Where should you NOT buy your Puerh from


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

Postby Trioxin » Jun 14th, '09, 03:52

I can't remember the name of the flower that I had posted a picture of earlier,.. but, I did find this on Amazon under Yunnan Flower Bud Tea Leaves from Generation tea.

Image

I also have to say, this thread has been great. I've been a little ho-hum about tea lately, and this actually peaked my interest.
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Postby xuancheng » Jun 14th, '09, 12:45

This is the only sort of tea flower bud I have ever seen:
(it is tiny, round and green on top of one of the leaves)
Image

Same tea flower bud picture (you can see it slightly larger)

Does anyone know if this might be 果山茶? maybe its the buds from that?
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Postby Seeker » Jun 14th, '09, 16:21

Wow Tri!
Those are very, very close to the Ya Bao.
I'm imagining a slightly different age in the harvesting and bingo?
Great find on the pic. And on Amazon no less! :lol:
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Postby Seeker » Jun 14th, '09, 17:20

Xuan - great pic!!
Yes, I have been finding pics suggesting camelia sinensis flower buds are round.
Here is a pic I found; of course I don't know the reliability of the source, some website called CharmofTea.us - and they seem to be out of stock on everything (at least everything I clicked on) - but here's their interesting pic of Cam. s. buds:
Image
And another:
Image

Also, Xuan, I've noticed your avatar - a pic of Camelia Sinensis flower!!! :)

Here are some recent excerpts from my tea source/teacher email conversations on this topic (in this excerpt they are referring to the Ya Bao I showed them):

>>Doubtful those were flower buds though. I have asked Master Wang for pics since they specifically identified these as from Yunnan Old Trees then they are from his hometown. I don't have photos of those particular trees showing leaf bud details. The trees were so large I have never climbed up for closeups nor thought go examine the leaf shoots. The slightly smaller, hundred year trees I have plenty of photos and none look like those buds. My point can not be supportable unless photos show these as growing or not growing from the particular trees they claim, though I doubt those websites can produce them either.<<

and...

>>However, if they are flowers and not leaves, then it isn't technically tea, nor Pu-er, as that is defined as the leaves of c.sinensis Pu-er, BTW recently over throwing the use of Assamica as they are not exactly the same subvarietal (Large Black vs Small Black)and Pu-er predates Assamica by some million years apparently according to some fossil records though the India Tea Board will dispute it. <<

Just so interesting.

I think in this kind of exchange and creative exploration we empower ourselves as lovers and consumers of tea. I'm all for that.

May the Force be with you!

and of course...

Live long and prosper!

(I can be such a geek sometimes) :oops:
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Postby pb2q » Jun 14th, '09, 17:29

fwiw:

Image

The Ya Bao pieces don't seem to be flower buds from Camellia sinensis, which remain spheroidal until opening. You've probably found these unopened flower buds in your puerh.

Disclaimer: I've never seen any of this in the wild. I'd also like to know which variety this image describes. My guess is that this is C. sinensis asamica.
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Postby pb2q » Jun 14th, '09, 17:44

Here's another image from wikipedia which may be instructive:

Image

Similar to images linked already, but here you can see a bud with a number of small stem leaves.
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Postby pb2q » Jun 14th, '09, 17:53

BTW recently over throwing the use of Assamica as they are not exactly the same subvarietal (Large Black vs Small Black)and Pu-er predates Assamica


I'd like to hear more about this specifically. I operate under the assumption that puerh comes from var. assamica plants (growing in Yunnan). Here your friend seems to be suggesting a different variety?
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Postby xuancheng » Jun 14th, '09, 23:45

pb2q wrote:Here's another image from wikipedia which may be instructive:

Image

Similar to images linked already, but here you can see a bud with a number of small stem leaves.


This is the fruit of the tea plant. The seeds are inside.

I am almost completely sure that all tea flowers look pretty much the same. They all have round buds that open up to look like the drawing pb2q posted, or like my avatar. I have seen pictures of pu'er flowers, they are exactly the same as small leaf varietals, but sometimes much bigger!

I can say with a fair amount of certainty that these Yabao have nothing to do with tea flowers.
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Postby Seeker » Jun 15th, '09, 00:27

Ohhh... the tea flower theory dashed! :cry:

Hmmm, what are these buggers?

Starting to look more and more like my tea source is right - not tea, certainly not puerh tea.

But is it medicinal? safe?

The flavor/aroma is pleasant, if nothing to write home about, IMHO. But nothing like a wonderful oolong, or beautifully aged proper puerh, or Lu Shan, or Dragonwell, or,
... well you get the point.

:)
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Postby Trioxin » Jun 15th, '09, 00:41

Did some more reading up on this. Looks like it is an herbal tea made from Balanophora laxiflora buds. (this is referring to the picture posted up top, and not the tea in discussion)
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Postby Trioxin » Jun 15th, '09, 00:55

Also, on the searches I've done for Ya Bao, I'm finding both tea that looks like what one would assume a tea bud to look like, and Balanophora laxiflora looking thingers. Some I've even seen mixed.
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Postby Seeker » Jun 15th, '09, 02:02

Wow Tri - very interesting.
Here's an interesting link I found on balanophora with links to photos of different variations of it - apparently some type of parasitic plant form:
http://www.parasiticplants.siu.edu/Balanophoraceae/index.html
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Postby pb2q » Jun 15th, '09, 02:10

xuancheng wrote:
pb2q wrote:Similar to images linked already, but here you can see a bud with a number of small stem leaves.


This is the fruit of the tea plant. The seeds are inside.


No, sorry, I wasn't pointing out the seed pod, I was indicating the bud growing upwards from the branch. It seems to me that this bud more closely resembles these Ya Bao pieces (than images posted already). So I think that the Ya Bao could indeed be made from the buds of Camellia sinensis.
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Postby Seeker » Jun 15th, '09, 03:57

pb - I have to disagree. As my tea sources do as well (who grew up among the tea trees and shrubs and have climbed them since childhood and insist they've never seen anything like this Ya Bao on cam. sin. ) - the upward moving bud is completely different in morphology than the Ya Bao I have or have seen pics of.
After going through the site and most of its pics of Balanophora, I don't think it's that either, merely because there isn't any kind of emergent bulbous end-part forming - just more leaves. Cam. Sin. just doesn't overlap so many leaves so quickly (as with the very base parts of the various balanophora. Nor are the leaves so stubby and leathery.

The mystery remains.

I'm thinking of asking TeaSpring for some input on this and asking if they can provide a photo of these buds on the tree (they are supposed to be exclusively from wild arbor trees - btw, wild arbor trees are actually not the ancient trees, but rather trees that were once organized shrubs that stopped being tended and were allowed to grow to trees).
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Postby Seeker » Jun 15th, '09, 03:58

Oh - and another morphology note - in all the photos of cam. sin. buds, you can see at the base of each leaf on the bud, a bit of stem to the leaf. On the Ya Bao - the leaf has no stem at its base - rather, it wraps around the main stem; I think this is probably pretty significant.
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