Identification of Plantation Leaves


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Identification of Plantation Leaves

Postby TIM » Sep 30th, '08, 10:18

Salsero wrote:
TIM wrote: sal- this tea looks way too green? I think is a good quality semi wild plantation. Tree might be around 40-80 yrs. old. Is the brew way bitter if steep for 20 sec. +? More like over steep green? my 2 cents
Tim, I forgot that Bears reviewed this tea. He finds exactly what you predict, and he also has a more detailed description of quite a varied mix of mao cha leaves. His review is HERE.


Interesting Sal. I guess drinking and looking at tea everyday helps.... The greener made of new puerh troubles me.... Anyhow, I just have to go with the flow or the growth of the tea market.... or at least understand them.

Looking at a bing is like looking at our planet. It's pretty to look afar... but if you look closer and trying to understand just a step further, the beauty always inspire.
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Postby orguz » Sep 30th, '08, 18:59

I wanted to ask members here especially nada or jim who have been in yunan's factories, and met the mao cha dealers. Is it safe to say when a known factory such as menghai or others state a certain cake to be organic, can we take their word for it.

I rather buy a pu erh beeng that claims to be pesticide free, however is it safe trusting the organic certification. All that aftertaste, cha qi, robustness, taste descriptions could be the tastes of fertilisers or pesticides?
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Postby thanks » Sep 30th, '08, 19:21

orguz wrote:I wanted to ask members here especially nada or jim who have been in yunan's factories, and met the mao cha dealers. Is it safe to say when a known factory such as menghai or others state a certain cake to be organic, can we take their word for it.

I rather buy a pu erh beeng that claims to be pesticide free, however is it safe trusting the organic certification. All that aftertaste, cha qi, robustness, taste descriptions could be the tastes of fertilisers or pesticides?

With some of the leaves on "organic" cakes, I look for leaves with holes in them, or little spots. This shows insects at one point munched on the leaves, a good sign of organic production. If you want a good look at it yourself, I highly recommend purchasing a sample of the 06 Haiwan MengPasha cake. http://cgi.ebay.com/Haiwan-Certified-Or ... m153.l1262
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Postby nada » Sep 30th, '08, 19:35

I would say that with bigger factories who have certified organic teas, it probably is organic. I've spoken to some people who work for organic certification bodies and it seems they're pretty thorough (although there's always bound to be exceptions).

I would say though that the best teas are unlikely to be certified. The farmers with some old trees on a hillside are very unlikely to be able to afford certification. Some farmers I stayed with in Yiwu didn't use any chemicals for either their plantations or old growth trees, but had no concern for any certification. They just made great teas and let people know it was grown naturally.
In my mind (I may be wrong) I'd think that a certified organic tea is more likely to come from a plantation, since it's the big factories who can afford the certification and who can tightly control their plantations. Just because a tea is organic, doesn't mean that the plants aren't overharvested or malnourished. Organic certification is a guarantee of something, but not everything.

For me, I don't worry too much about this certification, but try to buy and drink puerh which I can have some confidence in. Either confidence in the producer or confidence in my own tongue - does it have some strange metallic taste, does it give me a sore throat or headache or does it have a nice chaqi, great taste, huigan and houyun.
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Postby edkrueger » Sep 30th, '08, 21:49

Organic is almost entirely a selling point for the reason Nada mentions. Only big factories can afford the certification.
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Postby Jim Liu » Sep 30th, '08, 22:47

nada wrote:I would say though that the best teas are unlikely to be certified. The farmers with some old trees on a hillside are very unlikely to be able to afford certification. Some farmers I stayed with in Yiwu didn't use any chemicals for either their plantations or old growth trees, but had no concern for any certification. They just made great teas and let people know it was grown naturally.
In my mind (I may be wrong) I'd think that a certified organic tea is more likely to come from a plantation, since it's the big factories who can afford the certification and who can tightly control their plantations. Just because a tea is organic, doesn't mean that the plants aren't overharvested or malnourished. Organic certification is a guarantee of something, but not everything.



Well put, I feel the same way.
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Postby tony shlongini » Oct 1st, '08, 08:58

Some excellent points here.

How many times have we seen small farmers who have employed true organic methods for generations (not always out of altruism- they may not be able to afford commercial fertilizers, sprays, and whatnot even if they wanted to) only to be pushed aside by large "organic" producers who push the legal envelope in terms of defining what technically constitutes organic production. The small producer may not be able to compete with this, or even be able to afford to advertise his wares as organic.

Example- a "free range" chicken doesn't ever have to see the light of day, only have access to the outside, and even then under strictly defined guidelines. They are exempt from these rules during the first weeks of their lives, during which they become programmed to stay indoors. When they are finally allowed to roam freely, they have no inclination to go outside.

The large producer is better able to skirt the legal issues and successfully challenge any complaints, while the small guy not boasting organic production may not even own a spray can.
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