What is quality tea?
How do I determine the quality of my oolong tea?
Most people think a high grade tea is superior to a medium grade. While this may be true, it is not guaranteed. Let us teach you how to judge the quality of your tea by simply looking at the tea leaves!
Whole Leaves 🍃
Whole leaves are the highest grade of any tea, not broken or torn during the production. However, the size depends on plucking and processing. Whole leaves that are harvested in early spring are considered the best quality. This is because young buds that grow in the spring have more natural sugars while tea leaves harvested later in summer are more mature and are more bitter in flavor.
Broken Leaves 🍃
Broken leaves are leaves that are slightly torn or broken but is still recognizable as pieces of leaves. Normally left overs from whole leave production. These type of leaves release astringent more quickly, resulting in varying levels of bitterness. Golden color are made from younger buds and darker/black color are harvested from more mature leaves.
Fanning is broken tea leaves commonly used in tea bags. They have a coarse texture and are rejects from the manufacturing process of making a higher quality of tea. The greatest quantity of fanning come from large harvests of mature leaves in the summer. This means they have more bitterness and astringency. Thus, often blended with spices and herbs or prepared with milk and sugar.