Learn to Taste Tea Like An Expert - Part 1

Tea tasting is similar to wine tasting. Specific methodologies are used for tasting tea and an entire language exists for describing tea characteristics.  

A good way to begin tea tasting is to line up your favorite teas in different categories and start comparing. Or, set up four black teas from different regions, such as Assam, Nilgiri, Darjeeling, and Sikkim.

As you begin your tasting journey, note how the flavors may differ depending upon origin, soil type (terroir), style of tea, and steeping time. Like wine, differences in taste can be attributed to location, climate, and how the tea is processed. Steeping times also attribute unique characteristics to tea. Try brewing one black tea at intervals of 30 seconds, ending at five minutes. Or, infuse the same oolong leaves four times, noting the unique flavor profiles from each subsequent steeping.

Try focusing first on the basic differences between black, oolong, green and white tea.

As you become more familiar with the nuances of various teas, challenge yourself by tasting teas that are more similar, such as Darjeeling.

Remember tasting is subjective – have fun!