Tea Tasting

If you're passionate about something, practice it in the most ridiculous way you can. My thing is sensory evaluation. Mostly taste and smell, but there's only so much you can do with coffee.

Black tea
Darjeeling 2nd flush - considered the champagne of teas. I really don't appreciate it that much. They say it's about the depth of flavour, floral aroma and muscatel character.

Whatever muscatel is, I probably would call it "Darjeeling flavour". Which raises a question about the definition of a flavour. For me, there's nothing worse than bringing down something to a "coffee flavour", as coffee itself has plenty of flavours. However, I might be as ignorant with that tea.

The truth is, even a flavour of blueberry can be deconstructed to smaller pieces. Which is shown in Sensory Lexicon:

The slightly dark, fruity, sweet, slightly sour, musty, dusty, floral aromatic associated with blueberry.

But as you can see, it comes down to association. In sensory science, flavour it's usually a matter of nothing but the association and common agreement.

Another highlight was the Chinese Yunnan. Region considered to be the birthplace of tea. Strong, smoky with a lingering aftertaste. Reminds me of Islay whisky. Way more smoky than any Yerba Mate I've ever had, even the famous Cruz De Malta.

Typically a favourite one. Although I feel a bit tired of them. It's like drinking Geisha every week. There was one highlight though.

Eastern Beauty - dark oolong from Taiwan. Exceptional in a way no coffee professional would assume. Insects bite leaves before harvest, resulting in sweet-sour character. Natural process making it truly unique.

The acidity was actually perceivable. However, I still don't feel ok about the insects. How this could not be a nightmare?

Green and white
There's a lot to taste in green tea. Even though it's not in terms of particular flavours. Rather depth, the intensity of vegetal and savoury character.

But when it comes to white...

The Silver Needle is worth its price. Intensive aroma, big flavours, yet subtlety and sophistication. Geisha of teas.

Herbal teas
I've never thought it might be an interesting experience. Unfairly.

Chamomile has proven the flavour agreement. It's a mind-broadening experience to try something considered as "a flavour" and find another flavour in it. It was the first chamomile tea I truly enjoyed. Lots of apple and honey.

The same with Rooibos. Never before drank a good one, never before found cascara, rhubarb and honey characters in it. Wow.

Lemongrass was a big surprise. I didn't think about it as something to brew. However, you just can't help smiling while drinking it. Lemon intensity takes you to a place you've never been before.

The biggest takeaway for me is a flavour in flavour experience. The next time I taste chamomile in coffee, I'll think about its apple character.

Picture - A Girl With Tea, CC 2.0


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