Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby teaformeplease » May 6th, '14, 16:29

Someone told me about a little trick to tell if a puerh tea was produced from older trees. Just barely break through the stems with your finger nail and there should be sinuous threads connecting the two halves. These won't be present if the tea is produced from younger trees. I haven't been able to find any information about this method anywhere. Has anyone heard of this before? I'm probably doing a very bad job of explaining it so here is a picture.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/teaformeplease/14098757793/#
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby shah82 » May 6th, '14, 16:37

Good way to tell how mature a leaf is,in seasonal terms. As for telling the age of the tree from the leaf? No.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby nada » May 6th, '14, 20:21

If only it was this easy!

I heard this at one time too, but you'll find these present in plantation leaves too.

There are certain differences in the suppleness of the leaves, but the most accurate way I know of is to drink the tea. Healthy older trees will generally have a richness that younger trees don't possess, the sensations of the tea after drinking will penetrate further back in the mouth and coat the throat.

Teas from really old trees become more and more refined in character. This is especially evident if you have the chance to try some teas made from a single old tree or a few old trees. Some people, used to drinking brash younger tree or blended teas, might be oblivious to some of the beauty present in these teas but the more you drink them, the more you come to appreciate their elegance.

Just writing these words doesn't really convey the feeling - this is something you really need to learn from experience, tasting and comparing young tree and old tree teas. It's important to pick some teas you have confidence in and quietly taste and compare.
Last edited by nada on May 6th, '14, 20:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby shah82 » May 6th, '14, 20:24

And that's the damage crazy prices do to puerh hobby. You gotta drink these teas with some frequency, and they've gotta be (mostly)real, before you understand exactly why you *should* pay lots of money for them...especially for aging.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby chrl42 » May 6th, '14, 21:24

There might be ways to distinguish between the regions or the specifies of tea tree, but from the same species of different age..might be difficult I heard,

It reminds me of one conversation between Korean drinkers, who insisted he can know the age or 'Gushu' leaf easily by one looking, that led another Korean (who lives in Yunnan) to directly visit farms and bring on table with his smart phone in real time. Obviously, the former guy didn't know what the h**k he was talking.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby kyarazen » May 6th, '14, 21:46

heh :P used to teach plant anatomy at graduate level.

those are just some of the lignified xylems and sclerieds 8)
you should section them and put them under the microscope with TBO stain or similar, that would come out a nice teal color
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby nada » May 6th, '14, 21:50

There are people who seem to be able to be able to distinguish leaves by appearance & touch. I've come across this most in the mountains, where tea processors are buying fresh leaves from farmers. They seem to be able to do this with some confidence & there does seem to be method in their techniques.

Once the tea has been processed, there are certain traits one can look for, but these can be unreliable. It's more easy to spot negative characteristics (e.g. weak, flimsy leaves or poor processing) than separate healthy old trees from healthy young trees this way. Some do claim to have this ability, but personally I'd have more confidence relying on my taste for this.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby teaformeplease » May 6th, '14, 22:07

Thanks for the replies everyone. I thought that it seemed far fetched. Puerh is something that I'm just starting to explore even though I've been drinking loose leaf tea for years. There's so much hearsay that it's hard to know what to believe.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby chrl42 » May 6th, '14, 22:16

teaformeplease wrote:Thanks for the replies everyone. I thought that it seemed far fetched. Puerh is something that I'm just starting to explore even though I've been drinking loose leaf tea for years. There's so much hearsay that it's hard to know what to believe.

Looking at what nada has said, so far more convincing than my mere experience. (always guys in front are better than mere talkers :) )

Experience is always important, then experienced men gather and make it programmed then it comes culture. Culture imho, is based on one's enjoyment and satisfaction..it's just how it could inspire and lubricate our lives.

For beginners, I'd think making up 'stardard' or 'criteria' is important, after being used to it, one can see it progressed then upgraded, then your wallet gonna be empty :mrgreen:
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby shah82 » May 6th, '14, 22:16

Don't get too caught up by age, though. I think it's more of a proxy of soil, plant success, and large size (with the root system to support it). Age will still make a difference, but actually well cared for plantation, with the idea that drinking such tea will provide a great experience (much as young clonals do in the Subcontinent), should make said difference relatively small. People would rather lie to you about how old the tree the leaf came from than make the considerable effort and expense to upgrade plantation clonals, carefully fertilize, and do all that other stuff to make good tea.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby TwoDog2 » May 7th, '14, 02:48

teaformeplease wrote:Thanks for the replies everyone. I thought that it seemed far fetched. Puerh is something that I'm just starting to explore even though I've been drinking loose leaf tea for years. There's so much hearsay that it's hard to know what to believe.


This is the case everywhere. Puer probably has the most information and heresay of any tea out there.

Don't pay too much attention to the heresay, just take your time and drink some different puer teas. Sooner or later it will start to become clearer.
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Re: Telling the Age of a Tea Tree?

Postby AllanK » May 10th, '14, 00:40

Precisely because there in no way to tell the age of a tea tree by the leaves, if it is spring tea, gushu etc is why I try to buy from vendors I trust. This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to Yunnan Sourcing despite the fact that his shipping has gotten slow. I believe I can trust what he represents as at least what he believes to be true. There are vendors on Ebay who are definitely untrustworthy, although I have had good luck with most of the larger vendors there. Some of the little guys have sold me crap so I stick to Berylleb, Dragon Tea House, Red Lantern Tea, etc. I also got some excellent tea from Streetshop 88.
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