The picture shows the great difference between 2 Jiangsu Bi Luo Chun. The one on the left was picked on April 6, 2005, just a few days after the Qing Ming Festival. I don't have an indication on when the one on the right was picked, but the size of the dry leaves indicate a later date, even though it was the most expensive and highest grade Bi Luo Chun that my friend bought in a tea shop near Shanghai. (It's nice to have friends and family traveling to China who remember about my passion!)
But it's not just the size, shape and price that's different (the smaller, the more expensive). The bigger leave Bi Luo Chun is very fragrant, much more than the smaller one, but it's flat in the mouth. On the other hand the small buds Bi Luo Chun display a powerful, yet delicate, yun in the mouth and throat. Amazing to see such different characteristics from the same kind of tea. Conclusion? A nice fragrance will give you a high grade Bi Luo Chun, but it's the yun, the long aftertaste that will make it truly exceptional. Could this be generalized to (all) other tea kinds? Personally, I think so.
My name is Stéphane Erler. I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.