Tea, as you popularly know it, or Camellia Sinensis -- This is the plant which has been refreshing mornings of millions everyday. Its taste is its character. Aroma its identity. Colour its personality. And flavour its divinity.
The tea plant being sensitive to soil and atmosphere and its taste can vary within the single estate from one day to another. Only the discerning sense of a seasoned tea taster can distinguish what are similar looking tea granules to an untrained eye.
Art of Tea Tasting
Tea tasting is an art. It can be refined with practice, but it is said that that tasters are born and not made.
An experienced taster can identify the garden, ambient conditions of the plucking day and can even suggest adjustments in the manufacturing process. A taster uses his sharp sense of sight, smell, touch and taste while judging the quality of the tea.
Long years of experience and refinement help the tasters find minute differences in the taste.
Before a taster Begins his work, sample of tea are infused or brewed. Each sample is infused in boiling water for six minutes. The liquor or liquid is then separated from the infused leaf. White porcelain cups and pots are use to ensure an authentic view of liquor colour.
When ready for tasting, the taster first examine two or three ounces of dry leaf tea. Good black tea should have a uniform black colour with a bloom or sheen. it should contain golden tips( the more the better) which come from the 'buds' and not from two leafs. The taster checks the size and evenness of the leaves. The style of the tea is just as important; a well twisted heavy leaf is desirable while a flaky style is not. His sense of touch helps him verify whether the tea is crisp and well-dried.
Until now the taster has not used his palate which is of course, the most decisive factor in the examination of tea, but before he tastes, he carefully looks at the colour of liquor to see how bright and golden it is.He then proceeds to taste by sipping about a spoonful of the liquor and rolling it in his mouth for a few second before spitting it out. In the course of the few second that the liquor in his mouth, the taster registers how strong and brisk it is.
The taster must be able to compare it with a number of teas he have tasted over years and which are no longer available. Without experience and a long association with a wide range of teas, a taster can not do justice to his work.