As you move through the awesome maze of teas, trying this one and that, take a moment to stop, look back, and see from whence you’ve come. Your journey may have started out in total innocence with one of the lesser bagged teas and a mug to dunk it in as a method of steeping. As time went on, though, you learned and tried more teas and discovered…
…that there is more to tea than dust in a bag, that the leaves from the tea bush (Camellia Sinensis) and its varietals are processed differently to yield different types of tea, that teas can be blended with other ingredients to create an even greater variety of flavor experiences. And that’s just for starters.
Developing your senses, especially your sense of smell and your palate, is part of the tea experience. As Jessica Hodges discussed in her article Tea — A Taste Adventure, the more tea you drink in a thoughtful, attentive manner, the more flavors you will detect in your teas (the straight ones, that is, without flavorings, fruits, flowers, spices, etc., added to them).
I find myself detecting the Muscatel character in many of the Darjeelings I have without much effort now. Many other flavors leap from the cup seemingly of their own accord, from a raisiny goodness in one of my favorite black Ceylon teas to a pleasant grassiness in some of the better green teas. It makes the tea experience take on a bigger dimension.
At the same time, teas that have been favorites for years are sitting on the sidelines as my more educated palate now finds them overbearing. This is especially true of flavored teas like Earl Grey or cinnamony spiced chais that were once delights and that now seem like an assault on my tastebuds.
Think back on the teas you used to drink a year ago, two years ago, or more. Were they mostly the ones that have flavorings added, like Apple Spice naturally flavored black tea and Mango Mist naturally flavored black tea, or were they mainly the lesser teas available in the grocery store, or maybe they were teas that were touted as being special and for which you paid a bit above normal but now know are not all that special? You may have even been drawn in by herbals being labeled as teas.
Knowledge and experience give you more power. You can better assess the tea claims you see on a website or package label. You can better detect the flavors and aromas of the teas you are drinking. This doesn’t mean you need to spend more, getting the more select and expensive teas. It does mean that you will select with greater care, possibly even broaden your selections, or zero in on a particular tea or two. Lots of possibilities here for you as a tea drinker.
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Leave a Reply