I was reading the other day about how having fuzz in your tea was a sign of quality for some teas, especially Longjing/Dragonwell. Of course I had to run over to my Nearly-Pre-Quing Ming Longjing that my parents brought back last year. Sure enough, there was fuzz in it!
For those who can't see it, I found three leaves with big fuzzy patches on it, and also one whole fuzz ball. What's up with that?
According to this article by Tea Trekker:
Some tea leaf varietals (more so than others) produce these little hairs on the surface of newly emerging spring tea buds and leaves. For early green teas that are pan-fired (pan roasted) such as Longjing, most of these leaf hairs are rubbed off as the leaf is being handled, pressed and shaped. These fuzzy hairs evaporate when the leaf is heated in the firing pan, and much of what remains s removed from the tea in the tea factory.
But a small amount of these leaf hairs gather into those fuzzy balls. These tiny balls are sprinkled throughout each batch of tea – there are not so many, so perhaps it is good luck to receive a few in our bag of tea!
The Tea Trekker article has better pictures as well. Well there you go! You learn something new every day.