Tea limpidity


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Tea limpidity

Postby David R. » May 31st, '13, 11:51

I am wondering if there is any link between a brew's limpidity, clearness, and the quality of the leaves. I am obviously not talking about fukamushi sencha here, maybe not ripe puerh too. But it has occured to me that the very good leaves I have brewed lately (mainly oolong) lead to very clear cups, even the wash looked that way. I really don't know if that means anything, if it works for any kind of tea or not. But I figured I'd ask.

If someone knowledgeable could give me a clue, I would very much appreciate it.

Cheers !
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby wyardley » May 31st, '13, 12:49

Yes, clarity, brightness, etc. are very much important.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby tenuki » May 31st, '13, 14:24

David R. wrote:I am wondering if there is any link between a brew's limpidity, clearness, and the quality of the leaves. I am obviously not talking about fukamushi sencha here, maybe not ripe puerh too. But it has occured to me that the very good leaves I have brewed lately (mainly oolong) lead to very clear cups, even the wash looked that way. I really don't know if that means anything, if it works for any kind of tea or not. But I figured I'd ask.

If someone knowledgeable could give me a clue, I would very much appreciate it.

Cheers !


I find it very curious that you are seeking knowledge over your own senses and observation. I suppose you might have meant 'more experienced' rather than 'knowlegeable'. :?

But then, I probably am overthinking your question. :D

Short answer: yes.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby Drax » May 31st, '13, 14:28

What about when the fine fur from some leaves sends thousands of tiny particles into the tea and make it cloudy?
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby Mooniac » May 31st, '13, 18:09

For the raw puerh this actually can be used as a side-note of some quality aspects as the leaves from the tea bushes under 50 years old (correct me if I'm wrong with age) have that fine fur on them. It makes the liquid blurry and also adds some "fur ballness" aftertaste in your throat. The puerh made from ancient arbor trees for example don't have that fur anymore, so at some point the "cleaness" of raw puerh liquid can identify the age of leaves used (age of a plant).

Some people make direct connection between the quality of puerh and the age of the plant the material was taken from, some people actually say that some tea varietals are good only when they are under 30 y.o., so there is no exact answer about "quality" related to puerh. Although, that fuss would sure add harshness to the brew, that's just it's physical quality I guess.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby Evan Draper » Jun 1st, '13, 15:55

Mooniac wrote:leaves from the tea bushes under 50 years old (correct me if I'm wrong with age) have that fine fur on them.

This is intriguing, but "clearness" and "brightness" has always seemed like a snipe hunt to me. I find it much harder to quantify or compare these things than taste sensations--include qi if you like--so why worry?
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby Mooniac » Jun 1st, '13, 20:28

Evan Draper wrote:This is intriguing, but "clearness" and "brightness" has always seemed like a snipe hunt to me. I find it much harder to quantify or compare these things than taste sensations--include qi if you like--so why worry?


As long as you are drinking tea by your own, everything is fine - you do what you like and the way you like.

But when you go and communicate with different parts of tea communities in different areas you'll see a subjective teachings all over. Like some people (and they are not single people, they are whole layers of tea people in the U.S. and Asia) think that ancient arbor is better then tea bush. Or that raw puerh should be at least 10 y.o. to drink it. Or that Iron Goddess Oolong tea should be green, not toasted in order to be a "real one".
None making you believe in those statements of course, but some of such claims have some logic behind them, so it's worth to analyze them in order to understand tea more.

P.S.
I'm not a huge expert in international tea communities, but that's what I saw around myself in the U.S. and Europe.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby wyardley » Jun 2nd, '13, 02:38

A lot of broken leaf will make tea less clear usually.

With pu'er, some people are really into the "brightness" of the brewed tea also.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby Evan Draper » Jun 2nd, '13, 14:52

Will, scoring lots of cryptic points here. Yeah, I've been in a seminar with a tea notable who was making a big deal about the brightness--which is apparently different from clarity--and it was a real emperor's new clothes moment for me. I would really love to hear someone give a rationale for this, even if they don't believe it. Seems like it's really easy to convince yourself that a tea is "brighter" if you like the taste, or if it has a convincing backstory, or if someone important is suggesting it's bright. Or if the teacups are nicer.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby wyardley » Jun 3rd, '13, 12:34

Evan Draper wrote:Will, scoring lots of cryptic points here. Yeah, I've been in a seminar with a tea notable who was making a big deal about the brightness--which is apparently different from clarity--and it was a real emperor's new clothes moment for me. I would really love to hear someone give a rationale for this, even if they don't believe it. Seems like it's really easy to convince yourself that a tea is "brighter" if you like the taste, or if it has a convincing backstory, or if someone important is suggesting it's bright.

Right, while some teas do catch the light in an attractive way, I'm not convinced that it's not mostly just a measure of color and clarity. I've been told is that it's much easier to judge in a glass fair cup, but seems like it's hard to make really fair comparisons in most situations, considering how much light can vary from one moment to the next.

Sorry, I don't have any specifics on the rationale behind this. I guess it's possible that a thicker / heavier tea (which would presumably be a marker of a good tea base) might refract the light slightly differently?

And yes, I agree that things like this can be easily used to advance a sales pitch (or reinforce one's own preferences).
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby David R. » Jun 3rd, '13, 17:34

Thank you very much for all these answers.

tenuki wrote:I find it very curious that you are seeking knowledge over your own senses and observation. I suppose you might have meant 'more experienced' rather than 'knowlegeable'.


This was what I had in mind, sorry for the confusion.
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Re: Tea limpidity

Postby wyardley » Jun 3rd, '13, 22:07

Also, it may seem obvious, but whether or not one is filtering the tea may affect the perceived clarity somewhat in early brews.

I do weight lack of clarity as a bit more of a flaw if it persists past the first couple of infusions.
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