Saturday, September 22, 2012

Notes on Wuyi tea - Observing

Shui Xian
Wuyi tea falls into the category of oolong. As it is rather scarce, few shops will allow for complimentary tasting. It is therefore useful to be able to judge the quality of the tea from its appearance and the colour of its dried leaves. Good Wuyi mountain tea shaped like uniformly thick strips presents a greenish brown colour and an overall shine in the leaves. A closer examination will reveal white specks and a surface texture similar to that of a toad's back. Not the most flattering term one can think of and likely a naming convention according to Teaparker.

Moving on to the colour of the infusion, a good quality brew should either be golden orange or red with a high level of transparency. The last few concentrated drops from the pot will present a brilliant amber hue.

Finally, inspect the spent tea leaves. You will notice a rather soft leaf blade with a dark red oxidised appearance on the leaf's periphery and a central yellowish green region.

What is often stressed during tea lessons is the engagement of our senses: the eyes, nose and mouth. Hence, when it comes to spotting the real deal, we rely heavily on looking, smelling and tasting.

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