Oolong tea grading.

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

Jan 8th 16 5:24 am
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Oolong tea grading.

by Chargerucd » Jan 8th 16 5:24 am

I have read in some websites about some teas being "competition grade" or "supreme grade" or "top grade" or nonpareil.
So I was wondering if anybody can tell me the differences of these grades. Maybe in orders of quality, or in rarity.
Just so that I can tell when looking around on the web.


Jan 8th 16 7:12 am
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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by .m. » Jan 8th 16 7:12 am

Those are just claims and labels by the producer or the vendor. The tea itself may or may not be good quality. In terms of comparison, they might make sense only if you look at different teas from the same producer.
If a "competition grade" tea had actually won a competition they would probably tell you about it.

Jan 8th 16 3:12 pm
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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by ethan » Jan 8th 16 3:12 pm

+1 to comments of .m.

I'll add that even competition-winning teas don't please everyone. Also, the custom of using boiling water for judging makes me suspect results. A particular oolong may be the best w/ overly hot water though it might lose to many other oolongs if prepared at a lower (& for me, proper) temperature.

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Jan 8th 16 4:13 pm
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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by Evan Draper » Jan 8th 16 4:13 pm

One caveat, and I hate to do this: these classifiers are SOMETIMES English translations of obscure but "objective" Chinese classification systems, but we are operating with multiple layers of uncertainty here. This is probably not useful information for most people, but something one might start to see with a lot more tastings under their belt. I will forego any tea examples, and instead use the analogy that maple syrup is graded based on its transparency, and you may yet prefer a lower grade on your particular stack of pancakes.

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Jan 8th 16 5:01 pm
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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by Frisbeehead » Jan 8th 16 5:01 pm

.m. is right,the classification differs from vendor to vendor, and is a sort of proprietary grading system.

However I have heard that "competition grade" oolongs, for example, have had the stems removed from them. That is one consistency I've seen among different vendors.

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Jan 8th 16 5:10 pm
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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by pedant » Jan 8th 16 5:10 pm

it depends on the context.
as others have said, if there were a real competition, the vendor would probably be talking about it.

most tea 'grading' terms are just all-but-meaningless marketing hype with no objective, universal meaning.

Jan 12th 16 8:29 am
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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by Bok » Jan 12th 16 8:29 am

In Taiwan, competition grade means normally a more oxidized tea.

In Taiwan the grade is in relation to the prize.
Normally you say in what price range you want to buy a certain kind of tea:
For example, I want Lishan tea for 1000NT/jing or 1200 or 1500 etc.

Supreme and top grade just sounds like marketing bullshit to me…

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Re: Oolong tea grading.

by debunix » Jan 12th 16 7:29 pm

I pay attention to the grades within a single vendor's offerings as meaning, 'our good/better/best'; if you've shopped from the vendor before, and their grades are consistent quality year to year, it is helpful to pay attention. But I do not expect any consistency from vendor to vendor.