decreasing blood pressure. Participants drank three cups of tea daily for over six months. It led to the results that those who drank Orange pekoe black tea had a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Prevention of cancer

The antioxidants and polyphenols present in Orange Pekoe tea help in preventing cell mutations that cause cancer. It is also analyzed that the Orange Pekoe tea may help overcome the spread of hormone-dependent breast tumours. Study says it helps in regulating and controlling the growth of cancer cells.

Eliminates the risk of strokes

Studies have found that drinking Orange Pekoe tea may help reduce the risk of stroke. A stroke can occur when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked or ruptures. It’s the second leading cause of death worldwide.

The survey followed 74,961 people for over 10 years. It found that those who drank four or more cups of Orange Pekoe black tea per day had a 32% lower risk of stroke than those who did not drink tea.

Controls blood sugar levels

Orange Pekoe tea is a great non-sweetened beverage that can help improve the use of insulin and reduce blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted when you consume sugar. If you consume more sugar than your body needs, the excess sugar gets stored as fat. Elevated blood sugar levels may increase your risk of health complications, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and depression.

Researchers concluded that several compounds in tea were shown to improve insulin levels, specifically, catechin called epigallocatechin gallate.

Improves alertness and focus

Orange pekoe tea can help improve focus due to its content of caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine. This amino acid increases alpha activity in the brain, which can help improve focus and alertness. L-theanine increases alpha activity in the brain, which helps in relaxation and better focus. Many individuals report more stable energy after drinking tea, compared to other caffeinated beverages like coffee.

Fights intestinal infections

Orange Pekoe tea has antimicrobial properties that help fight bacteria.

According to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, drinking Orange pekoe black tea slows the growth of harmful oral bacteria, helping to prevent mouth infections such as strep throat and dental cavities.

An article published in "The Indian Journal of Medical Research" in July 2005 noted that tea leaves are known for their antibacterial activity against many microorganisms. This study showed that Orange Pekoe tea is effective in slowing the growth of certain dangerous bacteria.

4. Does Orange Pekoe (OP) tea have caffeine?

The quantity of the caffeine in tea will change according to the growths and particularly to the drying and ageing of the leaf, but all green, black, brown, white teas from Camellia Sinensis contains caffeine. The level of caffeine in Orange Pekoe tea is medium.

Orange pekoe tea contains around thirty-four mg of caffeine per 6 cups of tea. Tea has around thirty-four mg, whereas coffee black tea incorporates a negligible quantity of caffeine.

5. How to make Orange Pekoe (OP) tea?

Not only Orange Pekoe tea is good for you, but it’s also quite simple to make. Just follow the below-mentioned steps to prepare a well-brewed cup of Orange Pekoe (OP) Black tea.

Orange Pekoe (OP) Black tea from Ceylon
Orange Pekoe (OP) Black tea from Ceylon
  • Makes sure that fresh, pure, cold-filtered water is used.
  • Firstly, boil the water. If using store-bought tea bags, simply add a tea bag to a mug and fill it with the hot water.
  • If using loose leaf tea, use 2–3 grams of tea leaves for every six ounces(3-4 cups) of water in a strainer.
  • Let the tea steep in the water for 3–5 minutes, depending on your taste preference. For a stronger tea, use more tea leaves and steep for a longer period.
  • After steeping, remove the tea leaves or tea bag from the water and enjoy it.

6. Where can I buy Orange Pekoe (OP) tea?

If you’re looking to buy some high-quality Orange Pekoe Tea, then you’ll find plenty of options to choose from at Teakruthi. Let’s walk you through some of our most loved Orange Pekoe black tea.

teakruthi's Organic Orange OP Black tea
teakruthi's Organic Orange OP Black tea
  1. Organic Orange — this light flavoured black tea is from the region of Dimbulla that is known for its amazing high grown teas. This organic OPA Black tea consists of long and bold leaves that give a light flavour and a light colour creating a mellow tea for those with a sensitive palate.
  2. Wild Monsoon — dark gold in colour, this tea is mild, malty, and fine, this Orange Pekoe Black tea tastes like adventure. Wild Monsoon blend is from the Southern province of Sri Lanka in the Ruhuna tea district.
  3. Southern Malt — this low grown tea has been hand-plucked from the southern part of Sri Lanka, where the unique composition of the soil makes it particularly special in taste and colour. This blend is considered one of the finest broken orange pekoe teas.
  4. Royal Midlands — this medium grown blend is malty, fresh, slightly tart, and strong. It’s a Broken Orange Pekoe One (BOP1) grade tea which has a wiry, medium-length leaf that provides this blend its malty flavour. The leaves are plucked from our plantations in the small town of Pussallawa in the Kandy District, the ancient capital of Sri Lankan royalty.

You can browse through the complete range of teakruthi’s Orange Pekoe (OP) Black tea here.

References

  1. Other Healthy Beverage Options - Tea and Coffee - Harvard School of Public Health — www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/other-healthy-beverage-options/
  2. The anti-oxidant potential of green and black tea - US National Library of Science and Medicine — www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10945114
  3. Black Tea for the prevention of Cardiovascular Disease - US National Library of Science and Medicine - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10945114
  4. Synergistic antimicrobial activity of tea & antibiotics - US National Library of Science and Medicine — www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16106094
  5. Black Tea Polyphenols Inhibit Tumor Proteasome Activity - US National Library of Science and Medicine — www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3310370/
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