New Stuff!!! Tasting Set


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Postby Drax » Nov 7th, '08, 06:44

Just don't taste them all at once.

That would be bad.

Probably.
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Postby Vulture » Nov 7th, '08, 08:09

I understand the advantage of tasting each tea at the same session. But being new to tea I want to make sure to play with each tea. That means 8+ infusions of the tea. I just can't drink 48 cups of tea in one sitting! I am good with reporting for both science and my networking job so I can give a decent report of each infusion.

There are more reasons but I don't need to go on forever about them. :wink:
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Postby Chip » Nov 7th, '08, 09:37

:D I am simply sharing within the context of the topic, "competition tasting sets," so there is no confusion about what the sets are generally used for. There are better ways to brew for examply a 5 steep session of sencha than to use a competition tasting set.

This is simply another aspect of tea tasting and a tool used to accomplish the feat. This is what competition tasting sets are made for. They are possibly the best tools for tasting various examples of the same type of tea side by side, fairly and objectively. Whether it is 2 or 200.

So, by all means, taste tea your way, I certainly do this as well. There is nothing wrong with that at all. But also, you could do both. You could do one round of tasting one by one, and you could also do a side by side tasting, you would have plently of tea to do that. The option is yours. :idea:
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Postby Vulture » Nov 7th, '08, 09:42

Chip wrote:So, by all means, taste tea your way, I certainly do this as well. There is nothing wrong with that at all. But also, you could do both. You could do one round of tasting one by one, and you could also do a side by side tasting, you would have plently of tea to do that. The option is yours. :idea:


But thats such a waist of tea to do just 1 or 2 steeps of all 6 side by side! :x
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Postby Chip » Nov 7th, '08, 09:59

As a general rule, or a general practice, I am one who sucks ever last bit of flavor out of tea leaf. I smell the leaf in the pot to determine if there is still life in there. If I smell flavor, I continue steeping til there is nothing left if time and patience permits. I hate to waste tea.

Using tasting sets for side by side comparisons however is an exception to the rule. Observing each aspect of a tea side by side can be revealing and an invaluable experience in the study of tea. Imagine viewing the dry leaf side by side, the liquor side by side and seeing all the subtle nuances and how each tea differs. It is so revealing doing this side by side. Then smelling each one after another, revealing such subtle differences. And then the actual tasting.

In Japan, Kagoshima, they do an exhibition where you cannot even taste the tea in this process, 100's of different sencha are all lined up, brewed the exact same way. The dry leaf is set out for each tea, the wet leaf, and the liquor. Participants can view these aspects first before approaching a vendor to try a particular tea.

Sometimes some leaf is sacrificed for the sake of study, learning, comparison.
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Postby kymidwife » Nov 7th, '08, 13:55

Because I've never done a comparison-tasting session of this nature, I want to be sure I get the most out of it. I am wondering, is there a recommendation for cleansing your palate and your sense of smell between each specimen?

As a rough means of comparison... they keep coffee beans at perfume counters, so you can inhale their aroma to refresh your olfactory sense between different perfume testers. Similarly, I did a wine tasting at a small winery once, and they gave me saltine crackers to cleanse my palate between tastings.

What should I have on hand for my tea-tasting? What works without interfering with aroma and flavor perceptions? Any advice?

Sarah
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Postby Shelob » Nov 7th, '08, 14:07

This is all new to me too. Great questions Sarah.

I am very excited about the TCR!
Really neat that Adagio is offering the tasting sets. I could also use instruction on just how one goes about it exactly for the optimum 'tasting' results.

It appears that Chip is suggesting that the 'professional taste testers' will do multiple [up to 100?] different tea taste testings at 1 time?

So it is best that we do all 5/6 at one session for all the subtle nuances to hit our palates/tastebuds within a reasonable time of the previous one?
Makes sense so that we don't forget all the differences.
Wow, that is quite a concept.. I can't wait to try.
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Postby CynTEAa » Nov 7th, '08, 14:29

kymidwife wrote:Because I've never done a comparison-tasting session of this nature, I want to be sure I get the most out of it. I am wondering, is there a recommendation for cleansing your palate and your sense of smell between each specimen?

As a rough means of comparison... they keep coffee beans at perfume counters, so you can inhale their aroma to refresh your olfactory sense between different perfume testers. Similarly, I did a wine tasting at a small winery once, and they gave me saltine crackers to cleanse my palate between tastings.

What should I have on hand for my tea-tasting? What works without interfering with aroma and flavor perceptions? Any advice?

Sarah


I go cup to cup without crackers in between. But neutral tasting crackers will work. I keep plain graham crackers around (also because tea tasting makes me hungry...hehe!), only occasionally needing them with the most astringent teas. Some tasters will eat a banana slice between sets, but it seems to leave too much of a taste for me.

Typically with non-flavored teas you don't really have the aroma problem, unless it's lapsang or jasmine, or some such tea.

Your palate does change throughout the day, so tasting them side-by-side in a single run has that advantage as well. Professional tea tasters prefer to taste late morning before lunch. When doing multiple runs back to back, you would taste lightest teas first and work to the darker teas.

Hope this is helpful!
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Postby Shelob » Nov 7th, '08, 14:39

CynTEAa wrote:
Hope this is helpful!


Thanks CynTeAa!!!!!

Very very informative, I just read your profile.... so you are a 'tea taster' for Adagio? Your knowledge on this subject will be such a great help to us! thank you, thank you, thank you.

Have a FAB Day!
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Postby Pentox » Nov 7th, '08, 15:00

Cyn, do you normally spoon your tea from tasting sets? I noticed that the tasting sets didn't come with spoons, although most don't.
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Postby Salsero » Nov 7th, '08, 15:23

CynTEAa wrote: I go cup to cup <snip> work to the darker teas.
Thanks, Cyn. This might sound like humdrum work stuff to you, but it is fascinating to those of us not in the industry.
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Postby kymidwife » Nov 7th, '08, 16:16

Excellent info Cyn, thanks!

Sarah
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Postby CynTEAa » Nov 7th, '08, 16:38

Aw, thanks, everyone! :oops: The attention makes me blush.:D

Happy to help. Yes, normally we use spoons, but they do not come with the sets. Preferably a large rounded one but any neutral tasting spoon will do.

Also for consistency, I do weigh the leaves and use an instant read thermometer to ensure the correct water temp, and of course a timer.

Properly done, tea tasters will sharply slurp the tea from the spoon, vaporizing the liquid as much as possible with the intention of it hitting all your taste buds at the same time. Be careful, though! Sometimes I still end up coughing. :)

I'll lay out paper towels to line up the tasting cups on as spills and drips are a common occurrence.

For something like Ali Shan, everyone may want to agree on a common brew method, and then a free style. Meaning, everyone brew it with the same approx weight, temp and time the first time and then brew it their own preferred way and compare notes for both methods.
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Postby Chip » Nov 7th, '08, 16:49

Great, thanks Cyn!!! It is extremely helpful receiving advice on a forum from someone with extensive industry experience with tasting.

So, not only is it good to have side by side tasting, but very controlled parameters as well.

LOL, I will struggle with the temp aspect a bit since I tend to brew these a bit off boil while the experts want to use water virtually at the boil.
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Postby Salsero » Nov 7th, '08, 16:50

CynTEAa wrote: an instant read thermometer
Is there really such a thing and where can you get them? Or are they just "pretty-quick" read ... like they stabilize in up to a minute?
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