From the moment a fresh tea bud and leaf is selected the flavour starts to shift and grow. While any of these improvements are helpful, and will determine what type of tea the leaf is to become, after the processing is completed almost instantly the product starts to lose some of its flavour. Teas are at their peak the younger they are, as a very basic rule of thumb. The more they are left open to heat and air, the more they tend to lose their vibrancy and fresh flavour. Click more info here.
A successful online tea shop will still be able to, at the very least, let you know the year it was grown, if not the exact date of harvest and development, when buying whole leaf teas. (I.E. Spring 2011) This article was written to let you know what you might be searching for with respect to the era of the tea design while buying tea gifts online.
The Green Teas
Green teas and mildly oxidised Oolongs have a shelf life of just around 6 months to 1 year, such as the Taiwanese ‘Bao Zhong’. Although you will still be able to make tea from these leaves during this period, the flavour will decline dramatically from how the master blender expected it to taste. This is the youngest and freshest smelling and can be drank this way as such. Any online tea shop that sells green tea much longer than 1 year after harvest has probably purchased too much or doesn’t know much about tea! Buy just green teas that are 1 year or less mature.
The Oolong Teas
Semi oxidised Oolong teas have a shelf life of about 1 to 2 years, which is marginally longer. However, after some period , usually after 1 year, some typical Chinese Oolongs that have been roasted actually strengthen and soften, but a decent online store should be able to advise you on this. However, there are aged Oolongs that offer an exception. These teas could have been aged for up to 3 to 25 years and will be re-roasted periodically to control the moisture content. They can be treated as the only exception to the law of 1 to 2 years.
Around Black Teas
Black teas are oxidised completely, hence their dark hue. This oxidisation means that both teas have the best shelf life and would be good to drink for anything from 1 to 3 years. However, they will start losing some of their flavour adequately preserved during this period of time-in a cool but not cold setting, which is neither too dry or moist, and held out of direct sunlight-these leaves will retail much of their flavour for the whole period of that time.
Puer Teas Puer Teas
Unlike all of the above teas, Puers violates all the rules! Completely oxidised, and semi-fermented, many Puers taste rough and bitter when young. When made, these specialist teas are placed in temperature-controlled shops, or usually stone caves, and are able to mature for anything from 1 to 50 years. The flavours mellow and grow during this period of time, which is why Puers are some of the rarest and most costly teas around. Although not always the case, a well stored Puer, the older it is, is at its best!
If you can see, when it comes to learning about the era of tea, there are just a few basic laws. You should have no trouble choosing a tea gift for friends or family from any online tea shop by following the advice given in this post.