You don’t have to be a trained expert to taste tea like a professional – and as a gin aficionado, you already have all of the skills you need to pick a winner!
Simply follow these three key pieces of advice from Bethan Thomas, Whittard of Chelsea's Tea Product Manager, for a perfect tea tasting.
How to taste tea like a pro
1. Stay Scientific
“It’s extremely important to approach tasting scientifically,” says Bethan. “It essentially levels the playing field when comparing teas from different suppliers.” Make sure that you measure the tea painstakingly (two grams for small leaf and three for large leaf, per person) and ensure that you brew your tea for the correct time: three minutes if you won’t add milk, five if you will. Wait five seconds between adding water to each successive tea, so that every blend has the exact same time to infuse.
2. Be watchful of your water
Never over boil your kettle, and don’t boil water for a second time. “It will affect the flavour of your tea,” Bethan says.
That goes for the temperature of the water, too. Boiling water will ruin the taste of green, white and yellow teas; use water off the boil (80 degrees) to bring out the rich umami qualities of these tender leaves.
3. Slurp, then sip
It may be bad manners at the dinner table, but slurping is a must when you’re trying tea. “Essentially,” Bethan explains, “you’re getting lots of oxygen into your mouth, which helps you to better taste the infusion.”
Just like gin, it’s also important that you coat your entire palate, and therefore experience the entirety of the taste sensation. Also like gin, spitting into a bucket is also recommended; drinking too much tea – much like drinking too much gin! – can leave you feeling the wrong kind of funny.