How To Select High-Quality Chinese Tea?
There are many types of Chinese tea which can broadly categorized under one of six
categories : RED, GREEN, YELLOW, WHITE, BLACK and OOLONG. Besides deciding on what type of tea to drink, based on one’s needs and tastes, one should also pay close attention to the quality of the tea. Judging the quality of a tea can be done by observing and identifying its four key elements.
After one chooses a tea that suits one’s needs and tastes, choose good tea, they should pay attention to distinguish the quality of tea, which can be from the shape of tea, the color and the aroma of dry tea. Other aspects to identify, conditional can also be brewed, smell its aroma, taste its taste, view its soup color and tea residue tenderness, color and so on.
There are four main aspects to judge tea.
- Appearance – This refers to both the shape of the tea leaves, the color as well as its appearance after it is brewed.
- Touch – The texture of the dry tea leaves can also indicate tea quality.
დ Shape of Tea Leaves
Different types of tea come in various shapes and forms. These could range between flat, needle, spiral, eyebrow-shaped, bead, spherical, hemispherical, curved, orchid-shaped, garland and so on so forth. Also, when the tea leaves are submerged into hot water, the swirling of the tea leaves in water looks like a graceful water dance and is very aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
Freshly picked tea leaves that are of high-quality are generally light green or dark green. High quality green tea tends to have a bright jade green color, while high quality Oolong tea has a grayish-green tinge to it. Bad tea leaves tend to have obvious black, dark spots on them. Older tea leaves will tend to have a non-uniform color and the leaves may have turned yellow.
დ Food Safety
Whether tea is safe for consumption relies heavily on whether the tea leaves, stalks, powder and seeds are mixed with any impurities such as bamboo chips, wood chips, lime, and sediments during the production process. A tea that is cleaned and processed properly will not contain any of these impurities.
Fresh tea usually have fresh aromas, especially if it is of a higher quality. For example, a fresh green tea will have a fresh, rich and sweet fragrance. The higher the quality of the tea, the stronger the fragrance will be. If you are unable to smell the tea’s fragrance, or if you smell something astringent (bitter/acidic), stale or burnt, it means that the tea’s quality is questionable.
High quality tea will taste refreshing and leave a sweet taste in one’s mouth. One can take a small sample of the tea to brew a cup for testing and observation. Green tea that is of superior quality will produce a drink that is clear and dark green. The tea leaves will first taste astringent, but will afterwards taste sweet, with a chestnut fragrance.
One can use one’s sense of touch to gauge the amount of moisture in the tea. A good tea is dry enough to be kneaded into a powdery tea. On the other hand, a tea that is not dry enough to grind into powder will spoil easily and is not of high quality.
If you do wish to purchase tea online, try to look for online retailers that offer information about where the tea is from, how it was processed, the people involved in the plantation process, and most importantly, when the tea was harvested.
We strongly recommend buying a smaller quantity if you are purchasing tea online from a particular source for the first time. You will also need to spend some time to try the tea, especially with about 100-250 g of tea and 3-4 brews. After all, if you are going to drink something every day and you are searching for something of good quality, it will take some time and effort to find “the one”.
The buying and selling process is after all, a two-way street. Good tea merchants will try their best to keep the quality of tea in check as they will want to have returning customers. On the other hand, good tea customers wish to have someone who can provide high quality goods to them.
Lastly, we would like to emphasize the fact that the price of tea doesn’t necessarily mean everything. If there are certain types of tea that are nice to drink but are way out of your price range, then they should not be considered as “good tea”.
Why do we say this?
According to the Chinese view on drinking tea, it should be an activity that allows you to relax, be at peace, and enjoy good company.
Feeling the pinch from the price tag of super premium tea, as well as any form of stress, if you cannot really afford it, goes against this school of thought.
This is why we highly recommend looking at mid-range teas that offer good value for money and taste almost as good. 🙂