Big Leaf Varietal vs. Arbor Tree


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Big Leaf Varietal vs. Arbor Tree

Postby teakid » Sep 12th, '08, 00:10

I've been wondering about the difference between the two. How can you tell them apart? I'm suspicious about the # of arbor trees still remain and that manufacturers advertise "old growth tea" or "organic" on the front of the wrapper but states 'big leaf varietal' on the back of the wrapper. So, would the stated 'big leaf varietal' materials used likely be those from plantations? How much would a true piece of 'arbor tree' puerh cake cost now-a-days, $40+???
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Re: Big Leaf Varietal vs. Arbor Tree

Postby hop_goblin » Sep 12th, '08, 10:51

teakid wrote:I've been wondering about the difference between the two. How can you tell them apart? I'm suspicious about the # of arbor trees still remain and that manufacturers advertise "old growth tea" or "organic" on the front of the wrapper but states 'big leaf varietal' on the back of the wrapper. So, would the stated 'big leaf varietal' materials used likely be those from plantations? How much would a true piece of 'arbor tree' puerh cake cost now-a-days, $40+???


Well, there are an abundance of arbor trees in Yunnan. Arbor trees are part of the natural landscape. However, not all arbor trees are suitable for drinking. In this sense, they are limited. It is very difficult to differentiate between all leaf varieties. There are few guides. However, Arbor or old growth may be more robust in nature; they may have thicker veins ( "they may" being the operative word); they may have more silvery down on the underside of the leaf; they may appear darker in color; and lastly which is the most important, they taste differently and give a different Chayun than plantation leaf. They are more active in nature, and some suggest there is a cooling affect of which I have personally experienced. - no not menthol. The ability to distinguish between arbor vs plantation is a skill that must be honed. One of which I am currently trying to become proficient in. Really, it is hard to describe. You just know that it is when you taste it.

As for broad vs arbor, if memory serves me correctly, all Arbor are broad but not all broad are arbor. I believe the chinese gov't have designated the leaves from a particular bush that are larger than 24cm as broad leaf.
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Postby heavydoom » Sep 12th, '08, 14:17

i remembered something being discussed about the classifications of sizes of leaves in this video that someone posted here, watch it :


http://v.cctv.com/html/documentary/2008 ... 31_2.shtml
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Postby teakid » Sep 13th, '08, 02:19

That's a great video. Thanks!

I'm going to be more careful with my pu selection, especially the so claimed 'organic' or 'sun tai' beengs out there.
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Postby hop_goblin » Sep 13th, '08, 09:48

teakid wrote:That's a great video. Thanks!

I'm going to be more careful with my pu selection, especially the so claimed 'organic' or 'sun tai' beengs out there.


If you like organic, I would go with JingMai. JingMai is an eco musem in china. Protected. But then again, the only challenge is whether you are getting real Jing Mai.
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Postby teakid » Sep 13th, '08, 12:47

Ah, thanks Hop! That explains why most of the JingMai pu I had were so good...and expensive.
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Postby tony shlongini » Sep 13th, '08, 13:18

teakid wrote:Ah, thanks Hop! That explains why most of the JingMai pu I had were so good...and expensive.


Strong, too. They seem to have a lot of backbone.
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Postby Salsero » Sep 13th, '08, 15:51

Hop, you inspired me to dig out my 2007 Jingmai Mountain Spring Puerh Tea Cake by the Kunming Ruipinhao Tea Co. and bought from Puerhshop. I had not yet tasted it. It's pretty good. Strong, bold taste, clean, a tendency to be rough on longer infusions, and pretty good either 1) chaqi or 2) caffeine rush, not sure which, but it warms me right up!

I think I may have to put some of this in the Box Pass and maybe order another cake for aging. At $16 a cake I don't see how I can go wrong! The actual cake is much prettier than Jim's photo.
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Postby hop_goblin » Sep 13th, '08, 17:04

Salsero wrote:Hop, you inspired me to dig out my 2007 Jingmai Mountain Spring Puerh Tea Cake by the Kunming Ruipinhao Tea Co. and bought from Puerhshop. I had not yet tasted it. It's pretty good. Strong, bold taste, clean, a tendency to be rough on longer infusions, and pretty good either 1) chaqi or 2) caffeine rush, not sure which, but it warms me right up!

I think I may have to put some of this in the Box Pass and maybe order another cake for aging. At $16 a cake I don't see how I can go wrong! The actual cake is much prettier than Jim's photo.



Jingmai is known to have a stong nutty profile. Sure sounds like you hit the mark!
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Postby Salsero » Sep 13th, '08, 19:36

hop_goblin wrote: Jingmai is known to have a stong nutty profile.
Well, if nutty means the raw cashew taste I find in pan fired greens, no. But if nutty means the meaty, slightly astringent sweetness of walnuts or pecans, yep!
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