Orange Pekoe Black tea is one of the most famous Ceylon Black Tea types. Not only is it very nice on its own, but it is also wonderful for blending other tea types, such as the legendary Earl Grey Tea! Let us discover all about Orange Pekoe tea!
Ceylon Black Tea. History and geography
The history of Orange Pekoe tea started in 1824 when the first camellia sinensis trees were brought from China by the British to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
Given that the Sri Lankan climate was extremely favourable for growing tea leaves, British botanists thought that it was a good idea to develop tea cultivation in Ceylon, and new tea trees were brought there in the late 1830s from Indian provinces, such as Assam and Calcutta.
That is why nowadays; not only camellia sinensis, but also camellia assamica is grown in Sri Lanka. Since the 19th century, only black tea has been produced in Sri Lanka, and this country takes the 4th place in yearly tea production, following India, China and Kenya. About 300,000 tons of tea are produced every year in Ceylon.
There are 4 regions of tea production in Sri Lanka, which are the following:
- Dimbula, where most of Ceylon Black Tea is produced
- Nuwara Eliya, which is famous for its very full-bodied tea
- Uva, situated in the South-East of Sri Lanka. Due to the high altitudes, the tea produced there is of an exceptional quality
- Kandy – this region is also situated in very high altitudes, therefore the tea from there is very fine.
95% of Sri Lankan tea is exported. However, given that tea is one of the most popular drinks in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankans are great tea addicts. An average Sri Lankan consumes about 1.2 kgs of tea per year! Most of the tea produced in Sri Lanka is Orange Pekoe Black Tea.
Orange Pekoe Black Tea. Etymology and Grades
Due to the presence of the word “orange” in its name, many people mistakenly believe that this tea may contain orange flavouring. However, surprisingly enough, Orange Pekoe tea does not contain any flavouring at all.
This tea type owes its name to the copper colour of its tea leaves. When the tea leaves are fully oxidised, the orange colour appears. Another unusual characteristic of Orange Pekoe Black Tea is the fact that its leaves contain small “hairs”.
Orange Pekoe Black Tea varies in quality, in accordance with many factors, the most important of which are the production region and the altitudes at which this tea was produced. Therefore, we will give you some grades by which Orange Pekoe Black tea is usually evaluated.
These grades are based on the evaluation of Orange Pekoe Black tea. However, they apply to most black tea types. Therefore, these criteria are often used for evaluating other tea types, such as Assam Loose Leaf tea and Fine Darjeeling tea.
Orange Pekoe Black Tea. Blending
Orange Pekoe tea is very well known on its own. Additionally, it is often used for blending different other tea types.
For example, Orange Pekoe Black tea is one of the main components of English Breakfast Tea. Besides, it is also one of the teas used for blending the legendary Earl Grey Loose Leaf tea! There are also rarer tea blends for which Orange Pekoe Black tea is used, such as the Monk’s Blend, or Orange Spice Tea.
Orange Pekoe Black Tea. Tasting traditions.
As mentioned earlier, the Sri Lankans are truly mad about tea. They consume, on average, about 1.2 kgs of tea per person. However, they do not have any particular tea tasting traditions.
Provided that Orange Pekoe Tea is a very strong tea type, it is most commonly consumed with a dash of milk. However, for those who prefer strong black tea, it could also be a good idea to drink it on its own.
Orange Pekoe Tea Benefits
Like many black tea types, Orange Pekoe Black tea has a number of health benefits, which include a high content in antioxidants, mostly polyphenols, which is crucial for cancer prevention.
In addition, Orange Pekoe Black tea, like many other Loose Leaf Black Tea types, contains a lot of flavonoids, that are essential for your heart health. First of all, they tend to stabilise your blood pressure, which greatly reduces the risk of a stroke.
Besides, the flavonoids contained in Orange Pekoe tea reduce the oxidation of LDL (or “bad”) cholesterols, which is also crucial for your heart health and general wellbeing.
Moreover, Orange Pekoe black tea contains a lot of tannins that are responsible for a number of health benefits of this tea type. For example, thanks to the tannins, Orange Pekoe tea is brilliant for your digestive system. In addition, these elements also tend to reduce inflammation.
Finally, Orange Pekoe is a strong tea, so it contains quite a lot of caffeine, i.e. about 40-50 mg per cup. That is why it is excellent for your brain health. This tea type will help you concentrate, and to keep your brain alert. In addition, it is likely to improve your memory.
However, the amount of caffeine contained in Orange Pekoe Black tea, albeit considerable, is much less important than that contained in coffee. An average cup of espresso contains about 5 times more caffeine than a cup of Orange Pekoe Black tea. Therefore, drinking this tea will definitely do you no harm!