Practical Knowledge｜Quality Tea Cultivation Facts
High-quality tea is difficult to cultivate.
On a sunny day, a pot of good tea often enables us to ease our entire body and taste for a long time. On summer days, a pot of green tea in the afternoon break enables us to be refreshed.
Tea quality is influenced by inherent compositions and their smell, taste, shape, color and type of chemical changes of the tea. How much do you know about what affect tea quality?
1. Tea tree seeds
Like big-leaf tea and small-leaf tea, Longjing tea and Oolong tea are different. In chemical composition of fresh tea leaves, the extractum of big-leaf tea is 3-7% higher than that of small-leaf tea, tea polyphenol of big-leaf tea is 5-8% higher than that of small-leaf tea.
Flavor and quality of tea depends on its composition. Tea polyphenol is bitter and astringent; amino acid tastes fresh and sweet; caffeine is bitter. Big-leaf tea contains more tea polyphenols, caffeine and other active substances, so this tea has strong taste with strong and astringent effect; small-leaf tea with high content of carotene and carotol can make tea with high aroma.
The Tea Sage - Lu Yu states, "In terms of soil for tea growing, soil with fully weathered rocks is the best and gravelly soil is followed by yellow clay". The Chorography of Pu'er Perfecture of Qing Dynasty states in the section of "Products", "There are many hills except for the six tea growing mountains, but the tea produced in Mansong Hill is the best. Pu'er tea produced in fields with red soil on the hillside are clean in aroma, perhaps it is because the soil is favorable for tea of such nature and taste".
Ruan Fu of Qing Dynasty states, “Tea produced in the six tea growing mountains varies in smell, which depends on soil properties; the tea growing in red soil or soil with weathered rocks is the best and helps digestion, dispelling of coldness and relieve of internal heat". Even the same type of tea growing in different types of soil is different in their proportions, smell, taste and color.
3. Altitude and climate
The climate is affected by latitude and altitude. In the same latitude and the same type of soil, the tea growing at higher altitude is better than that growing at lower altitude. The higher the latitude is, the richer the inherent substances the tea contains are. As the saying goes, high altitude and mist contribute to good tea.
4. Sunshine duration
Sunshine is an important element for photosynthesis of tea trees, so tea with sunshine is better than tea in shade. In this regard, Lu Yu states, "Tea leaves in the shade is unworthy of picking because it stagnates and causes diseases".
5. Peripheral ecological environment
Healthy and pollution-free growing environment is the basis for the healthy growth of tea trees. The more diversed environment around tea trees is, the richer tea aroma is. Certainly, plants giving off peculiar smell or containing harmful substances cannot be cultivated around plantation places. It is not advisable to have rubber trees around the tea plantation.
6. Tree age
The older tea tree grows, the deeper the roots go and the more minerals the roots absorb from underground. The tea is purer, stronger and sweeter in taste and can be repeatedly brewed. Tea made of leaves of ancient tea trees tends to be sold at high prices.
What factors else affect the quality of tea? Apart from these innate factors, picking season, tenderness of picked tea leaves and tea making technology also have much effect on tea;even the good raw materials could be wasted due to improper production. For example, the method for fixation and the degree of fixation will not only affect the shape and color of dry semi-finished tea, but also change the taste and aroma of the tea.