“Every tea tasting stimulates each of our five senses to varying degrees. Think of a tasting as a concatenation of micro-events, each engaging a particular sense. Two senses constitute what we superficially refer to as ‘taste,’ but all of them come into play during a tasting,” from Tea Sommelier: A Step-by-Step Guide by François-Xavier Delmas and Mathias Minet.

The most nice and environment friendly method to good your tasting abilities is to work in small teams. Conversing and sharing impressions will assist improve your expertise and construct your data.

Protocol For Group Tastings

For the perfect outcomes, it’s advisable to observe a number of guidelines when organizing a tea tasting:

Choose a theme for the tasting

If every participant brings a favourite tea to share with the others, set a theme (for instance: black teas, Chinese teas, and so forth.). That will make it simpler to focus consideration on studying and apprenticeship, and never simply sharing impressions.

Ideally, the job of choosing the teas to be tasted is assigned to 1 particular person.

Taste a number of teas

It’s greatest to taste a least two teas to learn from making comparisons. Keep in thoughts that making such comparisons typically leads you to concentrate on variations, whereas neglecting to notice frequent traits.

Use the precise gear

The versatile tasting set is good. Use as many units as you might have teas to taste. You may also use small (10-ounce/300 ml) teapots and cups. In this case, select small cups—containing one or two swallows—and keep away from mugs. If your tasting is targeted on a mode of preparation (Gong Fu Cha or Kyusu, for instance), use conventional utensils.

Tasting Sets

Developed in England within the late nineteenth century and doubtless based mostly upon a sequence of diversifications of Chinese Zhong practices, an expert tasting set has three elements: a bowl, a 4-ounce/120 ml cup with a serrated rim, and a canopy. The cup and its cowl are nearly hermetically sealed and designed particularly to retain the fragrances from the infusion course of. The taster can inhale the aromas by pouring the contents of the cup into the lid.

Slurp

The time period for this strategy to tasting speaks for itself—it requires a loud gulp. Slurping multiplies the sensations of retronasal olfaction. Get snug with one another initially of the session. Abandon your inhibitions by beginning the tasting with a convincing collective ritual slurp!

Three Essential Rules

* Except for the slurp, carry out the tasting in silence to keep away from influencing your neighbors

* Note your impressions on a tasting sheet Tasting Notes

* And, in fact, skip the fragrance on a tasting day

Communicate to Make Progress

Learning to speak your impressions with others provides you with an incentive to call them with higher precision and go into additional element than when you had been tasting alone. When it involves olfactory and gustatory sensations, our vocabulary is surprisingly imprecise. Sharing ideas forces us to focus and refine our descriptions.

Progressive Tastings

Here are a number of examples of potential themes, based mostly on the group’s degree of experience.

For inexperienced persons

  • The colours of tea: 1 white tea, 1 inexperienced tea, 1 black tea, 1 oolong, and 1 darkish tea
  • Classic teas: 1 inexperienced tea, 1 black tea, 1 breakfast tea, 1 flavored Earl Grey tea, 1 smoked tea, and 1 jasmine tea
  • The nations of tea: 1 tea from China, 1 tea from Japan, 1 tea from India, 1 tea from Nepal, and 1 tea from Sri Lanka

For connoisseurs

  • 5 Japanese teas: 1 Sencha, 1 Gyokuro, 1 Tamaryokucha, 1 Hojicha, and 1 Genmaicha
  • 5 black teas: 1 spring Darjeeling, 1 Yunnan, 1 Qimen, 1 Assam, and 1 black Nepal
  • 5 oolongs: 1 traditional Tie Guan Yin, 1 Bao Zhong, 1 Oriental Beauty, 1 Da Hong Pao, and 1 Geng Huang Dan Cong
  • 5 inexperienced teas: 1 Sencha, 1 Long Jing, 1 Nepal inexperienced tea, 1 uncooked Pu Erh, and 1 African inexperienced tea

For consultants

  • 5 spring Darjeelings
  • 5 Himalayan black teas (spring, summer time, and autumn harvests)
  • 3 Lightly oxidized Taiwanese oolongs
  • 3 Sencha Ichibancha teas

Blind Tastings

To boost your tasting expertise, substitute the tasting units with black wine glasses. You’re positive to be challenged and perplexed!

This great information was reprinted with permission from Tea Sommelier: A Step-by-Step Guide, Abbeville Press, 2018.

 


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