• HOME >
  • How to choose quality tea

Tips on Tea Quality Inspection

[2013.03.21] Posted By

green tea in taiwan

There are many ways to judge the quality of tea. Among all, I would like to introduce one method: to check the unrolling speed of brewed leaf. The high quality leaf unroll very fast, while the poor quality leaf takes a long time to unroll, or sometimes it does not perfectly unroll. I would like to explain why this phenomenon occurs.

Nitrogen boost the growing speed of tea

Regardless of tea or other agricultural plants like fruit and vegetable, the plants must grow slowly in order to produce thick, smooth and strong after taste. The natural plant does not grow as fast as the artificial plant. If you look at the natural plant, you may notice that the colour of leaves is not very green; it’s yellowish. If nitrogen-based fertilizer is added, plant grows quickly. When plant grows faster, it forms more cell walls and the cells become bigger. It also forms other necessary constituents, e.g., the quantity of chlorophylls increase and leaf becomes green in colour. When leaf grows excessively, the tea leaf becomes bigger size not because it increases the number of cell, but the size of cell. Eventually, tea leaf contains very less constituents, and the tea processed from the big leaf tastes very light and flat.

My father used to tell me about the same story regarding his apple. He said that there were a number of farmers who applied a lot of fertilizers in order to make the apple grow bigger and increase the output. In fact, it is very easy to tell if apple is grown with a lot of fertilizers. Its taste becomes very thin, watery and less body.

Tea grown next to the fertilizer

There is fertilizer right next to the tea tree

On the contrary, the tea grown under the harsh environment without fertilizer or pesticide produces very small leaf; leaf is thick, elastic and yellow in colour. Despite tea leaf is so small, it consists of a huge number of tiny cells.

natural farming tea garden
The garden managed follow the natural farming method

 

The dark green and large leaf

One of the processing steps of tea is rolling. After the rolling process, there is a noticeable difference between large-dark green leaf and small-yellow leaf. The large leaves are easily cracked as each cell is too big. If the cells are so big, it is mechanically weak. It is just like a building with pillars that are too long.

tea tree

The that is grown with a lot of fertilizer. The dark spots on the ground is the organic fertilizer.

On the contrary, the naturally grown leaf is very elastic and strong as it consists of a huge number of tiny cells. The cells of small leaf never get cracked no matter how much it is rolled. In fact, big tea leaf is very weak even when it is fresh; it easily cracked when I rolled it on my palm. As for the yellow and small leaf, it is very elastic and strong. I can hardly crack it and it’s like a rubber.
Besides, the elasticity of tea leaf is related to the amount of dust generated during tea processing. If tea leaf has a huge number of tiny cells, it generates very less dust during processing. Most of the tea leaves remain intact due to its elasticity.

Tea grown without fertilizer

Tea grown with the natural farming in Yunnan

The leaves on the left: grown with a lot of fertilizers

You can see many broken leaf. (The one on the right is the last year crop. So please ignore that the colour of leaf is slightly more yellowish)
You can see that for the leaf on the right, there is no broken leaf, thick and looks so elastic; its quality is much better than the tea on the left.

The cell wall of poor tea is cracked during rolling process. When it is brewed, it does not unrolled swiftly since it is cracked. It takes a long time to unroll or sometimes it doesn’t fully unroll even after several brewing. The cracked leaf cannot reverse just like it is no use crying over spilt milk. As for high quality leaf, once the hot water is poured onto the leaf, it unrolls briskly to its original leaf shape. This is one of the important indexes to observe the quality tea.
The only exceptional is the heavily-roasted tea. Regardless of high or low quality tea, the leaf takes a longer time to unroll as it has been deeply-heated during baking.

Related Articles

How to get the latest update on HOJO Tea?

1. Follow Twitter, 2. Click "Like" on Facebook, and 3. Subscribe in newsletter. You can have the latest tea news from HOJO Tea.

Subscribe the Newsletter to enjoy the privileges
You may receive a free sample upon purchase, or you may have the priority to purchase special products. So please remember to subscribe our newsletter as well as the social network.
  •                 

HOJO TEA Online Shop NEWSlist

We have released the Flower of Ancient Tea Tree
We have released the Flower of Ancient Tea Tree. This is the fresh tea flowers hand-picked from old tea trees of ancient tea gardens. The tea garden is totally sustainable, with natural farming practice and no pesticide or fertilizer at all. The tea garden is located at altitude of 2000-2200m in the western part of …
Limited Sales of Single Tree Raw Pu-erh,White and Black tea 2019
We have released Single Tree Pu-erh Tea 2019. Literally, the single tree tea is harvested and processed only from one single tea tree. Each single tree tea is sourced from the high mountain in west Lincang, the altitude is at around 2000-2200m. Thick Taste of Old Tree We selected particularly old tea tree for making …

NEW ARTICLES

We have released the Flower of Ancient Tea Tree
We have released the Flower of Ancient Tea Tree. This is the fresh tea flowers hand-picked from old tea trees of ancient tea gardens. The tea garden is totally sustainable, with natural farming practice and no pesticide or fertilizer at all. The tea garden is located at altitude of 2000-2200m in the western part of …
Limited Sales of Single Tree Raw Pu-erh,White and Black tea 2019
We have released Single Tree Pu-erh Tea 2019. Literally, the single tree tea is harvested and processed only from one single tea tree. Each single tree tea is sourced from the high mountain in west Lincang, the altitude is at around 2000-2200m. Thick Taste of Old Tree We selected particularly old tea tree for making …
Lapsang Souchong Qi Zhong from Tong Mu Guan in Wuyi Mountain
We have released Lapsang Souchong Qi Zhong. It is the most premium Lapsang Souchong in HOJO’s line-up. This tea is from Tong Mu Guan in Wuyi Mountain. Qi Zhong is seed-grown tea tree, and tea garden is totally sustainable. Unlike ordinary black tea, this unique black tea gives strong fruity flavor  reminiscent of peaches and …
Amazing difference between seedling tea and cultivated tea
Do you know that tea is divided into two groups: cultivated tea propagated by cuttings, and seedling tea grown from seed?There is actually a big difference between cultivated tea and seedling tea. What is Cultivar? The cultivated tea refers to tea with a name of specific cultivar, such as Yabukita, Benifuki, Okumidori, Tie Guan Yin, …
Da Cha Lin Raw Pu-erh Tea 2019 is available in our store
We have released two types of unique raw pu-erh tea, Da Cha Lin Raw Pu-erh Tea and Da Cha Lin Purple Tea. Da Cha Lin means the forest of huge tea tree. Literally, Da Cha Lin is made from huge ancient tea trees which supposed to be processed for single tree tea. It gives outstandingly …
Limited Release of Special Taiwan Oolong Tea
In 2019, we bought three types of special Taiwan oolong tea in addition to our standard line-ups. These teas are the limited tea since we may not be able to get the same quality tea every year. Introducing the unique tea as a special grade Every year we visit Taiwan and conduct tea tasting to …
New Release of Bai Yan Shan High Mountain Raw Pu-erh Tea
We released Bai Yan Shan High Mountain Raw Pu-erh Tea. This tea was produced from tea garden located at about 2300m. The garden has gone completely wild since it has left unattended for decades. Tea garden that altitude is at 2300m In Chinese, Bai Yan Shan means White Rock Mountain. It is located in the …
Limited Release of Single Tree Purple Tea
Now Single Tree Raw Pu-erh Tea of Purple Tea is available in both Japan and Malaysia. In China, single tree is called Dan Zhu. It means tea is distinctively made from one particular tea tree. Since the old tree of purple tea is very limited, we have only very limited stock. The old Tree of …

PAGETOP