TEA LEAF QUALITY
When describing the size of tea leaves and their origin, a term called OP, or Orange Pekoe is used. This term has nothing to do with the taste of orange. Rather, Orange refers to the Dutch noble House of Orange-Nassau, which brought tea to Europe during the 18th century. While, Pekoe refers to the top bud of the tea plant. To be classified as Orange Pekoe, the tea must be composed purely of the top two leaves and bud of the tea plant.
Our tea bags are comprised of fuller tea leaves of the Flowery Orange Pekoe grade or higher resulting in a smooth, rich flavor yet without the astringency you may find in most teas.
Tea Leaf Quality Matters
After being picked, tea leaves are placed in meshes to sort out their sizes. Fuller leaves stay in the top meshes while broken or crushed leaves (“Broken Orange Pekoe”) fall to the bottom. The tiny remnants of the sorting and/or crushing process result in fannings (because they are ”fanned” away) or dust (swept from the bottom). Because the surface area of these particles are smaller, tannin (natural in tea) is released quicker (after 1-2 minutes) often resulting in a bitter or astringent taste.
A larger leaf has a broader surface area and thereby can be steeped longer before tannin is released (3-5 minutes).
This results in a fuller, smooth flavor. 90% of tea bags are made of dust or fannings while Numi tea bags are made of more premium quality tea leaves.