Art of tea tasting – Everything you should know

If you are designing your own private label tea, then frequent tasting is necessary to ensure you create the best possible flavor. There are a wide variety of factors that can influence how your tea tastes, from climate and soil to the physical production process, and you will need to be able to track the impact of these changes.

The concept of tea tasting:

Tea tasting sounds simple. It is logical that when you are making something for human consumption, especially something where the flavor and quality can vary as much as they do in tea, you need to test it first. Tea tasting, however, is about much more than its practical purpose. It is an art form that stretches back thousands of years, as in ancient Chinese tea ceremonies, and that means it is worth the effort to get it right.

When do you need to taste your private label tea?

There are several points in production where you might like to taste your tea before selling it. Obviously, the initial production process requires testing so you know how your new tea tastes. This allows you to decide if it is ready for sale, but can also help you consider whether it will be suitable for blending with another tea, or if it could benefit from additional herbs, spices or seasonings. Regular tasting ensures that every batch of tea maintains the correct standard.

At times of extreme weather, from droughts to storms, or when you change aspects of the growing and production process, such as new soil, or harvesting at a different point, you will need to take extra care in tasting the tea to see how or if the flavor has been modified.

How do you carry out tea tasting?

Technically, all you really need for a tea tasting is a cup, some tea and the hot water, but to do it properly, you may need a little more equipment. The tea tasting tradition involves a bowl where the tea can infuse, a small, specially designed cup with a lid that serves as the tasting cup, plus a tasting spoon. You use the spoon to transfer the tea into your mouth, ensuring that oxygen as well as the liquid can be spread thoroughly over the tongue. That is how you appreciate the full flavor profile. This is one time when slurping is recommended!

You will still need a kettle or other way of boiling water, plus for the best results, you should warm both the tasting cup and the spoon before introducing the tea. Taste lighter teas before heavier ones. After slurping, take your time feeling how your mouth, throat and stomach react. Professionals often spit out one tea into a dish before trying another, or you can use a small piece of bread to clear your palate between teas.

Taking time and care over the tea tasting process allows you to appreciate the tea better and will help you ensure you have the best possible product to sell to your customers. That requires a consistent process using the right equipment, preferably with the help of a tea tasting expert.