Secrets of Tea Leaf Grading

If you ferment and process your own tea leaves, you’ll want to get good at tea leaf grading.

Some experts in preparing tea leaves you might want to look up are Jason McDonald, Timothy Gipson and Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace of Cornell University. They are putting on a training session along the lines of “Making Tea, from Leaf to Cup” on June 12 and 13, 2019.

They mention

“We believe that in order to understand tea at a deep level, you should have the experience of processing leaves to create tea, and, through this experience, an understanding of how processing steps affect the ultimate flavors of the teas,” said Utermohlen Lovelace. “Many attendees aren’t able to go to a place where processing occurs, and where they can actually carry out the processing themselves rather than just witness it.”
Traditional and innovative processing techniques will be covered. Attendees will learn how to process eight green teas using four different kill-green methods: pan firing (the Chinese method), steaming (the Japanese method), blanching/boiling (which is of unknown origin), and sous vide (a new technology). “Kill-green” is the de-enzyming step that prevents oxidation of the tea leaf and each step influences the final taste and aroma, noted McDonald.

By covering the four major methods of kill-green, they pretty much can make you an expert in a few short days.

If you get a chance to attend their classes, I’m sure it will make a big difference in your tea leaf grading and processing capabilities. Once you learn how to do tea leaf processing yourself, you will discover how tea leaf freshness makes such a big difference in the tea experience.