Can a leaf ever be too big?

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Nov 23rd, '17, 03:54
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Can a leaf ever be too big?

by Nefarious » Nov 23rd, '17, 03:54

I’m curious - yesterday I opened a new cake of 2012 Hai Lang Hao "Huang Shan Gu Shu" Raw Pu-erh and I was quite taken aback by the size of the leaves - mostly whole and many of 3 inches length or more.
Obviously you wouldn’t want very large leaves in a first flush but for other teas, like a pu-erh, is there such a thing as ‘too big’??

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Nov 23rd, '17, 07:51
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Location: Ottawa (Canada)

Re: Can a leaf ever be too big?

by Senlin » Nov 23rd, '17, 07:51

Nefarious wrote: I’m curious - yesterday I opened a new cake of 2012 Hai Lang Hao "Huang Shan Gu Shu" Raw Pu-erh and I was quite taken aback by the size of the leaves - mostly whole and many of 3 inches length or more.
Obviously you wouldn’t want very large leaves in a first flush but for other teas, like a pu-erh, is there such a thing as ‘too big’??
PuEr teas are usually made from Da Ye cultivars (which means big leaves), so it seems rather normal to have big leaves in a PuEr cake. Furthermore, I know that large leaves are what gives their aromatic characteristics to Taiping Houkui (green), or Fo Shou (Oolong), so it is not a sign of bad quality.

Nevertheless, be aware that some dishonest producers use quite large leaves on cakes' surfaces to hide less quality smaller leaves in their core. Check the inside to be sure.

Senlin

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Nov 23rd, '17, 21:33
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Re: Can a leaf ever be too big?

by john.b » Nov 23rd, '17, 21:33

It's not really answering the question that I take you to be asking (if there is any quality / flavor / aspect difference in using larger leaves) but there is a potential issue with drinking tea made mostly from older leaves (leaves from further down the branch, versus buds or the first two leaves). Older leaves contain more fluoride.

That's only a potential problem if you are taking in too much fluoride overall, which could be because you drink a lot of tea made from older leaves (some hei cha versions, or just low-grade tea; Lipton has more fluoride in it than any specialty teas tend to, per research testing results I've seen). In general no one needs to worry about fluoride; it's healthy, and it does promote healthy teeth. That's until their long-term intake is too high, in which case bones can become brittle, or teeth discolored or pitted, and it's possible there could be other serious side-effects like pineal gland calcification.

Tea alone wouldn't tend to do that (unless someone drinks 3 liters a day of the wrong version--that would), but a combination of high tea intake and drinking fluoride treated water might, or if a local water source (spring or well) naturally contains very high fluoride levels there could be a problem even without drinking tea. It comes up more in Ethiopia for some reason, per some hearsay, but then municipal water in developed countries would need to control levels of that mineral and lots of others. The one other place I've heard of local problems is in Tibet (and presumably also Mongolia, but I've not heard of it there), where they drink hei cha made from old leaves and also use that brick tea in cooking, so their intake is pretty high.

I wrote a long post about all that, and a shorter summary version that's easier to read through.

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... q=fluoride

Nov 24th, '17, 04:36
Posts: 24
Joined: Sep 2nd, '15, 11:44
Location: UK

Re: Can a leaf ever be too big?

by Nefarious » Nov 24th, '17, 04:36

Senlin wrote:
Nefarious wrote: I’m curious - yesterday I opened a new cake of 2012 Hai Lang Hao "Huang Shan Gu Shu" Raw Pu-erh and I was quite taken aback by the size of the leaves - mostly whole and many of 3 inches length or more.
Obviously you wouldn’t want very large leaves in a first flush but for other teas, like a pu-erh, is there such a thing as ‘too big’??
PuEr teas are usually made from Da Ye cultivars (which means big leaves), so it seems rather normal to have big leaves in a PuEr cake. Furthermore, I know that large leaves are what gives their aromatic characteristics to Taiping Houkui (green), or Fo Shou (Oolong), so it is not a sign of bad quality.

Nevertheless, be aware that some dishonest producers use quite large leaves on cakes' surfaces to hide less quality smaller leaves in their core. Check the inside to be sure.

Senlin
Ah yes - I am aware of the cake quality issue, though I've never really been caught by it. I had a ripe tuo cha recently that was made of surprisingly large leaves - the tuos that I have had before have usually been made up of a lot of small stuff. This particular cake though was fairly loose in comparison to some of my old cakes, so easy to separate without breaking the leaves too much, but I had never seen such consistently large leaves in a pu-erh - as big as some of my best oolongs

Nov 27th, '17, 08:52
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 24th, '17, 12:41

Re: Can a leaf ever be too big?

by 12Tea » Nov 27th, '17, 08:52

With pu erh you've to worry more about being too small rather than too big leaves. Especially with gu shu it's highly possible that the leaves are that large, though there are variations depending on tree size and region.

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