So my original post was a query as to what characteristics of a ‘leaf’ contribute to its extractable potential, leading to steeping longevity. Acknowledging that individual tastes and how a tea is steeped will influence this outcome, the focus was on the leaf, it’s growing conditions and it’s processing. So far I’ve identified a few factors;
Raw material: old growth trees, deep roots, thick leaf
Processing: quality roasting, fermentation
I’m thinking those very tinny buds from Origin’s ‘Hualien Mixiang Red Tea' were able to steep longer than many teas because the trees must have been old growth with very deep roots. Also, high oxidation and medium roast sealed the tea nicely for aging and maturation, further contributing to its richness and longevity.