Tasting Sets


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Tasting Sets

Postby Thirsty Daruma » Oct 6th, '07, 18:51

Does anybody have reccomendations for vendors with good tea tasting sets? The ones with the cup, lid and plate for viewing and reviewing teas? The only sets I've seen thus far are at Upton and, at half the cost, Hao De. Any other suggestions, tips or advice?
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Postby Wesli » Oct 6th, '07, 19:16

Uhhhhh....

A gimmick?

I would really suggest getting a gaiwan and a couple small cups for tasting/smelliing. Whatever these "tasting sets" are, they don't really seem needed. Seriously, all you need to taste and smell tea, is... well... tea.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Oct 6th, '07, 19:37

They're not gimmicks... many serious tea tasters use them for evaluating the quality of teas.

That said, a gaiwan will probably suit you better if you're brewing for enjoyment. You can find some really cheap gaiwans out there, just search teachat-- I know this has come up before.
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Postby Thirsty Daruma » Oct 6th, '07, 19:38

As far as I can tell, tea tasting sets are not a gimmick. They're industry standard tasting sets designed to produce the most neutral and open display for tea tastings, used by manufacturers, producers, and merchants alike. At least, in the reading I've seen there are numerous photographs of these sets used for quality control and judgment.
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Postby Eastree » Oct 6th, '07, 19:53

Tasting sets are quite useful. They are basically *like* a gaiwan, for regular brewing, at least in the sense of being a simple vessel for brewing. However, you must understand that some teas will do quite poorly if you ONLY use the suggested brew parameters.

For judging teas, those paramters are used, as I understand, only for teas that do not over-steep at that time and temperature. Otherwise, they seem to be quite useful. I[m tempted to eventually get one for myself.
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Postby Wesli » Oct 6th, '07, 20:41

I still don't understand. The only thing that would make sense about it, is the "standard" tasting set, which would give everyone a more similar brew when they try a tea (for comparing reviews and such).

What really isn't making sense is the tasting spoon. What purpose does this serve except to take the nose further away from the tea?
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Postby ABx » Oct 7th, '07, 04:23

I have a tasting set, and they're really quite nice. It's a bit thicker than a gaiwan, which makes it a bit better for darker teas, it would certainly be a whole lot easier to carry around and use at any kind of event, the cup is particularly nice, and the spoon both gives you a much easier way to really smell the aroma as well as very quickly cools very hot tea so you don't burn your tongue (even moreso than normal spoons). The spoon also makes it easier to slurp the tea in the way you need to for a proper tasting.

You might try taking a spoon, dip it in some tea, hold it about 4-6 inches above the teacup while you take a whiff from the spoon - I've found that you can get a lot more from the aroma than any other way. I'm sure this is in part due to the fact that you're also getting some of the aroma that you otherwise wouldn't be able to get until you reach the bottom of the cup.

I forget I have it sometimes, but when I do I will use it especially for anything I'm having a hard time getting right. Although you might be able to get the same results from a gaiwan, you can usually get those results more easily with the tasting sets.

And lastly no, it's not a gimmick. If you check out pictures from professional testers and some of the events you will often see a row of these sets with a different tea brewed in each. If I remember right, the History Channel documentary showed the company taster at Lipton using them to check the various blends.
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Postby Proinsias » Oct 7th, '07, 19:47

I've also heard of the spoon being used to check the colour and the clarity when evaluating particularly dark teas like shu pu-erh or liu bao.

I think I'll probably stick with a gaiwan in the house but I do use one of those large thermal cups at work and decant the tea into a mug which seems similar, if made of plastic.
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Postby Wesli » Oct 7th, '07, 19:52

Humbug!
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Postby Thirsty Daruma » Oct 8th, '07, 23:56

I guess my purpose was to find a nice, neutral white single serving vessel for photographs and evaluation. Just plain old, plain old white. A Gaiwan could fulfill that purpose, but then I need serving glass suggestions.

And if my preferred tea drinking vessel is approximately an 8 oz mug, will a Gaiwan fulfill my brewing needs? (Love the idea of easy re-steeping of the leaves).
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