Pretty Pekoe

Everything about tea is lovely, from the smell to the colour to the taste.

Hello dear reader. Today, I shall tell you a little something about Orange Pekoe tea. When I first heard about this tea, I thought it was some kind of exotic orange flavoured tea, and when I tasted it, I kept wondering why it did not taste like orange even a little bit. On further investigation, I found out that the name Orange Pekoe has nothing to do with the orange flavour at all.

Orange Pekoe is actually a term used in the tea leaf grading system used in the western tea trade. It is used to describe medium-grade black teas from Sri Lanka and India. The highest graded teas come from the new flushes of the plants that include the leaf bud and the youngest leaves, this is known as Flowery Orange Pekoe. The next is our Orange Pekoe, which includes the slightly larger leaves right after the first leaves. The bigger leaves are just termed Pekoe. The grading is based not just on the size but also the wholeness of the leaf, which means if a leaf is broken or bruised, it is a lower grade. There are other factors that influence the quality of the tea but the size and wholeness have the most effect on taste, clarity and time of preparation of the tea.

Loose Leaf Orange Pekoe Tea

Loose Leaf Orange Pekoe Tea

I must tell you, Orange Pekoe is one of the prettiest teas I have seen. Now I know that international brands like Twinings sell Orange Pekoe tea but the one I have is just local loose leaf tea. Even the processed, dried tea has a slight orange tint on some leaves. It has a brilliant fragrance that is slightly floral and very refreshing. The taste is light and mellow, the kind you would opt for if you were sitting down to work and did not want something heavy. Although it is pretty watery, that does not take anything away from the experience. And the colour is absolutely beautiful. It has the prettiest orange shade that makes this tea a pleasure to look at as well as to drink. For the benefit of clearly showcasing that beauty, I steeped my tea in a clear glass pitcher.

Pretty Pekoe

Pretty Pekoe

Just like green tea, I like to steep my Orange Pekoe in hot but not boiling water. I use a tea infuser to make my tea, but you could just as easily put your tea leaves directly into a pot of hot water and strain it out while serving. I like to leave mine to steep for about two minutes. Steeping in too hot water can make the tea bitter, so it should be avoided. However, if you aren’t fond of having your tea black and would prefer to sweeten it and add milk, you could definitely do that, but in that case you would need to let your tea brew in boiling water otherwise you can barely taste anything. I would, however, urge you to try it plain black and unsweetened at least once. The taste is just something entirely amazing on its own.

Tea steeped using a tea infuser

Tea steeped using a tea infuser

There you have it, my take on the pretty pekoe tea. If you like light and refreshing yet beautifully flavourful teas, I would recommend this tea. Try it, and experience it yourself. Until next time, dear reader.

All the love, T.

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