Ian Bersten wrote:If someone tells you that BOP is a better tea than some other grade ask for proof. If they give it to you, you know they a fraud. Size grading relates to size not quality.
Technically you are absolutely correct. And technically a CTC tea is not inferior in quality to a whole leaf tea. You CAN chop up silver needles into little pieces and the "quality" of the tea will be the same. That said, it is rather uncommon. BOP teas are usually a lower quality of tea. Two common reasons are 1) they often include more than just the top leaf or two and unopened bud, and 2) whole leaf teas sell for more and so the best leaves go into whole leaf teas.
I'll offer an analogy to demonstrate my point.... you CAN find a hamburger made from top quality prime beef. That said, the vast majority of hamburgers are made from lower quality cuts because ground beef will sell within a relatively narrow and relatively low price range whereas cuts of Sirloin, Filet or Ribeye will sell for a premium.
At the end of the day, whole leaf teas are more difficult to pick, more difficult to process, and are rarer. Because of this they are more expensive. The best tasting teas tend to be the newest leaves. The moral of the story is that in the real world there is a strong correlation between whole leaf teas and quality. But the correlation is not absolute. Moreover, if you're looking for a strong brew that stands up well to milk and sugar you are probably better off with a BOP regardless.