IS TOO SHORT
BAD TEAS .
The finish of a tea lingers in the throat and could sweeten the mouthfeel is called the "Sweetish Finish" 回甘.
TO SENSE A TEA BY ITS
APPEARANCE , NOTE , TASTE ,
MOUTHFEEL & FINISH .
Tea tasting in the tea ceremony is a way to explore senses, to distinguish taste, to practice mind-through-body balance and to assist a person in focusing on the present. With the world of Taiwanese tea opening up, we are here to point in some directions on the tea tasting map of how to sense a Taiwanese tea:
LOOK AT DRY LEAF
The roundness of the Rolled/Ball and Half-Ball Oolong dry leaves 球形/半球形烏龍茶乾 may tell if the tea is well preserved. The thorny touch of the Thin-and-Twisted Oolong 條索形烏龍茶乾 may tell if the tea is well-made. More coverage of white hair on tea leaves usually causes a creamier & thicker tea body.
Look at the dry leaves. How does it form? Is it rolled/Ball, Half-Ball, Thin-and-Twisted or in another form?
LOOK AT THE COLOR OF TEA
The world of oolong is colorful and the shades of it can be influenced by many factors! Such as high oxidization/roasting, being insect infected, high brewing temperature, softer water and so. It's hard to tell a tea's quality by judging the color of tea liquid, but it surely is enjoyable to appreciate its presence.
Look at the color of tea liquid. What color is it? Could you describe the degree of it shades?
LOOK AT THE CLARITY OF TEA
The reason which causes a cloudy cup of tea can range from "Good" to "Absolutely no-no"! Some detachable contents of tea leaves, such as white hair and soluble fiber, can make the tea less clear, but also, malpractices during tea processing can also result in a tea with less clarity. To distinguish one from another, you need to consider it through other senses.
Look at the tea liquid. Is it bright or cloudy?
LOOK AT STEEPED LEAF
Lots of information can be obtained from the brewed/steeped tea leaves.
For example, the tea cultivar & several micro-climate conditions can be revealed by the morphology of the leaf or different kinds of wounds are telling how the tea plants were infected by types of insects. Learn to read the steeped tea leaves is to understanding tea. And of course, a very symbolic gesture to appreciate how tea was transformed and came a long way from simple plant to a cup of perfection.
Look at the steeped leaves. How does it shape? Can you tell the ratio between leaves, buds, and stems? Is it wounded? How do the wounds look like? What color are the leaves? Does the edge of the leaf inlay with a different color? Dose the cutting-edge of the stem looks clean & sharp? Or does it look uneven?
SNIFF THE NOTES
Tea notes would change through stages during the brewing process:
The first stage, "Steam Note 悶蒸香", perceived after the tea leaves are getting steamed by the vapor. They form not just a person's initial impression of a tea but also are loaded with the fundamental information, such as if the tea is properly preserved.
With the tea brewing, follows the second stage of the tea note, the "note of the tea liquid 茶香". The scent of this note is usually light and mellow, for most of the aroma compounds are already evaporated or being dissolved into tea flavor.
The final stage of the tea notes is the scent that has been left on the bottom of a drained cup, the "Post-Brew Note 杯底香". The Post-Brew Note brings depth to tea and it concludes a tea's performance.
When sensing the tea by smelling, the first thing is to notice the off-odors. Musty, greasy, sour, muddy odors make considered that the tea is malpractice and not states healthy to consume. Describe the notes. What is the major tone of the tea? Have you detected other scents? Is there any off-odor?
TASTE THE TEA
The flavor of the tea liquid is like the script to a tea: it reflects a tea's true content and triggers the tasting sensations. It is uncompromisable.
The "Flavor Wheel of Taiwanese Tea 台茶風味輪", which was reannounced by the national tea-research agency of Taiwan (Tea Research & Extention Station, the TRES 行政院農業委員會茶業改良場) in January 2020, may draw a range of possible flavors that a properly processed Taiwanese oolong or Taiwanese black tea could offer.
Taste the tea liquid. Describe the flavors using the terms on the Flavor Wheel of Taiwanese Tea. Find out the Flavor Wheel of Taiwanese Tea here.
WEIGHT THE MOUTHFEEL
Common descriptions regarding mouthfeel include astringency and the body of the tea.
One desirable development of astringency of tea matches the following stages: astringency level starts low, gradually develops in the mouth, disappears shortly, and ends with only the sweetness in the mouth (the Sweetish Mouthfeel 回甘).
A description such as weighty, creamy, smooth and full body is used when talks about the denseness and heaviness in a tea taster's mouth; otherwise, the tea might be marked out as watery. The body of the tea is mainly influenced by the amount of soluble fiber in the tea.
Is the tea being weighty, creamy, full body or watery? How is the astringency of the tea developed? Does the tea offer a sweetish finish?
TO COMPARE THE IN-MOUTH SENSATIONS
WITH SIMPLE SCALES .
Practices make perfect. The most precise way to structure your tea palate and preference is by doing tea tasting and recording your observation frequently. Flavorwise, you could simply use scales such as the following to remind yourself of how a tea performs.
TO RECOGNIZE A TEA BY ITS BIRTH FACTS
PROCESSING CRAFT &
Have you been confused about recognizing the name of a Taiwanese tea, for many teas have more than one name? No worry, it happens all the time even to the locals! There are too many ways to name a tea and people are often too creative about it. To illustrate, Oriental Beauty Oolong (which was named by British merchants since the 19th century) was also called White-Tip Oolong for its appearance, Champagne Oolong for some say it is a good pair to a few drops of Champagne or Brandy, or Puff Oolong for it can be so pricey so no one would believe!
Here at Deerland Tea, we recognize a tea not merely by its common name but its "birth fact"-- the fact which is able to be traced and no longer confusing to tea lovers from any planet.
There are 6 questions you can ask when comes to do a background check on a tea, which are:
1. Region (Which tea region is the tea plantation?)
2. Elevation (How high does the tea plantation locate?)
Tea from tea trees cultivated between 1,000 and 2,614 meters above sea level are categorized as “High Mountain Teas” in Taiwan.
3. Season (Which season and which year did the tea harvest? If it's an aged tea, where and how it was stored?)
4. Cultivar (Which tea cultivar was the tea produced with?)
5. Oxidation (How high is the oxidation level of the tea?)
6. Roasting (Is the tea roasted? How high is the roasting degree?)
DEERLAND TEA COLLECTION:
TEA SOMMELIER'S PICK &
SELF-TAUGHT TEA TASTING LESSONS
When it comes to our Taiwanese tea, the Deerland Tea Collection, two things can always be sure:
One, that all of our teas are selected by professional tea sommeliers for its quality performance on refreshing one's sense.
Two, that we only do direct-trade with the tea plantations we trust, especially those we have direct connections to. Our responsibility is to make sure that every tea-processing step in between a tea tree and your cup is made fair and healthy-to-consume. And we aim to assist you to navigate the flavor map of the quality Taiwanese tea in an enjoyable and systematic way.
We would suggest you start your first self-taught tea tasting by savoring and comparing two teas that differ from each other in only one of its birth facts. For instance, our D501-A19 and C521-A19 Deerland Black Oolongs.
D501-A19 is exactly the same batch of oolong tea as C521-A19 only without being roasted. People tend to notice quickly that C521-A19 has an extra toasty, smoky and sugary flavor in its taste.
D501-A19 DEERLAND BLACK OOLONG
Autumn 2019. Deerland Tea Region | 300 m. Oxidation Level: High. Roasting Degree: None
Honey. Ripe Fruit. Caramel. Raisin.
Malt. Ripe Fruit. Rosé. Avocado.
C521-A19 DEERLAND ROASTED BLACK OOLONG
Autumn 2019. Deerland Tea Region | 300 m. Oxidation Level: High. Roasting Degree: Medium.
Honey. Ripe Fruit. Caramel. Toast. Tabacco.
Caramel. Rosé. Toast.
Malt. Ripe Fruit. Rosé. Avocado. Coffee.