The wash of the leaves.


For general/other topics related to tea.

The wash of the leaves.

Japanese green tea
1
1%
Chinese green tea
3
4%
Other green tea
2
3%
Chinese oolong tea
12
17%
Taiwanese oolong tea
11
16%
Other oolong tea
7
10%
Indian black tea
4
6%
Other black tea
7
10%
Pu-Erh tea
18
26%
White tea
2
3%
Yellow tea
2
3%
 
Total votes : 69

Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby jayinhk » Sep 4th, '13, 10:41

I've only seen thin green string myself, but I know other people have seen worse. Bugs living in your pu can actually be considered a good thing some places!
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby kikula » Sep 4th, '13, 11:45

jayinhk wrote:If you drink pu erh, you definitely want to be rinsing the stuff! Sometimes you have to pick out your free gift: cigarette butts, turds, dead lizards, sticks, nylon string, etc. I wonder if anyone ever got a used condom in their bing?


Every time I think that I might more seriously approach pu erh world, I run across something like this. And decide, despite obvious hyperbole (right guys?) to check it out another time, maybe next lifetime. :roll:
Last edited by kikula on Sep 4th, '13, 12:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby William » Sep 4th, '13, 12:00

jayinhk wrote:I've only seen thin green string myself, but I know other people have seen worse. Bugs living in your pu can actually be considered a good thing some places!


For myself, the hygiene is a fundamental requirement for all types of tea. So, any type of tea with extraneous material, will go straight into the garbage.

Consider it as a merely personal opinion.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby jayinhk » Sep 4th, '13, 12:32

I totally understand, but some of the most interesting pu may have these issues. It's impossible to know how your tea was handled before it got to you, so the hygiene thing may be difficult to determine, even if there aren't any foreign objects in your tea!
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby jextxadore » Sep 4th, '13, 12:32

William wrote:
jayinhk wrote:I've only seen thin green string myself, but I know other people have seen worse. Bugs living in your pu can actually be considered a good thing some places!


For myself, the hygiene is a fundamental requirement for all types of tea. So, any type of tea with extraneous material, will go straight into the garbage.

Consider it as a merely personal opinion.


I'll happily be your garbage can.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby jextxadore » Sep 4th, '13, 12:38

jayinhk wrote:I totally understand, but some of the most interesting pu may have these issues. It's impossible to know how your tea was handled before it got to you, so the hygiene thing may be difficult to determine, even if there aren't any foreign objects in your tea!


Personally, I'm quite satisfied that boiling water will take care of most unhygienic things in tea. Otherwise, roasting the tea in a pan for a minute works too.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby William » Sep 4th, '13, 12:45

jayinhk wrote:I totally understand, but some of the most interesting pu may have these issues.

I understand what you say, but I'm not willing to drink a cup of tea accompanied by cigarettes, worms or any other kind of material.

jayinhk wrote:It's impossible to know how your tea was handled before it got to you, so the hygiene thing may be difficult to determine, even if there aren't any foreign objects in your tea!

I understand, and this is why it is important for me to have a close relationship based on trust between me and the various tea vendors from which I purchase. If I receive tea with foreign material, or if I have more than a doubt about the hygienic aspect, this relationship will break immediately.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby theredbaron » Sep 4th, '13, 13:07

William wrote:I understand, and this is why it is important for me to have a close relationship based on trust between me and the various tea vendors from which I purchase. If I receive tea with foreign material, or if I have more than a doubt about the hygienic aspect, this relationship will break immediately.


This has nothing to do with vendors, but with production.
Anyhow, i would worry much less about one or the other strange item that can be found occasionally in Pu Erh - that will neither kill nor harm you. Herbicides, pesticides, and other environmental poisons are far more problematic - and you don't see them. But that is a problem not just with tea, but with all food items.
Even countries with the most stringent laws have regular scandals. And in some countries items are allowed which are not in others - such as genetically modified veggies in the US, which will not be allowed into many European countries (Monsanto and their genetically modified crap - one of my particular pet hates...).
If you are from the US, and bought in supermarkets, or eaten in restaurants, you most definitely have eaten far more unhealthy food already, and possibly do on a regular base, than what you may find in Pu Erh.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby William » Sep 4th, '13, 13:28

theredbaron wrote:
William wrote:


This has nothing to do with vendors, but with production.

Is the seller who chooses who to buy the tea, which then proposes to the customer. If he does not know or does not consider the problem concerning pesticides, fertilizers and methods with which the tea was produced, in my opinion it is not a good seller.

theredbaron wrote:Anyhow, i would worry much less about one or the other strange item that can be found occasionally in Pu Erh - that will neither kill nor harm you.

For myself, I think that the presence of cigarette butts or pieces of nylon into a tea may cause damage. Of course, nobody died, but this does not justify the presence of such materials.

theredbaron wrote:Herbicides, pesticides, and other environmental poisons are far more problematic - and you don't see them. But that is a problem not just with tea, but with all food items.
Even countries with the most stringent laws have regular scandals. And in some countries items are allowed which are not in others - such as genetically modified veggies in the US, which will not be allowed into many European countries (Monsanto and their genetically modified crap - one of my particular pet hates...).
If you are from the US, and bought in supermarkets, or eaten in restaurants, you most definitely have eaten far more unhealthy food already, and possibly do on a regular base, than what you may find in Pu Erh.

Of course, avoid any pesticide or herbicide is impossible, but with a minimum of attention, you can avoid most of them.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby theredbaron » Sep 4th, '13, 15:08

William wrote:Is the seller who chooses who to buy the tea, which then proposes to the customer. If he does not know or does not consider the problem concerning pesticides, fertilizers and methods with which the tea was produced, in my opinion it is not a good seller.




A vendor cannot completely control production, in most cases. During the production process tea just goes through too many hands - from planting, to picking, and all the assorted processes - each by different experts - until one gets the finished product.
Especially in Pu Erh tea, where the vendor buys finished cakes, or buys Mao Cha from a farm and gets it processed in a factory, a vendor simply cannot look inside the cakes. It's just impossible.

Anyhow, i have been drinking Chinese Tea for the past 23 years, Pu Erh for 15 years or so, and i have yet to find a cigarette butt. I have found a few shells from sunflower seeds, a few insects, some hair (hopefully from a lovely young woman ;) ) and sometimes a string from one of these woven nylon bags so cheap and popular here.

No product in Asia can be trusted to be pesticide and herbicide free, and tea is mostly produced in Asia. Even in the West you can often not trust what you buy in the shops, whatever fancy "organic" label might be stuck on whatever product.

With what you expect - i can only suggest to stay away from tea.

Sorry.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby William » Sep 4th, '13, 15:31

theredbaron wrote:
William wrote:

With what you expect - i can only suggest to stay away from tea.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I prefer to have faith in trusted sellers.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby theredbaron » Sep 4th, '13, 15:53

William wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
William wrote:

With what you expect - i can only suggest to stay away from tea.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I prefer to have faith in trusted sellers.



No seller can guarantee for something that is out of his control. Tea production and processing is out of a vendors control.
If a vendor guarantees you that a particular tea grown and processed in Asia (with maybe Japan and Taiwan as a tentative exception, somewhat, but if you look how forthcoming Japan is with information on all environmental issues...) is chemical free by European standards, or produced by European standard hygiene - then that vendor is not to be trusted.

In China, India, etc - where the bulk of tea comes from - there simply are no strict government controls or enforcement of standards as in Europe. This concept just does not exist here in Asia yet.

A vendor might try to convince his sources to introduce hygienic standards, and might have, over time, slowly, some partial success, but that's about it. But in a continent with so many urgent problems, European food safety standards are quite on the back on the list things to enforce.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby Evan Draper » Sep 4th, '13, 17:05

theredbaron wrote:In China, India, etc - where the bulk of tea comes from - there simply are no strict government controls or enforcement of standards as in Europe. This concept just does not exist here in Asia yet.

This New York Times articleabout safety controls in spices has been making the rounds, and may be relevant here. The takeaway is that quality control is pretty bad (there are a lot of US salmonella cases that originate in spices from Mexico and India) but India at least is taking this very seriously, and significant improvements have been made without too much difficulty. Of course, it may be that ag producers are motivated to clean up supply chains in commodities that can easily be sourced from countries other than theirs. If no other country can produce your famous tea, well, you don't have much incentive to get it certified organic.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby William » Sep 4th, '13, 18:11

theredbaron wrote:No seller can guarantee for something that is out of his control. Tea production and processing is out of a vendors control.
If a vendor guarantees you that a particular tea grown and processed in Asia (with maybe Japan and Taiwan as a tentative exception, somewhat, but if you look how forthcoming Japan is with information on all environmental issues...) is chemical free by European standards, or produced by European standard hygiene - then that vendor is not to be trusted.

In China, India, etc - where the bulk of tea comes from - there simply are no strict government controls or enforcement of standards as in Europe. This concept just does not exist here in Asia yet.

A vendor might try to convince his sources to introduce hygienic standards, and might have, over time, slowly, some partial success, but that's about it. But in a continent with so many urgent problems, European food safety standards are quite on the back on the list things to enforce.


Thank you for your discussion points.
I have to say that I agree in part about what you have said, in some countries such as China and India, it is extremely difficult to be able to get a check on the final product, either because we are talking about large quantities of tea, and because the material often passes in different hands, before the seller purchases the final product.

But I want to ask you something, how is it possible that there are some (few) sellers, also known enough here on the forum, that are able to offer a more or less wide range of tea products from organic or low pesticide tea garden garden, whether it's Japanese green teas rather than Taiwanese oolong teas or pu-erh Chinese teas, and other vendors (the majority) that offer a more or less wide range of tea, but that none of these comes from organic or low pesticide tea garden garden.
It would seem then, that they are only two potential solutions, or the first lie, or seconds do not want to/can not offer such products.
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Re: The wash of the leaves.

Postby theredbaron » Sep 5th, '13, 02:02

William wrote:
But I want to ask you something, how is it possible that there are some (few) sellers, also known enough here on the forum, that are able to offer a more or less wide range of tea products from organic or low pesticide tea garden garden, whether it's Japanese green teas rather than Taiwanese oolong teas or pu-erh Chinese teas, and other vendors (the majority) that offer a more or less wide range of tea, but that none of these comes from organic or low pesticide tea garden garden.
It would seem then, that they are only two potential solutions, or the first lie, or seconds do not want to/can not offer such products.


In Japan and Taiwan it may be easier as both are modern countries, where people have access to good education and are wealthy enough to care about those issues, and chances are higher that when something that is offered as organic is indeed so. Nevertheless, if you look at the Fukushima power plant scandal, you still see that there is still much lacking in regards to environmental issues and transparency.

In China though - you can just hope that organic is organic indeed. There is a higher chance that when leaves from Pu Erh teas come from wild trees in far off gardens that they are indeed organic. But there is no real control. With boutique teas there is a higher chance that individual vendors and producers have more personal control over this. But teas will still go through factories to process. There is a higher chance that a producer, or vendor (if it his production) can find a factory whose standards of hygiene might be higher. But there is no guarantee.

In any of the larger factory teas there just is no guarantee at all. A vendor might visit a factory, but just cannot control the finished product, or guarantee that leaves are indeed from organic gardens. Often you cannot even trust that when a tea is labeled from a particular area, that leaves from that area are indeed used, and not only a small percentage, and the remainder from wherever the leaves were cheap.

In any of the stages of production there might be insects crawling into the leaves, a worker might smoke a cigarette while sorting the leaves, or chew on some sunflower seeds. Don't forget - China might be booming, but it still is a developing country with glaring discrepancies of wealth distribution and access to education. Hours are long and labor is cheap.

Just look how Pu Erh's are produced there. People are hired by farmers to pick the leaves, the leaves are left in the open to dry, transported to factories, where they are stored again in large heaps in warehouses. How can you stop a beetle or a fly getting in the the leaves, or some dirt getting mixed in?

Part of the charm of Chinese teas is that many teas are still hand processed in the traditional way, and not industrially processed.

Anyhow, while there are some Chinese teas that carry the label of organic, all we can do is hoping that this indeed so, as there is no real functioning government enforcement as in Europe (and even there are regular scandals of producers cheating).

The largest market of Chinese teas is not Europe, where there is a high awareness of environmental issues and the advantages of organically produced food, but in China itself, and neighboring countries where there still is little awareness of such issues. It will take time. Also in Europe it took time. When i was a child in the 1970's also in Europe very few people talked about things like "organic".

While these issues are beginning to be discussed in Asia, we are still quite far away from having the necessary regulations and enforcement, or even wide enough awareness in the society to issue such demands on the governments here. People here have more pressing issues - things that people in Europe take for granted nowadays are still luxury in many parts of Asia, such as free education, access to proper health care, etc. Nobody can blame people here if their priorities are somewhat different than in developed countries.
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