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How to distinguish whether the tea you are drinking is of high quality with tea fuzz or is mouldy?

The defination of Chahao/Tea Fuzz from Chinese Tea Dictionary is: the fine fuzz on the tender buds and young leaves.

The fine fuzz is tiny, silver and translucent. It will be less and fall off with growing of the tea leaves.

Chahao is rich in amino acids and nutrients, which can enhance the aroma and taste of tea infusion.

Most of famous tea requires obvious existence of Chahao. For example, Huangshan Maofeng, Dongting Biluochun, Xinyang Maojian are known for white fine fuzz, Baihaoyinzhen, Baimudan are known for silver fine fuzz, Dianhong, Minhong known for golden fine fuzz.

The different colour of the fine fuzz depend on the polyphenol, which can be changed in the tea processing technology.

Most of green tea shows white chahao, because it is non-fermented during the green tea process, and the polyphenol is colorless.

White tea shows silver chahao, because the slight fermention keeps the fine fuzz well.

Different from green tea and white tea, black tea shows golden chahao. The tea leaves undergo withering and rolling, and the polyphenols in the tea fuzz are oxidized into theaflavin and thearutin, thus turning the white tea fuzz into a golden color.

Chahao is one of the most important characteristics of high-quality tea. But if tea can not be stored properly, it will get mildewed easily.

We can judge the Chahao or mildew from 4 aspects:

  • Look
  • In the tea producing process, parts of the tea fuzz falls off into clumps that look like white balls as insect eggs. And moldy white fuzz can be distributed in the part, affected by moisture, of the tea like filaments.
  • Smell
  • Pekoe(white fuzz) smells fresh, while moldy tea leaves have a heavy stale and musty taste, which makes people uncomfortable and even nauseous.
  • Touch
  • Tea leaves are drynormally, if mildewed, tea leaves are soft, and some are even rotten.
  • Taste

If you find that the color is cloudy and the taste is not fresh when you make a cup of tea, please stop drinking it.