Tea Facts ... tea tasting

Tea tasting, much like wine tasting, uses similar steps; visual, smell, taste and touch. You can tell a lot about a tea by examining the dry leaves. Gently press some dry leaves in the hand. Most new teas are a little springier and less likely to crumble than an older teas. Look for fibers, dust or stalks and note the leaf size.

Measure a level teaspoon of each sample into the cup. Use white or clear cups to view the truest color. Begin your analysis of the infused leaves as the cups are filled. Smaller flat leaves will show more body than larger twisted leaves, which take longer to steep. Steep the teas for a fixed time, generally three to five minutes.

After steeping take in the aroma of the tea and examine the infused leaves for color and evenness. Color does not necessarily indicate the strength or body of the liquor.

Now you are ready to taste - take a spoonful of the liquid and slurp with force to ensure that the tea is sprayed over the entire tongue. This step is important since we taste bitterness at the back of the tongue, saltiness in the middle, sweetness in the front and sourness on the sides of the tongue.

It may be difficult to describe your findings at first, but after sampling many teas you will begin to notice similarities and differences in color, taste and smell. You may want to start a notebook to record your impressions.

There are many terms used in tea tasting. To assist you with your tea tasting you may want to view the glossary of terms.



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