Shape of Tea Leaf
Leaf is thin and slender, tightly rolled, with sharp point and containing buds.
If poor quality, the leaf is loose, thick and coarse, without the sharp point and not containing bud.
Color of Tea Leaf
Leaf in dark black color (Wu-run). It looks glossy and luster.
For poor quality, the leaf is grayish black color, dull appearance with brownish color.
The good quality tea consist pieces of leaf of fairly even size.
If the tea is of poor quality, the leaf is mixed with lots of bold leaf which is flat, loose and large size.
This is made from old leaf which contains high level of fiber that could hardly rolled into tight strip during the process.
These leaves give thinner taste and lighter color when brew.
Besides, poor quality tea contains much broken pieces which are light in weight.
This is due to the improper handling and the finished product is not well sifted.
The well-made tea must be free from extraneous matter such as fiber, bamboo or wooden flakes, sand or stone, dust.
Stalk is unavoidable as the leaf is plucked during summer, but must be at minimal level, e.g. a few pieces per gram.
Dry leaf gives sugar syrup flavor with mild smoky flavor.
When brewed, the liquor gives the same aromatic profile.
After brewing, the aroma remains on the leaf of good Keemun.
When brewed, the tea produces liquor with luster and bright reddish brown color.
In a cup, the good Keemun gives bright golden ring appeared near the edge of liquor to the cup.
The golden ring is the sign that tea leaves are rich in theaflavins that is vital for good quality.
For poor quality, the color is dark red with dull appearance.
Smooth, brisk with mild green refreshing note.
It is different from the commercial versions of this famous tea which is often giving harsh astringency or roughness, or thin and flat taste.
Brewed Tea Leaf
The brewed leaves show bright brownish red color, very consistent and even over the leaf, indicating good quality and well-made tea.
When touched with finger, the leaves are thick, soft and elastic.
If the tea is of poor quality, leaves are mixture of greenish brown and red color.
When touched, the leaf is very thin but stiff, with very thick and coarse leaf vein.
Besides, the green color spot is found on surface of leaf indicating insufficient oxidation.
The leaf looks dull and lack of brightness, and in dark color.