Identifying Old Tree Leaves


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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby gingkoseto » May 29th, '13, 20:11

Yeah once upon a time my ID on a tea forum was as long as this: gingko (fuzzy female manager of blabla) :lol:
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby futurebird » May 30th, '13, 18:34

I have a theory that old trees make better tea not because of the tree, but because it means that the people taking care of the tree are more experienced.

But I would love to be proven wrong!
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby lordsbm » May 30th, '13, 21:19

futurebird wrote:I have a theory that old trees make better tea not because of the tree, but because it means that the people taking care of the tree are more experienced.

But I would love to be proven wrong!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was a trend among farmers in the past of cutting down tall trees, so it's easier to pick and managed. :lol:

You can try getting a real wild grown pu erh and normal old tree pu erh of same area, then try them side by side. I managed to find one I'm very sure it's wild grown, it's in shipping. Looking forward to do this test :lol:
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby Tead Off » Jun 3rd, '13, 07:26

The tea I posted a photo of in the beginning of this thread is a YS 2010 Wuliangshan. According to Scott, the trees are 200 years old. From what I've gleaned from others, the leaves look like they are from old trees, but I cannot compare this tea with some old tree teas that I've had by its taste. Either I am not experienced enough or there are too many variables such as terroir, age, processing, climactic conditions, etc.
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby lordsbm » Jun 3rd, '13, 07:39

Tead Off wrote:The tea I posted a photo of in the beginning of this thread is a YS 2010 Wuliangshan. According to Scott, the trees are 200 years old. From what I've gleaned from others, the leaves look like they are from old trees, but I cannot compare this tea with some old tree teas that I've had by its taste. Either I am not experienced enough or there are too many variables such as terroir, age, processing, climactic conditions, etc.


Rich flora/honey flavor, but brew feels thin?
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby Tead Off » Jun 4th, '13, 01:53

lordsbm wrote:
Tead Off wrote:The tea I posted a photo of in the beginning of this thread is a YS 2010 Wuliangshan. According to Scott, the trees are 200 years old. From what I've gleaned from others, the leaves look like they are from old trees, but I cannot compare this tea with some old tree teas that I've had by its taste. Either I am not experienced enough or there are too many variables such as terroir, age, processing, climactic conditions, etc.


Rich flora/honey flavor, but brew feels thin?

No. This tea has some power. The flavor is more like a sweet tobacco with a bitter quality that begins to fade after several brews. Strong huigan and tingling on the tongue. Plum and date aroma in the empty cup. Very fragrant and lovely to smell after the slightly bitter flavor. This tea needs more aging but I think it will prove to be very good in time. It doesn't have the new, honey floral flavor that some young teas have. It's not like drinking a green tea.

One of the things I am guilty of is impatience. When I get a tea, I want to dive into it right away. Usually, it is much better to wait some days or even weeks so the tea acclimates itself to its new surroundings. The difference between my first tasting and this last one after more than a week is significant.
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby lordsbm » Jun 4th, '13, 02:26

Tead Off wrote:No. This tea has some power. The flavor is more like a sweet tobacco with a bitter quality that begins to fade after several brews. Strong huigan and tingling on the tongue. Plum and date aroma in the empty cup. Very fragrant and lovely to smell after the slightly bitter flavor. This tea needs more aging but I think it will prove to be very good in time. It doesn't have the new, honey floral flavor that some young teas have. It's not like drinking a green tea.

One of the things I am guilty of is impatience. When I get a tea, I want to dive into it right away. Usually, it is much better to wait some days or even weeks so the tea acclimates itself to its new surroundings. The difference between my first tasting and this last one after more than a week is significant.


Then it is not a young tree for sure, cos Wuliang young tree normally the brew is a bit thin but strong fragrance. Honey flavor also can be in old tree, it'll be more like wild honey. But is it real 200 year old can't really tell. But then if it taste good why bother how old the tree is :lol:

Ya better to awaken tea, I'm also the impatience type. I normally buy young/mid age tea. I'll have 1 tasting when I first open the tea first, if in doubts then I'll bother awaken it before I packed them for storage :lol:
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby SFLouis » Jun 10th, '13, 14:08

I can't tell you anything about which leaves came from old trees and which ones came from plantation bushes. I live in San Francisco, and I've never lived in China, so there's pretty much no way I'd be able to tell you that. I can only tell you what I like. I do not know if the teas I like are old tree, or tai di cha made to look like old tree, gu shu, lao shu, faux shu, ming qian, yu qian, or what. I only know what I like, and I know that I don't find it often. All of the teas I like are always *claimed* to be from old trees, almost always claimed to be first flush of spring, but the ones I like are a small fraction of the available teas that are claimed to be such. I can identify a few characteristics that I have observed in almost all of the young puerh teas I have liked. Here are my selection criteria:

1. PERSISTENT BUBBLE. When the tea soup is poured from the cha hai to the cup, particularly if poured into the middle of the cup & not the side, small bubbles come up in a ring formation, but they stay put. The bubbles do not migrate to the side of the cup, or even move much at all. If you jostle the cup, the tea soup sort of looks like shaken gelatin, as the bubbles jiggle but still stay in place. Persistent.

2. Strong, pleasant aftertaste & sensation of coldness in the mouth and throat that hangs around for a long time after drinking the tea. It took me a while to learn to recognize this sensation, but now it is unmistakeable & most teas simply don't have it. Sometimes I notice sweetness in the aftertaste of teas I like, and sometimes I don't, but this is not as consistently present as the coldness.

3. Yellow soup. Not orange. Not brown. Bright yellow. Say what you want about cup depth differences, but using the same cup & pitcher in comparisons of cup color between different teas, there is a blatantly obvious and consistent difference between the teas I like and the ones that don't interest me. I understand that maybe this is due to differences in how sha qing is carried out, and maybe due to differences in how wet the weather may have been prior to picking, but I don't care. I am talking about what I like, not what caused the thing I like.

4. Soup has a full-bodied mouthfeel, almost kind of thick. This characteristic seems to vary a lot depending on which vessel is used to brew the tea. I have no idea why.

5. If you smell the bottom of the cup after drinking the tea, particularly w/ the first couple of infusions, there are strong, sharp, sweet, honey/flower/perfumey sorts of smells. I have read that this can be faked in processing and is not necessarily an indicator that the tea is from old trees. To be honest, this characteristic isn't particularly important to me. I am only listing it because all of the teas I like seem to happen to have it. Among teas that do not interest me, it seems to be a less common characteristic.

6. Qi is unimportant to me. I have experienced very strong and relaxing cha qi after drinking tea that was just big factory plantation stuff, and even though the feeling was nice and all, I just didn't like the tea. I only drank it as an experiment to have a better idea of what's what. Thus, cha qi is something that, while I of course enjoy it, I don't find it particularly useful as a selection criterion and I don't think it tells me anything about the quality of the tea.

7. I don't care what the leaves look like. Not dry leaf, not dregs, none of it. I've had some very good teas that were composed almost entirely of small, broken leaf fragments. I've had some teas that had nothing but beautiful, perfect, complete two leaf one bud sets, with large, long leaves whose edges had serrations that varied greatly in size, but were totally bland and uninteresting. It would seem that gu shu trees that are over picked might, in their fourth or fifth + flush produce beautiful leaves that have very little flavor or power. However, it doesn't matter to me why this happens. I am only trying to identify characteristics that are useful to me as selection criteria; not explain them. I acknowledge that the good fragment teas I've had are only good for the first few infusions and they run out of gas very quickly, but they are still a lot better than tea that looks beautiful but has no oomph.
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby gasninja » Jun 11th, '13, 09:11

lordsbm wrote:
futurebird wrote:I have a theory that old trees make better tea not because of the tree, but because it means that the people taking care of the tree are more experienced.

But I would love to be proven wrong!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was a trend among farmers in the past of cutting down tall trees, so it's easier to pick and managed. :lol:

You can try getting a real wild grown pu erh and normal old tree pu erh of same area, then try them side by side. I managed to find one I'm very sure it's wild grown, it's in shipping. Looking forward to do this test :lol:

I just got some real wild grown wu Laing from 2010. I will have to compare it to the yunnan sourcing wu Laing.
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby gasninja » Jun 11th, '13, 09:16

SFLouis wrote:I can't tell you anything about which leaves came from old trees and which ones came from plantation bushes. I live in San Francisco, and I've never lived in China, so there's pretty much no way I'd be able to tell you that. I can only tell you what I like. I do not know if the teas I like are old tree, or tai di cha made to look like old tree, gu shu, lao shu, faux shu, ming qian, yu qian, or what. I only know what I like, and I know that I don't find it often. All of the teas I like are always *claimed* to be from old trees, almost always claimed to be first flush of spring, but the ones I like are a small fraction of the available teas that are claimed to be such. I can identify a few characteristics that I have observed in almost all of the young puerh teas I have liked. Here are my selection criteria:

1. PERSISTENT BUBBLE. When the tea soup is poured from the cha hai to the cup, particularly if poured into the middle of the cup & not the side, small bubbles come up in a ring formation, but they stay put. The bubbles do not migrate to the side of the cup, or even move much at all. If you jostle the cup, the tea soup sort of looks like shaken gelatin, as the bubbles jiggle but still stay in place. Persistent.

2. Strong, pleasant aftertaste & sensation of coldness in the mouth and throat that hangs around for a long time after drinking the tea. It took me a while to learn to recognize this sensation, but now it is unmistakeable & most teas simply don't have it. Sometimes I notice sweetness in the aftertaste of teas I like, and sometimes I don't, but this is not as consistently present as the coldness.

3. Yellow soup. Not orange. Not brown. Bright yellow. Say what you want about cup depth differences, but using the same cup & pitcher in comparisons of cup color between different teas, there is a blatantly obvious and consistent difference between the teas I like and the ones that don't interest me. I understand that maybe this is due to differences in how sha qing is carried out, and maybe due to differences in how wet the weather may have been prior to picking, but I don't care. I am talking about what I like, not what caused the thing I like.

4. Soup has a full-bodied mouthfeel, almost kind of thick. This characteristic seems to vary a lot depending on which vessel is used to brew the tea. I have no idea why.

5. If you smell the bottom of the cup after drinking the tea, particularly w/ the first couple of infusions, there are strong, sharp, sweet, honey/flower/perfumey sorts of smells. I have read that this can be faked in processing and is not necessarily an indicator that the tea is from old trees. To be honest, this characteristic isn't particularly important to me. I am only listing it because all of the teas I like seem to happen to have it. Among teas that do not interest me, it seems to be a less common characteristic.

6. Qi is unimportant to me. I have experienced very strong and relaxing cha qi after drinking tea that was just big factory plantation stuff, and even though the feeling was nice and all, I just didn't like the tea. I only drank it as an experiment to have a better idea of what's what. Thus, cha qi is something that, while I of course enjoy it, I don't find it particularly useful as a selection criterion and I don't think it tells me anything about the quality of the tea.

7. I don't care what the leaves look like. Not dry leaf, not dregs, none of it. I've had some very good teas that were composed almost entirely of small, broken leaf fragments. I've had some teas that had nothing but beautiful, perfect, complete two leaf one bud sets, with large, long leaves whose edges had serrations that varied greatly in size, but were totally bland and uninteresting. It would seem that gu shu trees that are over picked might, in their fourth or fifth + flush produce beautiful leaves that have very little flavor or power. However, it doesn't matter to me why this happens. I am only trying to identify characteristics that are useful to me as selection criteria; not explain them. I acknowledge that the good fragment teas I've had are only good for the first few infusions and they run out of gas very quickly, but they are still a lot better than tea that looks beautiful but has no oomph.

I am curious what as to what teas impressed you. Do you mind sharing names?
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby SFLouis » Jun 11th, '13, 11:30

gasninja wrote:I am curious what as to what teas impressed you. Do you mind sharing names?


Sure.

The best examples I can give you of what I like based on what is available to me are as follows:
Any of the 2012 bricks from Bana Tea Company/Denong
2012 Yunnan Sourcing Spring Xi Kong
2012 (though it was picked in 2011) Essence of Tea Bangwei 33
2007 Gu Cha Chang Yiwu Zhengshan

There are others that I like, but these 4 satisfy my criteria most saliently.
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby gasninja » Jun 12th, '13, 08:13

I have to agree with you about the bangwei 33 and xikong. I will have to try the bana bricks. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Identifying Old Tree Leaves

Postby SFLouis » Jun 12th, '13, 12:10

Then I'm glad we like some of the same things, Gasninja :)
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