Tea tasting session is a ritual to compare the different varieties or batches of tea to understand the “good” and “bad” points of that tea. The procedure and the rituals are mostly identical across the countries.
Three things are typically evaluated in the process:
- the dry leaves
- the infused leaves
- the liquor of the tea after steeping
Typically, each column is represented by one variety/batch with the dry leaves being in the front, the liquor in the middle and the infused tea leaves at the back. Each cup has 2 to 2.5g of tea leaves with 100ml of water at a controlled temperature (depending of the type of tea).
The brewing time varies with the individual tea, but the professional usually allows a longer brewing time to bring out the characteristics (including the defects) in the tea. The tea taster often disregards the side effects, especially the extra bitterness, due to the longer steeping time.
For the liquor, the taster focuses on the color and clarity of the liquid, the effect on his/her palate, the flavor and the aroma. The taster also evaluates the dry leaves and the infused leaves particularly for its texture (suppleness, degree of homogeneity etc.) and appearance (shape of the leaves, harvesting skills etc.).
The process recommends to slurp the tea (noisily) into my mouth to ensure enough oxygen goes over the taste receptors for understanding the profile of the tea.