After weeks of waiting and constant checking in your mailbox, you finally got your expensive green or white tea (silver needle). When you brew it, you notice that there seems to be something floating in the tea soup. You may start wondering whether this is a sign of bad quality or good quality.
What are those fine hair-like particles in your tea?
The small tiny “fuzz” is called Cha Hao or “tea hair.” You find these on most bud teas such as green tea or silver needle white tea. To adapt to the cold weather in winter (nights in high mountains), the tea tree shrinks its leaves and grows white millet on the most vulnerable part of the leaves – tea buds. These white fuzzes have a certain insulation effect and can protect the top buds from frost damage. Cha Hao or tea hair mainly grows on tea buds and will gradually fall off as the tea grows. In general, more tender leaves will have more tea hairs.
In addition to the “tea hair,” you may also notice a certain level of cloudiness in your tea.
The stacking time was too long or too much: The freshly plucked leaves should be spread and withered as soon as possible. When they get piled together for a long time, they will get oxidated more than it should be. This affects the taste as well as the quality of the final product.
Inadequate Pan Fixing: If the temperature is too low in the pan fixing process, the heat will not penetrate the leaves. This inadequate pan fixing process will leave too much moisture in the leaves, making the tea soup cloudy.
Excessive Rolling: If the rolling process is done too hard, some of the water-insoluble substances can get released from the leaves making it cloudy when brewed.
Brewing Issue: If you pour too much tea leaves into your brewing vessel, this will make the tea too concentrated and the liquid cloudy. This may also happen if you steep the tea for too long.
This is one of the reasons why HER-CHA jars come with the pre-measured amount of tea ideal for single brewing. We also include our tea booklet with every box where you will find the suggested water temperature as well as steeping times.
– Written by Andy Hakobyan