subjectivity in tea tasting

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Apr 22nd 16 3:44 am
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subjectivity in tea tasting

by john.b » Apr 22nd 16 3:44 am

I recently interviewed a number of tea bloggers, and a wine maker, and used input from a chocolate blogger and chocolatier to collect some input about tasting process, some factors related to judgment about taste / flavor components and subjectivity.

Usually I like to summarize here so this isn't just link dumping, and then people can decide better if they want to click through or not, but since it involved using slightly different scope of input from five different people, related but over a range of different ideas, it's hard to pull together like that. But I will give it a go:

-one tea blogger mentioned how a mild autism condition seemed to affect her sense of taste

-another mentioned his own tasting process, which only touched on issues related to description and subjectity

-a more academically oriented tea blogger went further into theory of taste, environmental factors and how that sense works

-I used earlier chocolate blogger input that discussed subjectivity in chocolate review, to what extent everyone would or wouldn't offer the same descriptions, along with a bit about how not eating anything for some time prior to tasting eliminates one variable influence

-a wine maker discussed subjectivity related to tasting, and more on tasting theory, offering a comparison to judgment about beauty to taste, to describe to what extent judgment is objective

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... n-tea.html

Apr 22nd 16 4:42 am
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Re: subjectivity in tea tasting

by Bok » Apr 22nd 16 4:42 am

Nice article, thanks for posting – and writing it!

One might add that in addition, the most critical point for any review is that one does simply not know how good and developed the reviewers tastebuds really are. Even more difficult to confirm over the web.

She or he might just be a good writer, be a nice person, look the part, whatever – but not necessarily possess a good taste.

That is why i mostly do not care what anyone writes about a certain tea, unless I can confirm with my own palate if the person is trustworthy in that sense. Reputation by itself is a good hint, but in any subject a surprising number of highly estimated experts, are actually unjustifiably so. At least in my experience…

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Apr 25th 16 10:33 am
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Re: subjectivity in tea tasting

by john.b » Apr 25th 16 10:33 am

That is an excellent point. To serve as a good reference the reviewer would need a good palate, to be able to identify flavors and other related sensations, and also to have the relevant knowledge of what the tea should be like.

With only the first they could still give you a great idea what the tea experience would be like but the second would be really useful to map that back to some common expectations about the type.

One obvious way to get a good feel for that is to try a tea they are reviewing. It has to be identical, the same type and year, etc., and even something like storage variation can throw that off a bit. It's funny how so many blogs barely include a description that even with common tasting it would be hard to tell if they were really accurate.

For me I don't care so much if reviews get to the bottom of a flavors description, more about just capturing the sense. Really I don't end up buying teas on detailed recommendations very often, or for that matter reading or seeing video reviews regularly; just too boring. In the end I catch reviews sporadically and read as many blog posts because I like story telling aspects or whatever else, maybe something off the wall, like this post.