How To Taste Tea Like A Pro?
Photo By: Cecily Breeding
It is well known that there is a difference between the experience of enjoying your favorite cup of tea to the process of tasting tea. On the one hand, it is an enjoyable experience where we get a chance to relax ourselves, and on the other, it is a critical thought process that although is pleasant and enjoyable, it is nonetheless a process with a specific objective. The objective being the critical evaluation of the tea.
So the question arises, what knowledge do we need to taste tea like a professional taster and therefore evaluate it critically?
Before you begin tasting, you will need the necessary tools. Below you will find the primary tools for the exercise.
1) The teas that you intend to taste.
2) Filtered clean water.
5) Identical ceramic cupping sets.
After all of the tools and utensils have been gathered, you are ready to start the process.
Step #1) Inspecting the dry leaf
The leaf should be uniform in size, occurrence of stem, twigs or excessive particulate; characteristic rolling, curling or open leaf.
Step #2) Steep
Measure the leaf, add water at the appropriate temperature and steep for the appropriate time.
Step #3) Pour
Tip the cup (from your cupping set) with the lid intact into its side and set it into the bowl.
Step #4) Analyze the wet leaf
While the tea cools slightly, take the opportunity to take in the aroma and appearance of the wet leaf. The advantage of using a cupping set is that you can slightly open the lid and inhale the aroma in concentrated form.
Step #5) Analyze the liquor
Professional tea tasters refer to brewed tea as the liquor. When inspecting the liquor check the aroma, inspect the color, and lastly TASTE.
Things to look for
a) How enticing is the aroma?
b) Does the flavor have depth? Stamina?
c) Does the flavor have quality? Can you clearly define the taste?
When you begin the process of tasting teas, it is advisable to keep a small notebook handy along this process to record the first impressions of the tea. The purpose of this is to keep you aware of the teas you have tasted and which one you enjoyed the most. Try to describe your experience with as much details as possible. If by chance you are at a loss for words for describing the taste of the tea try comparing the taste to teas or any other tastes that you have experienced before. However, always keep in mind that the most important aspect of tasting tea is how it tastes for you, because ultimately, if you are tasting, for the experience, then the goal of tasting is to find the ideal cup to fit your taste while creating some pleasant memories along the way.
Further Reading: Tea Class