Leaf structure in tea
The ideal leaf structure for hand-picked tea is 2-3 leaves, a bud and a stem. When tea is harvested by hand, farmers can choose the ideal part of the plant that is most suitable for high-quality brewing, and usually these are the new growth of the tea bush (2-3 leaves, bud and stem).
In practice, on the low altitude plantations (for example, 400 m), tea is mainly harvested by machines. The machine used is held by two people (one on each side of the tea plant) and the leaves are collected into a bag. A machine is not as precise as a hand, so picking the perfect combination of leaves and buds for new growth is impossible.
If the tea you bought contains leaves of different sizes, single leaves or stems, then most probably this it was harvested out by machine.
But sometimes only leaves are separated by hand, without stems. As we said in our blog, tea stems add taste and aroma to tea, but some farmers leave only individual leaves to make tea more elite, but this does not mean that the taste of tea is better or worse if there were leaves with a stem or no.