When it comes to buying tea, there are a few guidelines one needs to follow. They aren’t rules but merely suggestions to help in the process of finding good-quality tea. Many different sources sell tea online and judging them online can be a very tedious job because it is impossible to smell and see them.
There is no sure shot way of objectively grading tea, especially when it comes to the expensive ones. The industry works differently from the wine or coffee industry. However, to understand the topic better, let’s know the different characteristics of premium loose-leaf tea.
The leaf’s shape and colour have a lot to tell about the quality. The shape varies from one kind to the other. Even the condition of the leaves will have to say tons about the quality of the beverage. The unbroken leaves are the most preferred ones, be it the bud or leaf. When the leaves are broken, bitterness follows. It is also a sign of machine harvest. However, black tea is known for being cut down purposely for providing a strong taste. Many times, wulongs are bruised intentionally for improving appearance and flavour.
The examination of the wet and dry leaves is necessary. The wet leaf has to tell a great deal about the quality. It will show if oxidization was done or not. The way the processing has been done can be clearly understood from the colour.
Age is also another factor that might change the colour of the leaves. Upon brewing, black tea will give out a reddish tinge, leaving a ring around the cup.
When it comes to aroma, they are going to be of two distinct types. One is when the leaves are wet, and the other is when they are dry. If there isn’t any aroma in the dry leaves, one needs to be suspicious. Green tea is known for having a fresh, light, and soothing fragrance. The smell will vary from one type to the other. If the scent is lost pretty soon, the quality of the beverage is not good. The fragrance is just as crucial at the taste.
When looking at premium loose-leaf tea, the touch matters a lot as well. Through touch, one can understand if the leaves are coarse or smooth. It will also tell if they are light or heavy. Green tea is known for feeling soft and not coarse. There will be differences based on the type of leaves. Whatever the type be, the leaves shouldn’t crumble easily. If it does, it indicates that they are either too old or have been baked for too long.
The last aspect would be the taste of the beverage. The taste of green tea would not be very astringent and should also be fresh. On the other hand, black tea would be fresh and full-bodied. There is also a sweet aftertaste. The feeling must be good after drinking a cup of freshly brewed tea.
Some of the options in the market are known for providing a very delightful taste, while others can be dramatic.
How to Buy Tea Online
It is not impossible to find good options online, which may not be available at the retail stored. As it is hard to smell or taste the leaves, it is essential to go through the photos. They will give an idea of how organized or nicely chosen the leaves are in the shot. Also, go for a company that you can trust. Read the reviews and ask people around to know which companies are the best online. Many sellers deceive their customers. Nobody wants to be their prey. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry.