How To Evaluate Tea Quality

By Tea Lover

roll of tea
How To Evaluate Tea Quality

When determining whether a tea is right for you, what really matters? A tea purveyor may place higher value on the appearance or aroma of the dry leaf. After all, the aesthetic of the dry leaf is often the first thing a customer notices about a tea. But what tea drinker would be satisfied with appearances? Who would buy a tea just to say: “This tea tastes terrible, but don’t those dry leaves look spectacular!”

In the end, the primary concern in evaluating tea is its flavor. If you connect with tea through a flavor experience, aspects of the dry leaf and wet leaf carry little weight. The dry leaf and wet leaf may carry indications what to expect in the flavor profile, but sometimes those hints are deceiving.

Once you have had a treasured flavor experience in tea, it will of great benefit to record those sensations. A tasting experience is a combination of sensations beyond simply detecting the presence of one taste. Flavors have intensity and duration. Some greener tie guan yins, for example, can have intense floral notes that last for the briefest of moments. A tasting experience also consists of mouthfeel (or texture) and aftertaste. And each of these aspects can vary in intensity and duration. Recognizing the multiple components of a tea’s profile takes practice. Comparing one tea’s profile to another across extended periods of time requires a journal.

Your journal may be as detailed as you like, but there should be some minimum data collected on a tea. You may want to record the appearance of dry and wet leaves at first, but the most critical data will be what the tea tastes like. The practice of recording flavor profile will test and strengthen your awareness of those elements of tea. The accumulation and review of flavor records will also help you pinpoint what kinds of new teas you may like to try. It will also tell you about your general preferences. For example, you may find that texture is actually more important to your tasting experience than the actual taste of food or drink.

So below are templates to consider using when you want to record the basic details about your tea tasting experiences.

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Tea Journal Flavor Wheel

Tea Journal Scales

Compare teas with others on the Scoresheet.

Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings.

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