How to find the best tea(1)

I had written that the most important thing of picking the best tea is to try it out.
Are there any more specific selection criteria, and how to do it?

Yes! There is!

Picking tea is a wonderful journey, so we must make full use of our five senses to participate.

Look and Hear

As one of our most important sense organs, the eyes also play an important role in selecting tea.
We must observe from stepping into the tea shop and asking the master to introduce the tea they are most proud of.
Here are a few tips for judging:

How’s the storage method?

Check the packaging of the tea: is the packaging intact? Is the packaging material not deteriorated? No discoloration?
Are there any traces of moth-eaten? By observing the information on the outer packaging, you can know whether the tea is stored in suitable storage conditions.
If it is vacuum packaged, is the package compact? It is a good basis for judging to see the swelling caused by the air rushing in when the package is cut.
Is the tea shop owner willing to pour out a part of the tea for us to appreciate? If the owner doesn’t want to brew the tea directly, there may be doubts about quality.

I see the tea! How does it look? Is the overall state consistent?

First, observe whether there are tea buds. Tea buds are delicate tea leaves with lighter leaf colors.
Tea buds are easy to fade during processing, and the finished product is usually light yellow, and the white lines that are occasionally seen are leaf veins.
Except for tea products that are all picked from tea buds, the normal distribution rate of tea buds does not exceed 10% at most, usually around 3%. Depending on the picking season, some products have no tea buds at all.
But if it is a tea that emphasizes tea buds, such as Pekoe Oolong, high-grade black tea, high-quality Longjing, etc., having complete and tender tea buds is an important indicator of quality.
After confirming the tea buds, inspect other parts of the tea leaves. Is the color symmetrical? Is there any color of decay in the tea?
Tea leaves that have been spoiled by insects or improper work are usually dark red or black. Even if you look closely at black tea or dark tea, you can see the difference.
After confirming that there are no spoiled tea leaves, please observe whether the tea leaves have gone through a complete drying process.

Moist or Dry?

The moisture content of intact and dried tea leaves is about 3~5%.
The tea leaves below this range may lose some flavor due to being too dry.
Tea leaves with a moisture content above this range are weak in taste and prone to spoilage due to bacteria and fungi.
Incompletely dried tea leaves can be seen in the appearance of color difference, and you can notice that the leaves are softer if you pick up a leaf.
When seeing a piece of tea leaves that are not completely dried, it should be considered that the drying of the whole batch of tea leaves is incomplete.

Any cracking sounds?

If the tea leaves are too dry, you can hear the cracking sounds when the tea leaves are poured and moved.
This kind of tea has no risk of decay, though the flavor substances attached to the water have been lost due to lack of water, and it is not a delicious tea.

So far, I have introduced how to identify tea leaves by looking and listening.
In the following article, I will introduce how to use smell and taste to select tea.
Please keep following us and wish you have a good tea.