Orange pekoe (/ˈpɛkoʊ, ˈpiːkoʊ/), also spelled pecco, or OP is a term used in the Western tea trade to describe a particular genre of black teas (orange pekoe grading).Despite a purported Chinese origin, these grading terms are typically used for teas from Sri Lanka, India and countries other than China; they are not generally known within Chinese-speaking countries. The grading system is based upon the size of processed and dried black tea leaves.
The origin of the word “pekoe” is uncertain. One explanation is that it is derived from the transliterated mispronunciation of the Amoy (Xiamen) dialect word for a Chinese tea known as “white down/hair” (白毫; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pe̍h-ho).This is how “pekoe” is listed by Rev. Robert Morrison (1782–1834) in his Chinese dictionary (1819) as one of the seven sorts of black tea “commonly known by Europeans”.This refers to the down-like white “hairs” on the leaf and also to the youngest leaf buds. Another hypothesis is that the term derives from the Chinese báihuā “white flower” (Chinese: 白花; pinyin: báihuā; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pe̍h-hoe), and refers to the bud content of pekoe tea.