Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 26th, '14, 03:25

+1 and well said.

Tea come from Camelia Sinesis and it does not recognize any border or country. It is human who make them different. When we drink tea from any region, we should enjoy them as tea processed and served in different styles
and enjoy its intrinsic value and quality without any regional inclination.

The real tea lover should explore tea from all regions and style.
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Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby mcrdotcom » Jan 27th, '14, 05:59

It's my understanding that in Taiwan, they see stemless leaves as lower quality and not delicately hand picked/processed, and this is why you often see Goashan with stems, especially premium Goashan. Origin offers a wide range and every Goashan I've had from them has been high quality and every leaf with stem, but it made for a great cuppa tea! :)
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Tead Off » Jan 27th, '14, 14:06

mcrdotcom wrote:It's my understanding that in Taiwan, they see stemless leaves as lower quality and not delicately hand picked/processed, and this is why you often see Goashan with stems, especially premium Goashan. Origin offers a wide range and every Goashan I've had from them has been high quality and every leaf with stem, but it made for a great cuppa tea! :)

Yes, this is standard procedure. The 2 leaves and bud are left on the stems and processed and rolled into balls. Separating the leaves might be an interesting experiment but the full flavor of gaoshan includes some stem. Too much stem can throw the tea out of balance.

Leaves separated from their stems can still be high quality leaves, but the sorting process should eliminate stray leaves for higher end gaoshan.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby wyardley » Jan 27th, '14, 14:19

mcrdotcom wrote:It's my understanding that in Taiwan, they see stemless leaves as lower quality and not delicately hand picked/processed, and this is why you often see Goashan with stems, especially premium Goashan.

I could be remembering wrong, but I believe that they're usually (hand) destemmed for competitions.

It's been my (very unscientific) observation that I usually actually like teas that have some stems included - it seems to smooth out the taste a little.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 27th, '14, 21:38

Tead Off wrote:
Leaves separated from their stems can still be high quality leaves, but the sorting process should eliminate stray leaves for higher end gaoshan.


Think of it like the broccoli business. If the farmers teach you that the real goodies in broccoli is just the flower without stems, they will go bust. Tea is also like that. Vendors and producers know this well but commercially it is not viable. Only high quality tea are correctly sorted, the rest they would have a lot of stories to deceive consumer.
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Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby debunix » Jan 27th, '14, 22:11

Given that some quite tasty tea can be made from tea stems alone, I wouldn't assume their inclusion in fine teas is accidental or to up the weight per leaf.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 28th, '14, 00:33

debunix wrote:Given that some quite tasty tea can be made from tea stems alone, I wouldn't assume their inclusion in fine teas is accidental or to up the weight per leaf.


It could be for some reason that stem is added in but if we pay for the stem at the price of the leaves then it may not be worthwhile.

I haven't try any tea that is sold as tea stem alone. Most of the time for curiosity I separate all the different part of the tea leaves to brew for knowledge. For leisure brewing I just dump everything in.

Cheers!
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby wyardley » Jan 28th, '14, 02:49

Teaism wrote:I haven't try any tea that is sold as tea stem alone. Most of the time for curiosity I separate all the different part of the tea leaves to brew for knowledge. For leisure brewing I just dump everything in.

I've had kukicha, a roasted Japanese stem tea ("twig tea") that's fairly boring, but nice and smooth tasting, and allegedly lower in caffeine than regular teas.

Most TGY is single leaf and destemmed (I don't know if this is still true, but in the past, I think it's generally been done by hand), one reason the leaves don't expand as much as Taiwanese rolled high-mountain style oolongs with two leaves / bud. I've seen Muzha TGY and Dong Ding (and possibly Anxi TGY) both ways.

My understanding from some articles is that liu'an "bone" tea (no relation to other types of liu'an tea) is made from oolong stems which were then roasted. Obviously not a high-class tea, but I'd be curious to get my hands on some. Some more discussion of this tea in the post here:
viewtopic.php?p=215999#p215999
You can see a picture here:
http://www.skip4tea.com/%E5%85%AD-%E5%A ... doit=order
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 28th, '14, 09:55

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

I have some 50s, 70s, 80s and 90s TGY and most of them are without stems.

The Cultural Revolution tea has a lot of stem. I have a 1968 Fu Chuang, which was a rubbish tea then, but now it is a treasure. This is interesting as I have to separate 6 types of leaves and stem and brewed them individually. They need to be mixed again in different types and ratio to achieve a desirable end result depends on the combination of these leaves. Surprising, a few stalk of stem alter the concocted character slightly and make them more cohesive, although the stem by itself is not very exciting.

I guess the only way we learn is to constantly explore and work hard to find out. Different people may have different perception and even years of experience, I might still be wrong but I am willing to learn.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby entropyembrace » Jan 28th, '14, 15:07

Tead Off wrote:And, while we're at it, the idea of calling a semi-oxidized tea grown in a different country other than China, ie., India (Darjeeling), or Japan, an oolong, is not correct, IMO. They should be referred to as semi-oxidized teas. They neither taste nor resemble oolongs in any way except that they are oxidized to a degree.


What do any two Chinese oolongs have in common that oolong from another country doesn't have?
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby wyardley » Jan 28th, '14, 21:06

entropyembrace wrote:What do any two Chinese oolongs have in common that oolong from another country doesn't have?

The production "know-how".

Some "oolongs" produced in other countries are made by Chinese producers / workers, for example, Zealong. I don't think it's incorrect to call the tea oolong if it uses the exact same production methods. But, correct me if I'm wrong, I think most other partially-oxidized teas do not use the exact same production process.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Teaprocessing.svg
has a good basic overview, though there are some books and other resources that have more detailed overview of the process.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby entropyembrace » Jan 28th, '14, 22:55

wyardley wrote:
entropyembrace wrote:What do any two Chinese oolongs have in common that oolong from another country doesn't have?

The production "know-how".

Some "oolongs" produced in other countries are made by Chinese producers / workers, for example, Zealong. I don't think it's incorrect to call the tea oolong if it uses the exact same production methods. But, correct me if I'm wrong, I think most other partially-oxidized teas do not use the exact same production process.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Teaprocessing.svg
has a good basic overview, though there are some books and other resources that have more detailed overview of the process.


Isn't it silly to think that thousands of tea producers share secret knowledge of how to make oolong just because they're Chinese? Especially if an overview is published in English on Wikipedia?

Also what exact same production process are we talking about? There's a huge variety of oolong even within China, how is a high fire wuyi yancha anything like a nuclear green tgy?
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby wyardley » Jan 28th, '14, 23:14

entropyembrace wrote:Isn't it silly to think that thousands of tea producers share secret knowledge of how to make oolong just because they're Chinese? Especially if an overview is published in English on Wikipedia?

Also what exact same production process are we talking about? There's a huge variety of oolong even within China, how is a high fire wuyi yancha anything like a nuclear green tgy?

I didn't say it was secret. I'm not trying to fetishize Oolong tea as some kind of Ancient Chinese Secret.

But just because the basic process has been documented doesn't mean that a) it's easy to do (like any craft, it requires hands-on skill to really master), or b) that people in other places will use the same methods. So it's been done - for example, I seem to recall one or two actual Darjeelings that follow the oolong production process, and Zealong. Most of the places that have done it successfully have imported Chinese workers and Chinese equipment because they have the requisite experience.

I think mostly what we're trying to say is that just because a tea is partially oxidized doesn't mean it's automatically an oolong (Korean hwang cha is one example of a partially oxidized tea that's not an oolong).

I don't think most of the partially oxidized Darjeelings use the same process at all, I'm sure someone may have more details, but my guess is that they may follow the same process as for black (red) tea, but just stop the process before the tea is fully oxidized. I can't vouch for the veracity of the information, but see, e.g., the explanation at
http://www.cantonteaco.com/blog/2014/01 ... an-secret/
[edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjeeling ... ing_oolong has a little information about Darjeeling "oolongs" as well]

And I think some of the "air conditioning" processed TGY does follow a slightly different process in parts, but as I understand it, the steps are pretty much the same for all oolongs. The parameters (degree of oxidation, degree of roast, type of roast) vary, the picking style and the way the tea is shaped (ball vs. stripe), and of course, some manufacturers do all steps by hand vs. mechanizing some or all steps.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby TIM » Jan 29th, '14, 20:06

Teaism wrote:Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

I have some 50s, 70s, 80s and 90s TGY and most of them are without stems.

The Cultural Revolution tea has a lot of stem. I have a 1968 Fu Chuang, which was a rubbish tea then, but now it is a treasure. This is interesting as I have to separate 6 types of leaves and stem and brewed them individually. They need to be mixed again in different types and ratio to achieve a desirable end result depends on the combination of these leaves. Surprising, a few stalk of stem alter the concocted character slightly and make them more cohesive, although the stem by itself is not very exciting.

I guess the only way we learn is to constantly explore and work hard to find out. Different people may have different perception and even years of experience, I might still be wrong but I am willing to learn.


I thought we are talking about Taiwanese oolong? Not anxi right?
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby kyarazen » Jan 29th, '14, 22:35

wyardley wrote:
mcrdotcom wrote:It's my understanding that in Taiwan, they see stemless leaves as lower quality and not delicately hand picked/processed, and this is why you often see Goashan with stems, especially premium Goashan.

I could be remembering wrong, but I believe that they're usually (hand) destemmed for competitions.

It's been my (very unscientific) observation that I usually actually like teas that have some stems included - it seems to smooth out the taste a little.


and they sell the stems as dong ting or gao shan kukicha! missing the high fragrance and the energy of the leaf, but sweet and smooth to drink. but unfortunately i've not been able to find some locally for quite a while :(
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