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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  • http://www.beaskitchen.com/blog/ Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    Looks like a very interesting read! I am curious to hear more what you think about the book!

  • http://maegabriel.com/riceandnoodles Mae

    L, this site is bursting with so much information and great ideas! I’ve never known anyone else dedicate their time constructively just so i could be [and everyone else] well informed.

    I’m not much of a tea person but an ocassional sipper but i’m equally excited at the thought of what tea goes with what and vice versa. Grown up tea party sounds like an excellent idea!

    Thank you.

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Hi Bea – I haven’t dug into it much yet… but I definitely want to try some of the tastings. I think I want to try the honey one first, because over the summer I managed to accumulate about 6 different types (including a whole boxful of Tupelo Honey because I was inspired by the Van Morrison song :-) )

    Mae – Thanks! I’m glad you enjoy! The thing about tea is that there is such a wonderful wide variety. Check out Tealty (http://www.teality.com/) sometime for a browse through some beautiful teas and photos.