Keeping a Tea Log

So, you are well on your way to being a truly Picky Tea Drinker — congratulations! But what was the scrumptious tea you tried the other day that knocked your tea-loving socks off? You think and think but can’t remember. And what was the perfect steeping time for that Dou Yun Mao Jian from Guizhou Province in China that you came up with after some trial steepings?  And which teas from which vendor were your favorites? Time to start a tea log!

Time to set up a tea log — no iPhone, so I have to do it the hard way!
Time to set up a tea log — no iPhone, so I have to do it the hard way!

An iPhone application (the “Tea App”) helps you log your teas on your phone. For those of you who don’t have iPhones, you can always set up a spreadsheet on your laptop and enter your tea log info as you try a new tea. You may find yourself entering more and more details about the teas and your experiences with them, so the spreadsheet could get a bit complex. Let’s see, a section for Chinese teas … no, wait, a section for each province in China … and then a section for Indian … uh, no, a section for Darjeelings sorted by garden and flush … and then a section for Ceylon teas, by garden … and Japanese greens, sorted by senchas, hojichas, etc. … and then Taiwanese teas, Kenyan teas, Rwandan teas… phew! Now, let’s start on the flavored teas, starting with florals like teas with roses and teas with lavender. Speaking of lavender, there are the herbals such as rooibos, honeybush, chamomile, ginger, sage, hibiscus, etc.

For those less technologically inclined, check out some simpler options.

Steno pads are great. Each page has not only horizontal lines for writing but a vertical line down the middle. You can set up columns, with the tea name, water temperature, steeping time, and a brief description on the left side of the vertical line, and your tasting notes and maybe your on-hand supply information on the right side of the vertical line. They are spiral bound at the top so you can flip the pages up. You can write on both sides of the page.

And then there are those little index cards people used all the time but that since have fallen out of use in favor of things like computers. You’d probably want to use one card per tea, which, if you’re like me, could mean hundreds of index cards needing to be filed.

Another idea: make your tasting notes on the tea package (you might have to tape a note to those plastic pouch things) and keep it even after you have finished the tea. Of course, this could get a bit messy after awhile, too. And if the teas come in tins or other unflattenable containers, it could also end up taking a bit of space. Hm… time to build that addition onto the back of the house!

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One thought on “Keeping a Tea Log

  1. People should also remember to note when they purchased the tea, and what was the approximate date the tea was plucked (if that information is available). There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having an expensive and exquisite tea sit in your cabinet for too long because you were saving it for “something special,” only to find it’s past its prime and has lost its zing.

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