The Quality of Teas
Quality of teas
There are no good or bad teas, it is a personal taste, bitter, sweet, strong, mellow. It’s endless.
The best Teas are quite different according to the harvest
High grade green teas – the best harvest is done before April 4th, always. Mihg jian teas are the purest with small buds that give a very tender taste being mild, sweet and with a long and aftertaste. The younger the bud the more expensive the tea. The availability of these fine teas is very limited as the harvest volume is small. They are also very fragrant and they must be stored at all times in cold temperatures; in a few days of warmth they will lose their prime qualities. Please bear in mind that there are over 1000 catalogued Green Teas, the most important ones being; Long Jin / Dragons Well from the Si Hu Region in the Zheyjian Province; Mai Feng from The Huang Shan, Anhui Province ; Bilo Chun from the Jiansu province.
The Green Tea Harvest
All Good Green teas are harvested from March to April 4th , all the teas thereafter are considered of inferior qualities. Also unlike other teas – good green teas are only from the Spring and Autumn harvest. The very strict tea connoisseur would only drink Green Teas from the Spring Harvest, when they are considered to be of Premium quality.
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Green Tea Compared to Matcha
Green Teas cannot be compared to Matcha Teas as they differ in all the basic traditional ways that Chinese and Japanese drink teas. Teas in the traditional form must be savored with the leaves. And to watch them blossom inside the cup is very much central in the Art of Tea drinking.
High grade puerh Teas – these are just the opposite of green teas. The best Puerh teas are the older ones, from trees that are 800 – 2000 years old. The older the better, These teas are stocked in cellars and some are as much as 20 to 50 years old. The older Puerh teas are more expensive. A high grade Puerh will have a clear, soothing taste and deep aroma. Genuine Puerh Teas must come from the Yun Nan Province.
The Tea Harvest
One point that is common to all teas is the altitude of the harvest. The improvement of flavour is well documented and professional tasters are all in agreement with this fact. What is not understood for certain is what causes the improved flavour on a biochemical level. Empirically, one could say that the highest mountain trees grow leaves that will have a better taste as the air is cleaner, the moisture levels are higher and the soil is less contaminated. One thing is for certain, the leaves grow more slowly so that probably gives them a greater length of time to develop a more complex flavour than their low altitude, faster growing counterparts. These superior quality teas from higher altitudes are also more expensive for a variety of reasons. The yield is lower as they are slow growing and good terrain for planting the tea tree is limited. It is inevitably more difficult to harvest these teas and more labour intensive. These all contribute to push up the prices. Pickers are usually paid by weight of leaves picked and so prefer to pick first thing in the morning as the extra moisture content makes their harvest weigh more. The best time to harvest though is around the middle of the day as that has the opposite effect and the flavour is more intense.
Treat yourself – try some high grade green tea now.