Loading... Please wait...

Grades of Tea

Give some time to understand the grades of tea and they'll give so much more back to you. Get good grades and you'll go far in life!


The larger the leaf, the lighter they brew and the longer you can infuse

If you think about it, the surface area being exposed to hot water from 2.5g of large leaf tea is considerably less than the surface area from 2.g of a very small, fine grade of leaf. For this reason the hot water is extracting the colour and strength from a smaller grade leaf a lot faster than a large leaf.

This is why the grade of tea in teabags is traditionally what is known as 'Dust & Fannings', a very small grade. It's still from the same leaves as a larger grade of tea but it has been rolled into smaller parts and sorted through sifters to separate it from the larger leaves.

Don't fall for the same mistake many people make and think that just because it's a very fine particles of leaf that it's lesser quality (or heaven forbid the terrible myth that used to go around about sweepings off a factory floor!). The size of the leaf has nothing to do with quality, it's the growing, production and packaging fresh after production that determine quality. You'll commonly find both good and bad quality large/loose leaf teas just as you can get good and bad quality teabag teas. Unfortunately it's much harder to find high quality teabag teas because the competitive nature of major supermarket chains have driven quality down from many of the major suppliers over the years who have cut corners on production to reduce their costs up against squeezing margins. Dilmah stands by traditional tea production and fights against the commoditization of tea. We produce both specialist loose leaf grades for hospitality and boutique retail as well as high quality fine leaf grades destined for teabags. Our teabag teas are arguably better than many 'boutique' tea brands selling average quality tea in pretty packaging for three times the price.

If you infuse dust & fannings (small grade) for 5 minutes in freshly boiled water you'll find it very strong and astringent... if not slightly bitter. That's why teas such as Dilmah Premium Ceylon Teabags from the supermarket take milk so well.

However if you infuse a large leaf 'Orange Pekoe' grade for 5 minutes (the grade has nothing to do with the fruit but originates from the Dutch House of Orange who coined the term)... then you will have a good full bodied black tea less astringency that can be quite easily enjoyed without milk, as it should be to appreciate the fine nuances of the tea.


Low Grown (dark black) Orange Pekoe 1

High Grown (Browner) Broken Orange Pekoe

High Grown (browner) BOP Fannings
Low Grown (Dark Leaf) Dust 1 
Dust grade is smaller again than Dust 1