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Tea Leaf Grades

The final stage in the tea process is the sorting, or grading, of the leaf. As the leaf particles emerge from the dryers or ovens, they are passed through sifters with graduated mesh sizes to divide them into different-size pieces. Experts make their classification, not according to quality or taste, but by the appearance and type of the pieces of leaf. However, the finest grades almost inevitably also give the finest quality. The two main divisions are "leaf" grades and "broken" grades, the leaf grades consisting of the larger pieces that are left after the broken grades have been sifted...