How do we taste and what is the taste of tea at all?
Taste or gustatory perception is one of the five traditional senses and we perceive with small taste buds on our tongue sensory impression of five basic tastes.
Taste of tea in the sense of beverage from poured water over dried leaves or buds of camellia sinensis varies greatly, common tastes are a bit bitter, slightly sweet and enjoyable umami.
Fresh tea leaves contain between 25-35% of Phenols, mainly Epigallocatechin Gallate EGCG, a potent antioxidant, which provides green tea bitterness, whereas in black tea more tannins contains leading to its typical silky astringency. Tea of old trees absorb minerals from tree's deep roots and therefore we perceive slightly salty taste.
Which qualities of tea we taste and how we classify them?
Out of basic tastes, further sensations can be defined like astringency, camphor, floral and others. Actually we taste not exclusively by our mouth, rather using a set of sensory impressions like texture, fragrance, temperature and appearance.
The interaction of these impressions while tasting tea, reminds us of enjoying a drupe, nuts, smokey bacon - you name it.
To make interactive impressions of different teas sessions comparable, wine enthusiasts developed a recognized tool, a so called "Aroma Wheel of Wine".
We have derived an equivalent for tea sessions and tried it many times with our portfolio and confirm - yes it let us easily describe tea session to one another.
In a further step we developed three basic questions, answer them by ticking your taste expectations and as a query result get a short list of suitable teas out of Cha-Shifu's selection.
Are you interested in Chinese tea or do you want to deepen your way of tea?
Helping you to explore your “Chádào - Way of tea”, we selected a starter box, comprising of 6 samples from traditional Chinese tea and useful tools. Each sample is enough to experience 3 or 4 tea sessions and will provide you a profound access to Chinese tea. For successful tea preparation following the authentic "Gongfu" or two pots method, an easy to use tool set completes "Introduction to Chinese tea".
In a second step further selections will provide you a profound taste understanding of:
- High Mountain garden Raw Pu-erh vs. Plantation tea of Menghai
- Dark and Ripe Pu-erh vs. Chinese Red tea or Westerners Black tea
- Green tea vs. White and Yellow tea
- The three groups of Chinese Oolong tea
- The 12 Classic blends recipes of Menghai tea factory by Dayi
- Ripeness from fresh to semi-aged to aged Pu-erh tea
What teas Cha-Shifu offers and which one fits my taste best?
Our expertise comprises of premium tea from the origin of tea in today's Yunnan and all over China. All kind of tea grow from Camellia Sinensis, its processing makes the difference.
When it comes to choose the right teapot for releasing the flavor of a kind or group of tea leaves in an optimized way, you should be clear about:
- For how many people, I make tea normally - size?
- For which kind of tea I'm searching a teapot - shape, surface?
Typically different materials influence the taste of tea. A tea taster uses a porcelain set for comparing different teas, because of porcelaine smooth surface taste won't be influenced.
Where does tea comes from and who cultivates tea?
The tea plant Camellia sinensis was found in today's Southwest China, Yunnan province and its neighboring regions of Northeast Myanmar as well as Indias Assam region, Camellia sinensis var assamica. Today there are still some wild tea forests in Yunnan, Camellia taliensis, but the vast majority of tea is cultivated in gardens in China south of Yellow River, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey to name the top 5 producers.
Particular in Yunnan, Pu'er tea is cultivated by minorities of Dai, Bulang and Hani, whereas in rest of Chinas tea gardens with its Green, Red (Black), Yellow, White and Oolong tea plantations are cultivated by Han people.