The term “Orange Pekoe” is used to describe the largest grade of tea leaf, and is not an indication of quality but rather the size and appearance of the leaf.
There are several stories that attempt to explain the origins of the name.
One explanation for the “Orange” in the name comes from the Dutch Royal House of Orange-Nassau.
According to the story, the Dutch East India Company, which played a significant role in bringing tea to Europe, may have marketed the tea as “orange” to imply a royal warrant.
Another story attributes the name to the copper color of certain high-quality, fully-oxidized teas.
The term “Orange Pekoe” is also attributed to Sir Thomas Lipton, who is believed to have popularized the term in the Western world.