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.