Judging Tea Quality

More In This Issue

Reading the Tea Leaves

At first glance, one pile of leaves closely resembles another, especially when dry. But float those same leaves, after steeping, in a shallow white porcelain tray of water and you can quickly tell whether the money you just paid for that special tea was well spent.

Preserving the Life of the Leaves

Tea is a dry food. As such it is susceptible to insect contamination, moisture absorption, and mold. Tea leaves usually won’t spoil like high-moisture food (bread for example) but the flavor diminishes considerably over time.

Chigusa: Ancient Japanese Diaries as an Art of Tea

Particularly fine items used in tea rituals were designated as meibutsu, or revered objects, by the tea men. Chigusa is a 16th Century meibutsu tea jar and one of the most famous of several hundred antique ceramic storages jars still in existence.

The package is part of an innovation complex

Tea Packaging: The Innovation Edge

Packaging is more than how tea is stored for protection, transport, display, and storage. It is a dynamic element in the tea life cycle. It's part of an innovation complex.