- Tea brewing tips
Types of tea
Tea producing countries
Health benefits of tea
- Tea in History
Recipes & Cocktails
How do professionals taste tea?
In order to bring you the best teas at the best times, Le Palais des Thés team constantly taste and compare dozens and dozens of different teas. Sometimes these tastings take place on the plantations themselves, whether in India, China, Japan, etc., but also in Paris where, every week, Le Palais des Thés receives hundreds of samples from each and every continent.
As with wine, professional tea tasting follows a very precise ritual, the object of which is to highlight the best qualities and the defects of the tea, and often to compare the different batches produced from the same harvest. In whatever country the tasting takes place, it always follows the same rules and is carried out using the same instruments.
The taster begins by lining up in front of him all the samples he wishes to taste and compare. He spreads them out on large sheets of white paper, so that he can look at and feel each dry leaf and keep the file for each sample in the correct order. In this way, he can always refer back to the information contained on each file: supplier's name, plucking date, plantation of origin, price, etc.
For the preparation of tea, the expert uses a tasting kit. This is made up of three components: a bowl, a cup with a spout and its lid. During a tea tasting session, as many kits are used as there are teas to be tasted.
In each cup, which he will then cover with its lid, the taster places 0.07 oz / 2g of tea onto which he pours about 3.4 oz / 10cl of simmering water. The infusion time can vary from as little as 2 minutes for the most delicate green teas to 15 minutes for some white teas. Whatever the type of tea, the infusion lasts longer than it would in a teapot: this enhances the tea's characteristics and brings out its good and bad qualities. Fulfilling this condition sometimes comes at the cost of producing strong bitterness, but it is necessary, especially in the case of teas with very similar characteristics.
After a few minutes of brewing, the taster pours the liquid into the bowl while holding the lid on the cup. In this way, the leaves are held back and do not cloud the liqueur.
At the end of these preparations, the tea is available in three different states: as a dry leaf, in the infused state (in other words the soaked leaf) and as a liqueur. The tasting can now begin. For the wet and the dry leaf, the expert evaluates:
- their appearance: size, color, fineness of the crop, working of the leaf, etc.
- their texture: softness and strength, the level of humidity in the case of a dry leaf,
- their scent: dry and infused notes.
For the liqueur, he will pay particular attention to:
- the color and the clearness of the liquid,
- its feel in the mouth,
- its taste: the flavors and the aromas.
Express your observations
The taster's glossary lists the vocabulary used by tasters and allows the sensations felt during the drinking of tea to be described.