Extra Dried Tea


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Extra Dried Tea

Postby beachape » Apr 12th, '12, 05:21

Hello,

Just wanted to share an interesting tea experience. For QingMing festival, while visiting in-laws, I got to visit a relative who lives in the mountains in the Huang Shan (Famous for Huang Shan Mao Feng) area. They have a few tea bushes on their property which they pluck and prepare for themselves (not enough to sell). They let us try their pre-qingming 2011 tea, which was just stored in a small stainless steel container. The tea was great, and very fresh despite being stored for over 1 year in a pretty basic container. They told us that the secret was that they dry the tea more than usual when they prepare it. Most tea for sale is about 80% dried upon sale/packaging. They dry theirs as much as possible, which makes the tea very brittle but preserves well. Such brittle tea would not be good for sale, and producers prefer to have more water weight to gain a better profit.

I also plucked a few buds off of some wild tea plants and chewed on them. I had never tried this, but was surprised that they didn't have much flavor. Has anyone tried to make tea from fresh tea buds that haven't been processed? Probably wouldn't make very good tea.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby gingkoseto » Apr 12th, '12, 10:00

beachape wrote:Hello,

Just wanted to share an interesting tea experience. For QingMing festival, while visiting in-laws, I got to visit a relative who lives in the mountains in the Huang Shan (Famous for Huang Shan Mao Feng) area. They have a few tea bushes on their property which they pluck and prepare for themselves (not enough to sell). They let us try their pre-qingming 2011 tea, which was just stored in a small stainless steel container. The tea was great, and very fresh despite being stored for over 1 year in a pretty basic container. They told us that the secret was that they dry the tea more than usual when they prepare it. Most tea for sale is about 80% dried upon sale/packaging. They dry theirs as much as possible, which makes the tea very brittle but preserves well. Such brittle tea would not be good for sale, and producers prefer to have more water weight to gain a better profit.


Interesting! I just wrote something about green tea shelf life last week that somewhat relates to your experience! So I'm going to drag a few sentences from there but sorry for the self-citation :wink:

... the pursuit of perfect leaf shape and "fresh" leaf color sometimes causes problems. It puts pressures on the tea workers to pan-fry tea leaves less thoroughly than it's supposed to be. In recent years, this pressure is more and more found on teas such as Huang Shan Mao Feng, Xin Yang Mao Jian and quite a few others, which are not supposed to look as green as some other teas such as Bi Luo Chun. Green teas are of very different shades of green. But somehow in the market, "greener" color sells better. I didn't see this as much of a problem, because I thought tea processing was pretty much ruled by the tea workers. After all, they are the ones who know what to do. But in recent a couple of years, I've heard quite a bit complaints from tea farmers that how some merchants urge them to produce tea that looks "greener" and how some tea of improperly "greener" color would sell better than tea of perfectly darker green color. Market demands sometimes could shape production in a good way. But this case looks like an example of bad influence.


The entire post is here: http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2012/03/w ... tea-1.html

I think the "extra dry" sounds like "properly dry". And a lot of products nowadays are not dry enough. But usually farmers in the best producing regions and highest elevations care a lot about their products and don't want the tea to get bitter in a few months. So in my observation, people in the best producing regions stick to the traditions the best.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby edkrueger » Apr 15th, '12, 00:22

I have had fresh tea buds off a tea bush in Uji. Same experience: not a lot of flavor, but this plant wasn't cultivated for tea production either.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby AlexZorach » Apr 17th, '12, 10:28

I just got a shipment from TeaVivre and I notice that their Xin Yang Mao Jian was extremely thin and wiry looking--but intensely aromatic. Upon brewing, it expanded to a normal size. I have yet to post a review on RateTea, but I hope to soon...I was really impressed with all their teas, but especially this one so far.

I'm not very familiar with Mao Jian but I've seen a lot of pictures, and their Mao Jian was much more wiry and thin looking than most (but not all) of the other examples I've seen.

It makes me wonder if a lot of the tea out there on the market is insufficiently dried.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby Chip » Apr 17th, '12, 11:12

Playing devil's advocate ... the drier the leaf, the more it is going to want to absorb surrounding humdity/moisture/aromas ... odors? Is this a logical conclusion?

So, I would think the best storage of such tea would be paramount ... and even then, once open ... drink up! :wink:
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby Tead Off » Apr 18th, '12, 11:53

Chip wrote:Playing devil's advocate ... the drier the leaf, the more it is going to want to absorb surrounding humdity/moisture/aromas ... odors? Is this a logical conclusion?

So, I would think the best storage of such tea would be paramount ... and even then, once open ... drink up! :wink:

The wetter the leaves, the faster you want to drink it up. Dry leaves will generally age better. Many teas are not sufficiently dried and will oxidize faster and go off. Moisture inside a container is not what we ideally want.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby Chip » Apr 18th, '12, 13:07

I would think, that the drier the leaf, the more susceptible it would be to surrounding air borne odors in areas that are higher moisture than the leaves (such as virtually every home) ... since the leaves will absorb at a faster rate.

My logic is ... for example, leaves that contain 1% water will absorb odor borne moisture faster than leaves containing say 5%.

Of course, generally drier is better, but not always ...

Take shincha for instance. It generally will have higher moisture content due to less processing of the leaf. So, the payoff for higher moisture, is less processing. But this is why shincha is best enjoyed sooner than later ... and likely why it is traditionally off the shelves in Japan by early Summer. Then they switch over to the drier leaf of standard ichibancha.

All I am saying is that it may not be a completely black and white issue.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby AlexZorach » Jun 4th, '12, 09:52

Chip wrote:I would think, that the drier the leaf, the more susceptible it would be to surrounding air borne odors in areas that are higher moisture than the leaves (such as virtually every home) ... since the leaves will absorb at a faster rate.


This is interesting...the Xin Yan Mao Jian that I bought from TeaVivre did not last long in its optimal state. I still have a little of the tea left but now, less than two months after opening it, it has acquired numerous "off" aromas and I find it is not as enjoyable. It was delicious at first. And I stored it in a clipped bag kept within a small airtight tin.

The other two green teas I received from TeaVivre, which had leaf that was not as thin or wiry, have stayed fresh better.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby gingkoseto » Jun 4th, '12, 10:35

AlexZorach wrote:This is interesting...the Xin Yan Mao Jian that I bought from TeaVivre did not last long in its optimal state. I still have a little of the tea left but now, less than two months after opening it, it has acquired numerous "off" aromas and I find it is not as enjoyable. It was delicious at first. And I stored it in a clipped bag kept within a small airtight tin.

The other two green teas I received from TeaVivre, which had leaf that was not as thin or wiry, have stayed fresh better.


What are the other two teas?

This is possibly due to factors other than dryness of the tea. Some tea naturally expire faster than others, even when made perfectly. Usually even fast expiring tea won't expire in just few months, and the "off" aroma doesn't sound good. Could it be due to room temperature and other storage conditions?

Xin Yang Mao Jian and some other "fuzzy" teas such as Bi Luo Chun seem to be some fast expiring teas (but usually still have a shelf life up to several months). I once compared several 1 year old teas with good processing and good storage, and my impression of liveliness is approximately like this:

fuzzy bud teas < a few non fuzzy Zhejiang green teas (such as Long Jing) < a few Anhui green teas (such as Huang Shan Mao Feng) < low grade well made pan fry teas (such as those "brow" teas) < Lu Shan Cloud Mist

And generally Yunnan green tea seems to be one of a kind and has much longer shelf life than many other green teas.

So in my experience, Xin Yang Mao Jian belong to the category with shorter shelf life and easier to be contaminated or lose flavor, compared with other teas of similar grade.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby gingkoseto » Jun 4th, '12, 10:37

Oh, Alex, a comment to your earlier post about dryness of Xin Yang Mao Jian. I think, whether or not thoroughly dry, leaves of this tea would look smaller and more "compact" than those of many teas.
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Re: Extra Dried Tea

Postby AlexZorach » Jun 7th, '12, 17:16

gingkoseto wrote:Oh, Alex, a comment to your earlier post about dryness of Xin Yang Mao Jian. I think, whether or not thoroughly dry, leaves of this tea would look smaller and more "compact" than those of many teas.


Yes...this makes sense, I was commenting originally though because they also seemed more wiry than another mao jian I recently tried, and more wiry than pictures I had seen online.
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