Appearance: Cleanliness & Uniformity:
When you get a tea, check the dry leaves to see if it is clean; without huang-pian or stems left. Normally tea sorted by hands is much cleaner than the machine sorting, and all the leaves are uniform or broken.
Tea Soup: Golden color, Clarity & Brightness:
A well-processed tea always is a very golden color soup, and it is very clear, and the soup is very bright.
Brewed Leaves: “Fat” & Thick, Flexible, & Bright
After you make some infusions later you can check the brewed leaves to see if the leaves are fat and thick, tender or hard, and the color of the leaves is bright or messy.
Aroma: Strong or Weak, Purity, and Duration
When you make the tea, you can get the aroma very quickly: Strong or weak. And meantime, if its aroma is pure, some tea has very high aroma but it is not pure enough. Other tea has very high aroma in the first few infusions but goes down sharply. So you need to check the duration too.
Taste: Full, Strong, & Sweet-Back:
Except for the former 4 points, the key to a cup of tea is the taste. The taste may be full or empty, strong tasting or just so-so, & with a strong Huígān (回甘, sweet-back) or no Huígān.