Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slurp and Spit! ... My kind of Fun (Tea Tasting)

Dream job: Slurper and Spitter.  

Um, I mean tea taster.  What exactly is a tea taster and what do they do?  Here's a great video by the folks at Yorkshire Tea that explains it.

The best way to learn the different characteristics of each type of tea and to develop your palate is through practice or tasting.  Like learning the piano, practice makes perfect.  Examining the leaves, dry and wet, smelling them, and tasting the steeped tea (also known as the liquor). 

I don't go to tea classes every week any more (my sommelier courses at George Brown College are long over) so to help keep my palate sharp with fresh memories, my tea friends and I do tea tastings when we can.

Tasting of Hankook Tea's lovely Korean teas
Or when possible attend a master class for further educational development.  The photos below are from the "The Art of Tea" fundraising event that took place in Toronto's historic St. Lawrence Hall on June 18, 2011. 

Dilhan Fernando of Dilmah Tea is preparing their very fine teas for tasting.  Steeping the teas in cupping sets (white cup, lid and bowl).

Examining and smelling the leaves

Time to taste!

And finally, I will let international tea taster, tea author, and co-owner of Montreal's Camellia Sinensis Tea House, Kevin  Gascoyne, explains how to properly taste tea like a pro.  Kevin has over two decades of experience in the tea industry.  Now, that's a lot of slurping and spitting!

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