Tasting Tea

Also published on Well Fed Network’s A Nice Cuppa

I recently purchased a book on tastings. As a food writer, I’m always on the look out for ways to refine my sense of taste and to better turn the flavors on my tongue into words that my readers can relate to. Simply saying “it tastes good” really doesn’t cut it. So, when I happened to see Tasting Club written up in one of the gazillion food magazines that I read each month, I immediately placed my order. I was hoping for a chapter on tasting coffee and was a little disappointed that one wasn’t included. But, the book covers such a fantastically wide range of food types, from wine to honey to olive oil to meats, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. And, while coffee wasn’t on the docket, there is a beautiful chapter on tasting tea.

Starting with a bit of a history lesson and background on tea, tea types, and how the tea is picked and processed, the book moves on to how to host a real grown-up tea party; a tea party that helps you familiarize yourself not just with current goings on of your friends, but let’s you delve into the flavors of the tea and to start to connect to those terms like bright, velvety, ripe or tannic. It’s also peppered with good advice, like how long tea lasts (it loses flavor after about a year… so it may be time to clean out your tea cabinet), the difference between herbal and true teas, and a menu of (and recipes for) accompaniments to have with your tasting… treats like port-infused fig and orange scones and almond-scented green tea shortbread with cardamom sugar.

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