What is Orange Pekoe Tea?

If you have ever drank orange pekoe tea or seen it in the stores, you might first think it has something to do with oranges the fruit. However, it has nothing to do with this and it isn’t orange flavored either.

The orange in the name of this tea refers to the Dutch Royal House of Orange-Nassau, a huge empire and trade partner with Europe and China. They wore orange to represent their empire, therefore orange is include in the tea’s name. The word pekoe itself is Chinese.

It also relates to a specific grade, origin and age of the tea leaves, as this is a form of black tea that comes from the camellia Sinensis plant.

To be considered pekoe tea it has to be made up on only using the plant’s buds as well as its youngest two leaves. It is broken down into several grades, to include flowery orange pekoe, golden flowery orange pekoe, tippy golden flowery orange pekoe, and finest tippy flowery orange pekoe.

Orange pekoe: This grade is made up of the tea’s long and wiry leaves, yet the tips are not included. It is categorized in several ways to include OP1 (a delicate, pale liquor), OPS (comes from Indonesia) and OPA (a stronger variety).

Flowery orange pekoe: This grade is made up of the tea’s long leaves, and is harvested during the plants 2nd or 3rd flush, to include the buds.

Finest Tippy golden flowery orange pekoe: This is the premium grade and consists of its gold colored tips.

Tippy golden flowery orange pekoe: This tea is normally in varieties of Assam and Darjeeling tea and has lots of tips and buds.

When orange pekoe tea is processed it is done after the leaves wither, then they are rolled, heated and fermented, which is also part of the oxidation process. Though it is a form of black tea, the leaves are harvested at a much younger time than regular black teas. Young tea leaves are less bitter.

How to make Orange Pekoe Tea

For brewing orange pekoe tea, you first should heat your teapot prior to steeping the tea leaves. You have to be careful not to steep it longer than five minutes or it can get bitter. You can choose to add a sweetener or milk or lemon as desired.

Benefits of Orange Pekoe Tea

Orange pekoe tea has several worthwhile benefits to the health, just as all varieties of black tea does. These benefits are due to it containing polyphenols, alkaloids, amino acids, flavanols (quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol), and theaflavins (these form whenever you oxidize tea leaves).

A 2019 study showed the participants drunk two to three cups of this tea daily and had less outbreaks of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. It also was seen to possibly help inhibit the growth of certain kinds of cancers.

A 2015 study showed black teas could also be good for lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, improving brain health and fighting infections.

A 2016 study also showed black tea may help drinkers to lose weight, as well as improve the way the body deals with glucose and insulin.

Other studies have shown black teas help heart health. One such study in 2001 looked at endothelial dysfunction, a systemic disorder where endothelium, which is the blood vessel’s inner lining, doesn’t work properly and it causes coronary artery disease.

In a group of 66 patients half got 15 ounces of water and half got the same amount of tea. The group was followed for a month and drank 30 ounces a day of either water or tea. The tea drinkers were able to reverse the disorder.

Helps boost antibiotic functions – One study by Indian scientists in 2005 showed black teas could be used in concert with antibiotics when treating intestinal issues. They tested treating issues like Salmonella, E. Coli, and Shigella dysenteries and used the tea along with antibiotics like gentamycin, methicillin, and chloramphenicol.

Fights free radicals – This tea is known to help stop cell damage and reduces the presence of free radicals, which can cause issues like dementia, asthma or cancers.

Reduces LDL cholesterol – LDL is the bad cholesterol in the body and if there is too much of it then the arteries may clog up with plaque.  Studies showed drinking orange pekoe tea can help lower LDL in the blood.

Good for the gut – Polyphenols in this tea are thought to help drinkers have a healthy gut because it helps raise the level of good kinds of bacteria and stops the growth of bad bacteria. It also has antimicrobial properties which assist in boosting the immune system and repairing digestive tract lining.

Prevention of some cancers – As mentioned earlier, orange pekoe tea drinkers also benefit from the prevention of some kinds of cancer, to include hormone related breast cancer tumors.

Helps boost focus and alertness – Since it has caffeine in it as well as L-theanine, an amino acid, it heightens the level of alpha brain activity. This makes someone more alert and focused. It is shown to do a better job of this when compared to drinks with caffeine like coffee.


All in all, orange pekoe tea is a variety of black tea made from a special grade of whole, not crushed leaves. It is a tasty drink that also can help improve certain health issues in those who drink it regularly.

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