Thursday, March 13, 2014
How not to fail on shopping tea online
What is your criterion when you buy tea online?
You might not know if the tea is good even though you read the description. Shops usually write nice things about their tea. You might have wondered if this is worth its price or if it is really delicious. You cannot smell or taste it online. What should you consider when choosing tea? I think that the pictures of tea on the site is very important. A picture is worth a thousand words. You can’t tell everything from pictures but you can tell a lot. Here is a quiz. If you find two teas at the same price, which tea will you buy, A or B? One has better quality than the other.
Check color and shape
This quiz is not difficult for people who is familiar to Japanese tea. If you don’t know which tea is good, you are lucky: today I’m writing this for you. The answer is “B”. Actually they are not the same price. A is 2,000yen/100g and B is 4,000yen.
First, check the color and texture. Good tea has profound hue of dark green and luster on surface. It is not good to have yellowish, reddish tone or dried texture.
Next, let’s look at the shape. Good tea consists even shaped pieces. They are like thin needles. Young soft leaves can become good tasting tea. They are elastic and can be rolled up nicely. While it is difficult to tightly roll stiff leaves and they can break during production. That is why pieces gets more uneven and rough with low grade tea. You will find whitish stems, distorted and small broken pieces.
Now, let’s take a look the pictures once again. Doesn’t “B” look better now?
I hope that knowing this mere fact makes a lot of difference in your future shopping. The tea A and B in the photos are both gyokuro, but this rule works for kabusecha and sencha (not deep-steamed sencha), too. Look for tea with even pieces of tightly-rolled deep-green leaves and this is the tip for less risk of failing on shopping for tea.