I have drunk more varieties of tea than the average consumer, though much, much less than Rajiv Lochan, Geoff Norman, Tony Gebely or Robert Godden (though I am suspect of Roberts’ perceived numbers as he is not at all fond on Japanese Teas).
Now I must also clarify, I stated I have drunk more varieties of tea, although more cups of tea may not stand up in numerical statistics, for I know a few stalwart Lipton/Tetley/Red Rose and sweet tea, consumers that would probably surpass me in cups of tea consumed. And then again, my premise may not hold true, as these “blends in bags” may contain a multitude of cultivated varieties.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I had not decided which of the raw pu-erhs I would deem a favorite. This gave me cause to consider how I make those choices.
My palate preferences run the gamut and land on choices based on certain criteria and not in any particular order: my mood, the weather, what I am eating, and how I want to feel.
In adding a tea to my favorite list, I will take into account:
The aroma of the leaf-I have mentioned in the past that there are times when just opening a canister of tea, I am transported to a different state of being, country or venue (much to do with how I associate the scent of the tea). The aromatic wafting of the leaves prepares me for the brew I will sip.
The aroma of the brew-Sometimes true to the aroma of the leaf and other times the water may highlight other notes in the brew, for example floral or fruity notes.
The look-I appreciate both the look of the leaf as well as the color and clarity of the brew. I examine the richness or subtly of color, the depth of color or whimsical lightness of the liquid swirling in my cup.
The characteristics-The texture, the body and flavor of the brew, and can I rely on it consistently. Once I have found the right brewing measurements for my palate, if repeated, will it always bring that same pleasure and satisfaction.
The sapor or aftertaste-Also called Hui Gan is the sensation that envelops the mouth and back of the throat. It is the lingering sensation that usually compels me to want more.
How it makes me feel– The qi, how the tea reacts with my body enabling me to relax or accelerate. I have had several experiences where a certain tea will address specifically, what my body needs at that moment, matcha being just one example.
Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black
Earth Morning (a blend of my creation)