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2013 Spring Green Tea

As we wait for our new season green tea to arrive, we thought it might be a good time to have a look at what makes our Pure Green tea oh so special. We've looked at how our organic green tea is grown, and around this time last year we took a brief look at the process of making spring green tea, but this year I thought we could go a little bit more specific and talk about one aspect in particular — hair.

When you've brought our green tea, you probably would've noticed all the furry fluff in your bag of tea — this fluff comes from the tiny tea hairs that have fallen off of the dried tea leaves.

Not all green teas have this hair though. In fact, only a teeny tiny fraction of all produced tea has hair on it and it's a sign that the tea is of an extremely high quality.

To get it, you have to use one of a particular set of methods for drying the leaves, and more importantly the tea leaves must be picked at the very start of spring when they're just beginning to bud and their leaves are at the optimum delicate sweetness.

organic green tea hair grown in tauranga new zealand

As demonstrated above by our much loved tea plant at Informal Tea HQ, you'll see little furry white strands of hair on the outside of the new leaf bud. This little guy is the holy grail of tea picking and this is what our Pure Green tea is made up of.

Our tea pickers skillfully pick one bud with 1 leaf attached. So in this instance, they'd pick that middle bud with the white hair on it, and the super soft leaf to the right of it.

This method helps to limit the plant's growth, keeping it at a manageable size. But it also means that the older, larger leaves are left to soak up the summer sun and feed the next season's growth. Kind of like how you leave larger fish in the sea as breeding stock!

On the contrary, larger commercial plantations tend to be more ruthless in their picking, and generally over-pick tea plants of their leaves to build up a larger volume of produce (more fish tea = more $). This results in a tea plant which is weaker and requires harmful petrochemical pesticides and fertilizes to wade off disease and spur on next season's growth.

informal tea organic pure green tea hair close-up close up

Above is a close-up (obviously our hand's aren't the size of giants) of our organic green tea. You'll see there is a grain like pattern running down the twisting tea leaf like a free flowing river.

This is the resulting hair left on the leaf and as you touch the tea leaf you'll notice it has a soft, furry feel to it. You really can't fake this kind of quality, so we like to think of this as your insurance that what you're holding it made from the absolute finest, tastiest and most ecologically sustainable part of the tea plant!

So that's that — you're guide to tea hair! Anything else you'd like to know about tea? Ask us at shop@informaltea.co.nz

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