Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guessing game

Can you tell which leaf would make better tea and why?

This is ONE white tea plant less than 10 years old. Both leaves were picked from here. As you can tell, there are many shapes, sizes, shades, shines within one plant.

The reason for this is the climate and weather change. Small dull leaves were caused by lack of moisture when it's still young and tender. The dark shiny large leaves have plenty of food and moisture while growing. The ripples are signs of lots nutrients causing the over growth, deep saw teeth, long pointy tips are all signs of good nutrients causing extended growth. Shine is associated with essential oil, essential oil is....fragrance agent!

The answer is obvious now that the upper leave will make better tea than the lower.


Soïwatter said...

Good game! I'm eager to know the right solution, and if my assumptions are right.

So, I'll try a little guess:
- First the color: the upper leaf has a lighter and shinier green. The second one is dull, as lifeless...
- Second, the upper leaf is better shaped, with well-designed crenulation and vein. Moreover, the leaf seems thicker and with more material. The second one seems to be a lifeless limp flabby old leaf.

So I think it is the upper one.
Am I right?

LACheesemonger said...

LOL, that's an easy one. It just like with wine, all depends on the producer! True you have to start with a good varietal, but without good producer, you get worm :) ?

Wha, it wasn't a trick Q?

I'd guess the smaller leaf, because like with orchid flowers, the ones with thicker petals, more 'substance' last longer.

The lower leaf is thicker, probably has more extract, more complexity to give when brewed?

Hmm, don't agree with Soiwatter, upper one looks thinner, though you really can't tell that from the picture. Better to choose after the tea leafs have been processed for drinking.

Maitre_Tea said...

Better is such an subjective maybe there's no right answer? The things I've wanted to point out have already been pointed out...I think the leaf on the top might make a more full-bodied tea with better mouth feel. Might make more bitter/astringent tea? The one on the bottom looks like it might yield a more delicate brew.

lastcoyote said...

is it that one of them will make better tea than the other because 'the other' isn't actually tea? though if that is the case, i'd not really be able to tell which is which :)

Ryan said...

The larger one looks like an understory leaf that is adapted for the shade; the smaller one looks like a top-story leaf that gets more direct sunlight.

If the larger one is understory because it's an older tree, then I'd go with that one, all tea processing skill being equal. If it's just the end of the season on a young tree, then I'd go with the smaller leaf.

Soïwatter said...

So, I made a good guess...
The livelier the leaf, the better the tea.

Concerning Ryan's thought, understory old leaves are often very dull: like for camellia (but tea is a camellia)