What's the white frost on little orange pu erh tea?

white stuff on little orange pu erh tea?

In recent years, little orange pu erh teas (also known as 'Xiao Qing Gan') become immensely popular in China. Also in the West, tea lovers are starting to discover these little mandarins stuffed with ripe pu erh tea.

However, if it's your first time seeing these oranges, you may notice a layer of white frost on the peel. It's only natural for one to wonder whether it's mold. If this is the case for you, don't panic. If the orange has a fragrant aroma without any moldy odor and it feels dry to the touch, then rest assured, your little green mandarin is not moldy.

orange peel pu erh tea stuffed

What's the white stuff on little orange pu erh tea?

But what exactly is this white frost? The white frost on the little green mandarin is a crystallisation of oil inside the peel that forms after sun drying and low-temperature baking processes. In fact, the presence of such oil is a sign of quality. These oil crystals, which contain limonene, have a lemon-like fragrance and possess excellent cough-relieving, phlegm-expelling, and antibacterial properties.

The amount of white frost depends on the origin, maturity, and thickness of the mandarin peel. The white frost signifies two things:

  • First, the mandarin peel contains a high concentration of volatile oils, indicating high-quality raw materials.
  • Second, the processing technique is appropriate—the more white frost, the more fragrant the brew.

white frost on little orange pu erh tea

When brewed, the white frost does not diminish the aroma or concentration of the tea. Instead, it enhances the tea's sweetness, smoothness, and richness of the tea.

How to recognise and prevent mold

Moldy little pu erh orange tea will show greenish-gray spots and emit an unpleasant musty odor. The peel will become soft, and the mold can spread to the tea leaves inside.

This may happen if the tea is not thoroughly dried or stored in a humid environment. Here are some tips to prevent this:

  • Buy high quality tea: a properly produced orange pu erh tea has lower moisture content and is easier to store. Purchase from Teasenz or other reputable sources to ensure quality.
  • Keep it dry: Avoid storing the tea in humid places such as near bathrooms or kitchens. Use airtight containers like sealed tea canisters or bags.
  • Control the temperature: Store pu erh tea at temperatures between 15-25ºC. Extreme temperatures can affect the tea's quality and cause mold.
  • Inspect regularly: Regularly check the storage condition of your tea. If you find any signs of mold, then clean and isolate the affected tea to prevent it from spreading.
In conclusion, high-quality little orange pu erh tea requires quality raw materials, proper processing techniques, and suitable storage methods to be enjoyed at its best.
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