A leaf shoot is the bud of a tea leaf before it opens from its natural curled up form. Sometimes it is referred to as the apical bud. Dependent on the cultivar, the climate and horticultural conditions, leaf shoots vary in size, colour, and surface quality — some can be covered with a down, some glossy, some with a scale leaf etc.
There is a popular misperception that all fine teas must be plucked with one shoot and two leaves. While this is the case for some green and black teas, this is not the case for many varieties. For example, the famous green teas Taiping Houkui and Luan Guapian are always plucked with all the leaves fully open. As for black teas, Red Plum Classic and Jin Guanyin are always newly spread tealeaves.
Variations in plucking the leaf shoot for various teas is common place. The standard for harvesting Tieguanyin, for example, is when the shoot just spread open, it is plucked with three leaves immediately under. That for premium Mengding Ganlu and many other high quality green teas, one shoot and one immediate tiny leaf. Some teas are always only the leaf shoots. Such as Silver Needles the white tea and Shihua ( aka Zhuye Qing ) the green tea.
Some people also think that the leaf shoot has the highest content of tea catechins. It actually ranks second to the spread open leaf immediately under it. ( Read more at: Polyphenol Contents — Not All Tea Are Created Equal )
The term shoot, or leaf shoot, or apical bud, appears in the following articles:
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- Black Tea: Origin & Production
- Blue China Teacup Shooter by Gui He Xiang
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- Caffeine: How Much is Safe?
- Certified organic teas: does it matter?
- Dianhong Golden, Yunnan’s Black Tea
- First Flush
- First flush of a She-men cultivar from Wudong, Fenghuang shan Ph
- Fresh flush of purple tea leaf shoot
- Green Tea: Production
- Jasmine Milk Tea
- Jasmine Pearls, Crafted for a Reason
- Jianzi Toffee Brim Shooter
- Kaihua Longding, orchid style green tea
- Laos Shengcha
- Leaf shoot of a tea plant
- Longjing, Tea from the Dragon’s Well
- Luan Guapian, Big Leaf Green Tea
- Mengding Ganlu, Sichuan’s Finest
- Mingshan Shihua, the case of the Bamboo Leaf
- Modified Teas: Crafted Teas
- Naming of a Tea
- New leaves
- Organic Spring, Taiwan Wulong Green Tea
- Phoenix Oolong: Classic Styles
- Polyphenol Content: Not All Teas are Created Equal
- Polyphenols in green and black teas
- Quality Basics 3: The Myths of Grades
- Renaissance of Dianhong Part 2: Competition
- Silver Needle
- Silver Needles, the First White Tea
- Spring Water vs Tap Water
- Stallion in Gold, Tieguanyin Turns Red
- Tea Polyphenols: Tastes and Tea Choices
- Tea Tasting: A Step by Step Guide
- What is Orange Pekoe?
- White Peony, Real White Tea
- White Tea: Health & Buying tips