Leaf is fleshy, thick, robust, straight with tips, not in a loose manner, not curled and not curved. The real Taiping Houkui must consist of twigs whereby each twig is made of one bud embraced by two leaves, and naturally stretched.
For poorer quality, the tea contains single leaf where bud is missing. This is not the real Taiping Houkui but the Hou-jian which is made from the 3rd and/or 4th leaf that left-over after the picking of bud and first 1-2 leaves for making a Houkui. Poor quality tea is mixed with broad strips of leaves. Some leaves are 'chopped' and without tips. As compare to good quality leaf, the leaf of poorer quality often over-pressed and twisted out of its normal leafy shape and appearance.
The real Taiping Houkui is in pale green color, even, bright and lustrous. Leaf is covered with a very fine white down and closely well set to leaf and hidden; it is not easily seen and will unfurl when brewed. Poor quality tea is in either very light shinny green or dark green color, with lots of down that is outstretched and clearly seen.
The good quality tea consists of dry leaf in regular shape. Poor quality tea contains a lot of broken pieces. It is a mixture of various sizes and shapes. Leaf is not in the whole twig form where bud and leaf and is well attached, but contains crushed and individual leaves. The color is a mixture of yellowish green or dark green color.
The well-made tea must be free from extraneous matter such as fiber, bamboo or wooden flakes, sand or stone, dust.
Aroma and Flavor:
When brewed, the liquor gives a long-lasting flavor with orchid scent, especially on the first brewing.
Color of Liqure:
Bright, clear and transparent, with very light yellowish green color.
The tea gives fresh green note, refreshing, smooth, mellow and sweet after taste.
The brewed leaves show a fresh, bright and even green in color. When touched with finger, the leaves are thick but soft and elastic. The thin red line is seen at the main leaf vein which indicates the tea is made from the real Taiping Houkui cultivar. If it is of poor quality, the leaves are either yellowish green or dark green in color, with a dull appearance. When touched, the leaves are thin and stiff.