Hello, all you tea drinkers out there! Are you a fan of black tea? Then you must have come across the term Orange Pekoe. But have you ever wondered why this tea is called “Orange Pekoe” and if it is associated with the Valencia orange fruit? Join me on a magical journey where we explore the story behind Orange Pekoe tea and clear up some misconceptions.
Orange Pekoe is a grading system for black tea that originated in China. They ranked it based on the quality and size of the tea leaves. The top-quality black teas are made from flushes, consisting of the two youngest leaves and the leaf bud. However, other factors affect the taste and clarity of the tea, such as the size and shape of the tea leaves.
Now, let’s talk about the name “Orange Pekoe.” There are two theories surrounding the origin of the term “orange.” Some believe someone named it after the Dutch Royal House of Orange-Nassau, as the Dutch East India Company played a significant role in bringing tea to Europe. The other theory is that “orange” refers to the copper color of a high-quality oxidized leaf before being dried or the bright orange color of the dried flushes in the finished tea.
While “pekoe” is crucial in tea grading, it has nothing to do with its flavor profile. In fact, it refers to the unopened leaf bud present in flushes, which is considered the highest quality tea. The term “pekoe” originates from the Chinese dialect word for “white hair,” which refers to the tiny white hairs present on the unopened leaf buds.
On a side note, have you ever wondered why Orange Pekoe tea is often served with milk? It’s because of its strength and flavor profile, which can stand up to adding milk without being overpowered. However, it’s essential to note that the quality of the tea leaves plays a vital role in the overall flavor of the tea, regardless of whether or not it’s served with milk.
There you have it, folks! The story behind Orange Pekoe tea is fascinating and complicated, but now you know the truth behind the name. Don’t let the name fool you; Orange Pekoe has no association with the Valencia orange fruit. So, next time you sip on a freshly brewed cup of Orange Pekoe, remember the story of tea grading and the Dutch East India Company, but most of all, enjoy the exquisite taste of this quality black tea!