You might think you know everything there is to know about drinking tea. Especially if you have several cups of it a day. Milky, sugary tea is a British staple, however, the tea found in your standard tea bags isn’t the best out there. Though it tastes good, and is the tea we all know and love, the tea leaves in regular tea bags are actually dust-like fragments of leaf and stem. The best and highest quality tea is loose leaf tea served in pyramid bags, or on its own then strained. This is the tea that is carefully selected and refined. To taste this tea, you’ll have to broaden your knowledge and take in both the aroma and colours as well as the taste! This is how to taste tea like a pro and make sure you’re only drinking the best!
Twinings recommend looking at 4 specific things when you taste tea: Appearance, Aroma, Taste and Mouth Feel.
Before you even brew the tea, have a look at the leaves. Look at the shape, texture and size. Are the leaves broken or whole? A lot of signals as to whether a tea is good quality is the size of the leaves and their colour.The dustier the tea – the poorer the quality. The colour of the leaves should be fairly even unless the tea is a blend of more than one type of tea. Generally, when you feel the tea leaves, the leaves should crunch. This signifies that no moisture has come into contact with the leaves during packaging. Ideally, you are looking for crunchy, even coloured, large-leafed tea.
Did you know humans mainly taste through their sense of smell? This is why smelling and inhaling the aroma is so important. When your tea is brewing, deeply inhale to get an initial sense of the aroma and flavours. Heat helps release the aromatic compounds in the tea, which is why it is far more fragrant when brewed.
This is perhaps the most important step! After all, tea is meant for drinking. However, when you’re properly tasting tea, there is a method to follow. When tea tasting, you need to slurp your tea. This mixes the liquid with oxygen as it enters your mouth and helps bring the flavours to life! As you slurp and swish the tea about your mouth, the tea reaches every part of your mouth. As you taste the tea, make note of any specific flavours of sweetness or bitterness.
If you’re not a seasoned tea taster, this may seem like an odd thing to test! However, different teas have different thicknesses. Some teas are thick and syrupy, whereas others are more tart and astringent which can lead to a puckering of the mouth or tongue.
There really is no right or wrong when it comes to tasting tea. Everybody experiences flavours differently. Why not give it a go? Try some of your favourite teas using this method and tell us about it in the comments! Brew your tea using your Billi tap – the water is the perfect temperature for tea as it isn’t boiling meaning it won’t damage those precious leaves. Our taps mean that you don’t have to wait for the kettle to boil as you taste all your teas, meaning you can get through many more flavours. Who knows, you might become a professional tea taster!