Small Tasting Guide (Part 2)

July 9, 2017
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Excerpt from our book - ‘TEA History, Terroirs, Varieties.

Aside from the wealth of knowledge, cultural and personal experience a taster possesses he or she must be able to summon up several skills. One of them is the ability to analyse sensations in order to express them clearly.

When one inhales a fragrance, an image or an emotion often comes to mind more readily than a word. Unfortunately, without the help of the right vocabulary, an emotion can be difficult to interpret. Associating a smell with a word allows us to classify it, to categorize it so that it will be easier to communicate or recognize later.

Learning the right vocabulary is therefore fundamental. By developing our olfactory memory every day and becoming aware of the smells around us, our senses will naturally learn to be more precise.

Naming the aromas of a tea is much more difficult than detecting the various flavors, for a very simple reason: an infusion of tea releases several hundred volatile molecules. Bombarded with all this information, the brain has to sort and summarize.

To learn how to use the vocabulary of tasting correctly, it is a good idea to start by getting to know the various styles of tea aromas. The aim is not to learn by heart all these terms and definitions, but to better understand the groups of smells according to their olfactory characteristics. Of course, the fragrances of tea are not set, and they can belong to several families and often mingle different shades of various aromas, mystifying us and enhancing our pleasure….Enjoy!

The Camellia Sinensis Flavour Wheel (see image above) is now used by tea companies all over the World.  It was first developed by our team back in 2008 as we put all the material together for the original French edition of our book ‘TEA History, Terroirs, Varieties.  It is a tea specific version of similar flavour wheels used in the worlds of wine, scotch and other forms of tasting.

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