• Holly Harper

Wishing each and everyone of you a Merry & Bright Season! May this season bring blessings of joy, peace, good health, the love of family and friends. We am humbled by how well received TeaZehri is in our community and also the broader community of southern Alberta., and then Alberta, and then Canada and then globally. Thank you for your support. It is always a delight to me to have met people from so many different countries in the world; right here in our little town of Nanton. Many of you have chosen to stay connected to TeaZehri through this blog. We are grateful.

Enough said, it comes from my heart when I say May the Joys of the Season be with you now and all year through.

Peace Out!

  • Holly Harper

In today's Global Economy it is important that different cultures and countries be recognized for the products they produce and sell. Almost "ALL" teas are grown in developing countries. It is important that we acknowledge the fact that tea is a commodity for these countries. As such "Tea" is often sold in the same way as wheat, rye, canary seed & other agricultural produces avaliable on the world market. Or, it can be purchased ethically.

What's the difference:

Large retail companies may chose to purchase tons of tea from a given country using the commodities purchasing method. This results in that company getting great pricing. It would be nice if they passed those prices along to the consumer, but no they don't. What they maybe passing along to you is inferior tea. How so? Not to many questions get asked as to where in the country of origin is this tea being produced. We have all heard the horror stories of products being sold into our country that have been grown beside toxic waste sites, or garbage land fills. etc.

We are the difference:

We often get asked "Where do your Teas come from?" Answer, we choose to deal with companies that "only" chose to purchase Ethically Grown Tea." Believe it or not, these companies are few and far between. It was a choice "TeaZehri" made to ensure we are getting the best teas available in the world to "You", our consumer and valued customer.

Ethical teas are Estate grown only.

A company representative (from our wholesale company) goes directly to each estate.

Quality of the Tea is numero uno.

Fair employment practices must be in place.

Adequate housing must be available for workers and their families.

There must be access to education for the workers children.

And lastly the workers and their families must have access to good medical.

TeaZehri believes that developing countries must be respected for their export products and not taken advantage of. We expect that with our Canadian Export Products. These countries deserve that too.

Top 10 Tea Producing Countries

1. China (1,000,130 tonnes)

2. India (900,094 tonnes)

3. Kenya (303,308 tonnes)

4. Sri Lanka (295,830 tonnes)

5.Turkey (174,932 tonnes)

6. Indonesia (157,388 tonnes)

7. Viet Nam (116,780 tonnes)

8. Japan (88,900 tonnes)

9. Iran (83,990 tonnes)

10 Argentina (69,924 tonnes)

Loosen up and let your tea be free from a bag. The full flavor of good quality tea can only be truly appreciated this way.

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  • Holly Harper

You might be surprised to find out that Orange Pekoe tea is not Orange flavoured tea, the only part that you might associate in the name is the colour of the tea, which can range from orange to a reddish brown colour. Orange Pekoe is actually a grading term used in the tea industry; and so is Souchong, Congou, Flowery Orange Pekoe, Pekoe Souchong and more.

But what does it all mean? You ask?

Tea grading can be a bit confusing and complex, especially since there isn't a universal guide and grading systems can even vary between types of tea (like black and green teas for example). But for starters, most tea grading is often done by size of leaf, which also means what section of the Camellia Sinensis plant (or "tea plant") it comes from.

Here is a guide that explains each term and therefore, which part of the plant and/or size of the leaf it applies to.

Note that this guide outlines the grading system that is most widely used and applies to black teas, mostly from India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Europe. Another important fact to note is that some of these grading terms do not necessarily indicate quality; simply, they indicate leaf size and location on the plant from which the leaf is picked.

Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe: Abbreviated to FTGFOP. Considered to be the finest quality tea. Same as Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, but with finer flavour profile.

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe: Abbreviated to TGFOP. These tea leaves come from the very tip of the plant, there are often many leaf buds or "tips" as well as the newest and often the smallest leaves on the Camellia Sinensis plant. Has the highest concentration of leaf tips.

Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe: Abbreviated to GFOP. This grade of tea is similar to Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe grade tea but with a lower concentration of tips.

Flowery Orange Pekoe: Abbreviated to FOP. same as Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe but with fewer tips. there may be a few leaf buds or "tips" but not as many. Mainly just the top leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Orange Pekoe: Abbreviated to "OP". These are the next leaves down from Flowery Orange Pekoe leaves. A little bit larger but still relatively small.

Pekoe Souchong: The next grade of tea below Orange Pekoe. Mid-range sized leaves.

Souchong: Another mid-range leaf size. Found somewhere around the middle to lower half of the plant. Used to make Lapsang Souchong.

Congou: One of the largest grades. Fairly large leaf size, found in the lower half closer to the bottom of the plant.

Bohea: Largest grade. Quite large leaf size, found closer to bottom of the plant.

The first three grades are highly sought after as they are considered to have a finer flavour profile. It is believed by many that the tips and newly formed leaves of the Camelia Sinensis plant produce the best flavour and therefore are associated with higher quality.

Some of these grades also contain further "sub categories" or grades that indicate slightly different size or quality. For example OP1 denotes an Orange Pekoe tea with slightly more delicate, long and wiry leaves than a regular orange pekoe, that produce a light liquor.

Further grading can also be applied to tea by describing the "intact-ness" of the tea leaves. "Whole Leaf Grades" are described as above, however if the leaves are not entirely intact, they may be described as follows:

Broken: quite literally indicates leaves that have been broken. The term "Broken" or the letter B generally preceeds the above leaf size grades. For example, tea that is made up of Orange Pekoe grade leaves that are broken would be called "Broken Orange Pekoe" or "BOP".

Fannings: quite small pieces of tea leaves, generally used in tea bags.

Dust: very fine pieces of tea leaves, hence the term "dust". Also used in tea bags.

Fannings and Dust grade teas generally have the term "Fannings" or "Dust" (in the case of abbreviated terms the letters F or D) following the tea leaf size grade. For example, "Orange Pekoe Fannings" or "OPF" for short.

Other grading systems include:

China's Number Grading system: the finest teas are generally graded as 1 and the grades go as low as 7, 8 or even 9.

Japan and Taiwan's Grading System: Teas are graded from highest to lowest as follows:

Extra Choicest, Choicest, Choice, Finest, Fine, Good Medium, Medium, Good Common, Common, Nubs, Dust and Fannings.

Green teas are graded differently as well and there is no standard or uniform system for grading green teas. But the best tea, like black tea is considered to be the tea with the most leaf tips and buds. Some grading is done by how the tea has been processed or again the "intact-ness" of the leaves.

Whole Leaf Grades: Young Hyson (YH) and Fine Young Hyson (FYH).

Broken Leaf Grades: Gunpowder (GP) and Hyson (H).

Fannings: Fine Hyson (FH) and Soumea. Sometimes used in bagged tea.

Green Tea Dust is simply referred to as "Dust". Often used in bagged tea.

Sencha is a Japanese style tea that is steam and pan-fried and is considered to be a Broken Leaf variety as the processing involved in making the tea often naturally breaks the leaves apart.

Other tea varieties, such as white tea and oolong tea, may also be graded. But the criteria they are graded on varies from other tea varieties as well. They may be graded by where they are grown, the size of leaf and the location on the plant from which it was picked, the way it is processed, etc.

Whether you love black tea, green tea or any other tea in between you can find something you'll love over at our online shop, check it out.

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