Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

Hello, Does the tea leaf size after you steep the tea an indication
of quality of the tea batch? I've noticed some greens I have have
big full leaves. Some are mostly broken particles.

For example, I recently bought some Sencha from an Asian mart, and
although it tasted very good, I noticed from my Ingenuitea infuser
that the leaf particles were small and broken, it seemed. (so much
for Asia Marts)

Since I'm new to brewing loose leaf tea (especially greens), I have
limited experience. So I ask the tea community if this is normal, or
should I always look for full leaf sizes and bigger particle sizes.
And not to promote websites, but which ones sell fresh and new season
teas.

thanks so much and just a note to say I enjoy this forum very much.

Bernie

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Hi Bernie,

It really depends on the type of tea itself. While Chinese greens
tend to have fuller leaves, sencha will usually have a lot of small
particles-- it's not just your store. It's just a result of different
processing methods, as far as I know, and doesn't necessarily mean
that one is better than the other. If, hypothetically, you had a
large number of different batches of long jing (or some other Chinese
green) there may be a general correlation between leaf fullness and
quality, but it's more of a trend than a rule. Teaspring.com is a
fairly reputable source of Chinese greens; and o-cha.com, hibiki-
an.com, and zencha.net are good sources of Japanese greens (like
sencha). Hope this helps!

-Brent

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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

Hello Brent, Thanks for replying.

Thanks for the info on Sencha. I will continue to enjoy my new
Sencha. I guess I get a bit confused because I since discovering
loose leaf green tea, there is so much more to tea than I expected.
There are smells, tastes, appearance, and brewing methods of tea, that
makes it a continuous learning experience. I guess one can never know
the real "quality" of the tea but has to base it on their own
experiences, which I'm working on, and forums like this.

I guess in a perfect world, we would all have the best quality tea.
But one can only do with what he or she has, learn from it, and share
their experiences.

Thanks again

Bernie

On Sep 20, 8:29 pm, Brent > wrote:
> Hi Bernie,
>
> It really depends on the type of tea itself. While Chinese greens
> tend to have fuller leaves, sencha will usually have a lot of small
> particles-- it's not just your store. It's just a result of different
> processing methods, as far as I know, and doesn't necessarily mean
> that one is better than the other. If, hypothetically, you had a
> large number of different batches of long jing (or some other Chinese
> green) there may be a general correlation between leaf fullness and
> quality, but it's more of a trend than a rule. Teaspring.com is a
> fairly reputable source of Chinese greens; and o-cha.com, hibiki-
> an.com, and zencha.net are good sources of Japanese greens (like
> sencha). Hope this helps!
>
> -Brent



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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size


Tea Sunrise wrote:
> Hello Brent, Thanks for replying.
>
> Thanks for the info on Sencha. I will continue to enjoy my new
> Sencha. I guess I get a bit confused because I since discovering
> loose leaf green tea, there is so much more to tea than I expected.
> There are smells, tastes, appearance, and brewing methods of tea, that
> makes it a continuous learning experience. I guess one can never know
> the real "quality" of the tea but has to base it on their own
> experiences, which I'm working on, and forums like this.
>
> I guess in a perfect world, we would all have the best quality tea.
> But one can only do with what he or she has, learn from it, and share
> their experiences.
>
> Thanks again
>
> Bernie
>
> On Sep 20, 8:29 pm, Brent > wrote:
> > Hi Bernie,
> >
> > It really depends on the type of tea itself. While Chinese greens
> > tend to have fuller leaves, sencha will usually have a lot of small
> > particles-- it's not just your store. It's just a result of different
> > processing methods, as far as I know, and doesn't necessarily mean
> > that one is better than the other. If, hypothetically, you had a
> > large number of different batches of long jing (or some other Chinese
> > green) there may be a general correlation between leaf fullness and
> > quality, but it's more of a trend than a rule. Teaspring.com is a
> > fairly reputable source of Chinese greens; and o-cha.com, hibiki-
> > an.com, and zencha.net are good sources of Japanese greens (like
> > sencha). Hope this helps!
> >
> > -Brent


Bernie,

I grew up drinking black tea with milk and sugar from tea bags, but
good ones ;-) like Red Rose and Tetley. I later eliminated the milk,
then the sugar, as my tastes "matured". A special treat was Twinings
loose tea. My parents are Scottish, and this is the way the Scots
usually enjoy their tea.

Fast-forward to last year. I took a six-class course (two hours each)
at Seven Cups here in Tucson. Each class was devoted to a particular
type of tea (white, green, oolong, scented/flavored, red/black, and
puer). I had never heard of puer until then. Anyway, in a short time I
went from being someone who poured boiling water over a tea bag to
someone who measures the tea leaves (by eye), gauges the water temp
(usually by feel/time, but sometimes with a thermometer), watches
infusion time, etc.

Yes, there are a lot of variables in tea-making and tea-brewing, and
thousands of varieties. The fun is in exploring and finding out what
you like and don't like.

BTW: sencha is also called "spider leg" because of the shape of the
leaves. They're supposed to be somewhat broken.

Alan

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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

Alan, that is so weird you mentioned Seven Cups, because I just
watched those videos (I think there were 3 of them) on their site. I
liked that the couple was truly into tea, and were excited about
sharing their information. thanks for your experience. That class in
Tucson as well as that Tea Shop sounds so wonderful. It's definitely
worth a visit next time I'm in that area.

Bernie



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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

On Sep 20, 8:55 pm, Tea Sunrise > wrote:
> Hello Brent, Thanks for replying.
>
> Thanks for the info on Sencha. I will continue to enjoy my new
> Sencha. I guess I get a bit confused because I since discovering
> loose leaf green tea, there is so much more to tea than I expected.
> There are smells, tastes, appearance, and brewing methods of tea, that
> makes it a continuous learning experience. I guess one can never know
> the real "quality" of the tea but has to base it on their own
> experiences, which I'm working on, and forums like this.
>
> I guess in a perfect world, we would all have the best quality tea.
> But one can only do with what he or she has, learn from it, and share
> their experiences.
>
> Thanks again
>
> Bernie
>
> On Sep 20, 8:29 pm, Brent > wrote:
>
> > Hi Bernie,

>
> > It really depends on the type of tea itself. While Chinese greens
> > tend to have fuller leaves, sencha will usually have a lot of small
> > particles-- it's not just your store. It's just a result of different
> > processing methods, as far as I know, and doesn't necessarily mean
> > that one is better than the other. If, hypothetically, you had a
> > large number of different batches of long jing (or some other Chinese
> > green) there may be a general correlation between leaf fullness and
> > quality, but it's more of a trend than a rule. Teaspring.com is a
> > fairly reputable source of Chinese greens; and o-cha.com, hibiki-
> > an.com, and zencha.net are good sources of Japanese greens (like
> > sencha). Hope this helps!

>
> > -Brent


leaf quality tells a lot about the tea. Just to be clear, a very high-
grade sencha should have nice large leaves. They will be pressed flat
and in fairly thin strips but they should be predominantly long. It
may not be quite like other teas in that you have huge, full, perfect
leaves but there is a definite difference in grades. That being said,
try as many as you can. Low-grade, mid-grade, and if you can or even
just a sample from an online dealer a very high-grade. It is the best
way to understand and appreciate the different Japanese green teas.
Hibikian, o-cha, etc. are all good places, but there is nothing
inherently wrong with your local market either. I tend to enjoy the
mid-grade Japanese greens (bancha, sencha, and gyokuro) and treat
myself to some fresh high-grade greens in smaller quantities. Even a
box of Hime brand Bancha for $3-4 is a great place to start and a
large step up from teabags or expensive brand-name loose teas from
boutiques.

We've all started out in the same place you are right now. The
journey, exploration, and knowledge is all part of the enjoyment and
never forget the most important part: If you enjoy it, it is a top
tea. That's why my little gold/yellow tins of Sunflower brand jasmine
green site right next to hand-produced jasmine green direct from the
producer in my cupboard. You'll find your tastes will change and what
is the top right now may become the very bottom in a few years, but
that doesn't matter and should never stop you from enjoying the
adventure.

- Dominic
http://teasphere.wordpress.com

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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

Tea Sunrise

I am glad you find Sevencups useful. I have never ordered from them,
but just looking at the info and prices, they look the most authentic
to me, above the other mentioned ones.

I am treading sandy ground here as I have never systematically tested
them, so don't take it as a recommendation from me.

The following applies only to Chinese green tea, and not to Sencha of
which I know nothing of.

Yes, when it comes to green tea, size is important. The general
assumption is younger the tea shoots, the higher the grade.

You can see some pictures of tea shoots over here.

http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/xihu-longjing.html

Tea shoots generally are smaller than tea leaves. The Chinese tend to
grade it as a % of a fully matured leaves.

So a high grade leaves will usually be one bud with 0 to 2 slightly
unfurled leaves. (i.e. the leaves are hardly opened)

Whereas oolong tea may be 1/3 to 1/2 the size of fully matured leaves.

Back to green tea in the realm of tea shoots...

High quality tea shoots tend to be fairly (but not overly) complete
(not fragmented) and uniform (but not overly so, as it would then be a
fake).

The youngest tea shoots (picked earliest spring) tends to be the
fattest. So here you have a case where they are the youngest but
slightly larger (fatter) than later pickings.

But leave the tea buds a few days longer and they will get quite
large, and corresponding lower quality.

This is a generalisation of the small-variety Chinese plants.

Into the realms of different varieties of Chinese green tea ...

Biluochun is usually the case of smaller the better ... When grading
they into account of age and size.

Longjing is usually age, well, that is my tea garden practice anyway.

TPHK is made from Shi Da Cha (the big variety) which is exactly the
opposite (stouter, larger, the better). But they are still harvested
really early (first 20 days in spring only).

But TPHK is not typical of Chinese green tea. This type of Chinese tea
is found only in Anhui province.

In summary, age is usually the determining factor.

When looking at external appearance, we look at size, fattiness,
aroma, uniformity, PROPORTION of buds and leaves, how open the leaves,
and to much smaller extent tea liquor colour/brightness are etc.

All these factors can give indication of age.

There is another page of materials here

http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/gre...arvesting.html

But there most important thing is TASTE - it is the only thing that
doesn't lie.

If you don't mind, can I post your question and this discussion to my
site? I will love to share the discussions with my visitors.

Hope it helps.

Julian
http://www.amazing-green-tea.com

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>
> If you don't mind, can I post your question and this discussion to my
> site? I will love to share the discussions with my visitors.
>
> Hope it helps.
>
> Julianhttp://www.amazing-green-tea.com


I absolutely do not mind. Thanks for a such a great response.


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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

On Sep 21, 4:48 am, juliantai > wrote:
> Hope it helps.
>
> Julianhttp://www.amazing-green-tea.com


Just to clarify, I was speaking about Japanese teas such as Sencha as
the OP brought up. Sencha should look like a nice pile of fresh blades
of grass. Verdant green, with the majority being nice long blades. It
won't look like a full leaf but the pieces will be long and the
majority unbroken. A lot of Sencha consists of small blades 1/8"-1/2"
and broken bits and dust, it doesn't mean it is inherently bad but the
better quality Sencha's I've had are full of 1-2" blades with little
to no dust or broken pieces. They flow almost like silk and are not
rough, over-dried, dull green/brown blades and pieces. That is
probably the best quick and dirty explanation I can give.

Check out o-cha's website for a ton of info, guides, and even video on
Japanese green teas for more info. I agree that all of that changes
with Chinese greens which are more about the buds and different
processing styles. The Bi Lo Chun I just received from Teaspring is
very tight little spirals (snails) and unfurl into beautiful, almost
impossible, full leaves. One would never guess that full leaf is
hiding in that little curled bit just from sight alone. Chinese greens
are a different animal altogether and there are no hard and fast rules
that apply to all of them.

- Dominic
http://teasphere.wordpress.com

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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

I agree with brent on this, chinese tea tend to have full leaf while
sencha tends to have broken leaves. I experience this with all my
sencha so far.




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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

My experience here with green tea is that the softer the leaf feel the
higher the quality of the lea leaf which after reading Julians report
on th eyounge leaf it makes sense. I dont belive the size of leaf has
been an attraction of mine, i have had some fine japanese sencha where
the leaf is very small yet the tea is incredible. one sign in my
opinion of poor quality tea is that if you have an aftertaste in your
mouth after drinking the tea. This I am told is from poor
manufacturing methods. finally a good qulaity can very easily be
contamimated or loose its quality if there is air leaking. In my
opinion if you cannot put your tea storage system under water for a
few minutes then its NOT AIR TIGHT hope that he;ps
maurice
www.tea-junction.com

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On Sep 21, 8:29 am, Brent > wrote:
> Hi Bernie,
>
> It really depends on the type of tea itself. While Chinese greens
> tend to have fuller leaves, sencha will usually have a lot of small
> particles-- it's not just your store. It's just a result of different
> processing methods, as far as I know, and doesn't necessarily mean
> that one is better than the other. If, hypothetically, you had a
> large number of different batches of long jing (or some other Chinese
> green) there may be a general correlation between leaf fullness and
> quality, but it's more of a trend than a rule. Teaspring.com is a
> fairly reputable source of Chinese greens; and o-cha.com, hibiki-
> an.com, and zencha.net are good sources of Japanese greens (like
> sencha). Hope this helps!
>
> -Brent


I agreed with Brent, Chinese green tea leaves have fuller leaves and
sencha ussually have small pieces in them. I have seen all my sencha
having small broken pieces.

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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

Sorry this has nothing to do with the thread due to my newsgroups
experience, but I replied to someone on the thread that they could use
my question on their website and it doesn't show on the thread.
Also, the thread says 13 messages and I can only see 10. Is it me or
am I missing something here. I'd post this question under Newbies or
something , but I thought this would be easier to get a response.
Thanks for your replies.





On Sep 22, 4:44 am, SN > wrote:
>
>
> i must....
>
> japanese has small ones
> ...
>
> chinese has big ones
> ...
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> tgfop.wordpress.com
> You can handle my gaiwan, but... be gentle.







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Default Green tea leaf particle and leaf size

On Sep 21, 8:00 am, Tea Sunrise > wrote:
> Hello, Does the tea leaf size after you steep the tea an indication
> of quality of the tea batch? I've noticed some greens I have have
> big full leaves. Some are mostly broken particles.
>
> For example, I recently bought some Sencha from an Asian mart, and
> although it tasted very good, I noticed from my Ingenuitea infuser
> that the leaf particles were small and broken, it seemed. (so much
> for Asia Marts)
>
> Since I'm new to brewing loose leaf tea (especially greens), I have
> limited experience. So I ask the tea community if this is normal, or
> should I always look for full leaf sizes and bigger particle sizes.
> And not to promote websites, but which ones sell fresh and new season
> teas.
>
> thanks so much and just a note to say I enjoy this forum very much.
>
> Bernie


Generally, and I didn't read the subsequent posts in this thread,
fuller/non-broken leaves can sometimes indicate if the tea was picked
and processed by hand or with the use of a machine. Usually, in
Chinese teas, if you have nice, full leaves, you have a better quality
tea. This isn't always the case.

With many Taiwan Wulongs, you can see how edge of the knife that cut
the stems of the tea and that it was processed by hand because of how
tender the leaves remain even after processing. Compare this to any
TieGuanYin and you can see a huge difference.

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On Sep 20, 6:49 pm, Tea Sunrise > wrote:
> Alan, that is so weird you mentioned Seven Cups, because I just
> watched those videos (I think there were 3 of them) on their site. I
> liked that the couple was truly into tea, and were excited about
> sharing their information. thanks for your experience. That class in
> Tucson as well as that Tea Shop sounds so wonderful. It's definitely
> worth a visit next time I'm in that area.
>
> Bernie


Bernie,

Zhuping and Austin are passionate about tea and they are very genuine
people. They would rather sell you nothing than sell you something
that didn't meet their standards. I feel very fortunate to have a tea
house like that here in Tucson.

Alan

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