Saying goodbye to bags, it’s time to buy sheet. But how do you tell the bad from the good? We meet by clothes, but not by wrapping. First of all, you should evaluate the appearance, aroma and color of the tea leaf. Is the tea the same? If the leaves are about the same size, shape and color, that’s good. Whole sheet? Or is it dust, debris, questionable powder? How fresh is the fragrance? In high-quality tea, it is bright, stable, but not sharp. Pu-erhs are an exception (they should have a rotten, earthy smell). Are there dyes in tea? It’s easy to check. Pour cold water over the tea. Natural raw materials will transfer color for a long time, at least 30 minutes. If the infusion immediately gains a bright color, then the tea is artificially tinted.
Quality products have a strong natural aroma. One that will keep for a long time in an empty hot cup or bowl. The classic varieties have a multifaceted taste, not flat. You will clearly catch this moment when you try Jin Hao Dian Hong or Bai Mu Dan. A pronounced aftertaste after drinking tea should last a long time. A good tea is one that will become a friend to your health. This criterion can be assessed, of course, only at a distance. If regular tea drinking leads to uncomfortable sensations, in particular in the digestive system, then either the variety simply does not suit you, or the raw materials were of poor quality. Are you getting the expected effect from tea? For example, pu-erh should invigorate, soothing tea should relax and lull.
How to distinguish old tea from fresh? Stale tea is dull hard leaves of various shapes. They easily turn into powder. When brewing, the smell is muffled, the liquid is cloudy.
Fresh tea is leaves of a clear shape and a bright aroma of tea leaves. The infusion gains color gradually, starting from pure translucent. In fresh tea, the content of caffeine and essential oils is increased, which gives a characteristic saturation of taste and aroma.
To check if tea is fresh, you can conduct such an experiment. Boil the leaves with boiling water and leave for 8-10 minutes. Then put them on a white plate with clean water. In high-quality tea, the veins resemble a network, they are bright and distinct, going from the center line to the edges.
Say goodbye to the mass market. Switching to the light side has consequences. Namely, you have to forget about big brands. Good quality tea is expensive to produce and cannot be marketed to a wide audience.
Let’s explain what’s wrong with mass tea:
• Large brands tend to reduce the cost of flavors, so they use artificial ones. Natural flavors, like a quality base, are expensive and produced in medium volumes.
• Mass tea means large volumes of purchases and storage. Therefore, products lie in warehouses for a long time.
• Bulk tea is harvested throughout the year (don’t wait for the perfect season) and by machine (that is, in a rougher way than by hand).
• In pursuit of a low price, manufacturers often buy old raw materials.
Evaluating tea by price criterion is a difficult moment, which involves market research. Exclusivity, demand this season, the number of intermediaries — all this forms the final cost of the product.
If you are just starting to get acquainted with loose tea, we recommend that you pay attention to items from the price range of 100-300 rubles per 100 grams. In the case of classic varieties, these can be Tie Guan Yin (cat. A), Mao Feng, Da Hong Pao.
We also recommend trying herbal preparations and blends that do not contain flavors: African Sunset, Evening Fantasy, Yellow Mango, Refreshing, Green-Eyed Taxi. And then move on to a more intense line: “Midnight in Paris”, “I love you!”, “Satisfied fish”.
All of these blends are easy to brew and do not require special tea skills. We wish you pleasant tea parties!