Harvesting time is one of the determinants of green tea quality grade.
For example, the three quality grades (High, Premium and Exclusive) of our Dragon Well green tea are harvested from the exact same plants of the same planation, but during different periods:
- The exclusive grade is harvested during the pre or early Qing-Ming season (early spring of China). The tea leaves grow during the late winter when the weather is still cold. They take relatively longer to grow, thus store up more nutrients and flavonoids. The tea leaves are typically smaller. The tea brew is smoother, with more delicate aroma and flavour and longer and more powerful aftertaste.
- The High grade on the other hand is harvested during the late spring when the weather is warmer. The leaves typically grow faster and bigger, but do not have enough time to cumulate as much nutrients and flavour as above.
- The premium is harvested in between.
The ultimate quality of a green tea is of course still determined by many other factors discussed in the tea quality page, such as tea plants, plantation location and environment, seasonal factors such as the weather condition of year and the harvest season and tea making skills etc.