A new episode of seasonal favorite, Tasting Vocabulary! Spring is the time for all our favorite greens to come back in season, and so it’s a perfect time to explore with greater nuance and build on one of the most commonly used taste descriptors, especially for green teas: “vegetal.” This vocabulary can also be applied to other lighter teas, as well, including white teas and greener oolongs.

In Tasting Vocabulary, we taste and smell the same items our teas are said to be reminiscent of being like. The idea is to build our immediate familiarity with various tastes, as well as to better understand the ways in which these tastes and aromas play out in the experience of tea, from start to finish.

Suggested materials for this class include:
– Electric kettle
– Gram scale
– Timer
– Tasting spoon
– Leaf trays for each sample of tea
– Cupping sets (or gaiwan or similar size): 4-6 idea, but 3 is ok too
– Teas! A selection of teas you would describe as tasting like veggies. This mainly applies to green teas, but of course can also be in some very fresh white teas or greener oolongs. The green teas I will be tasting include: Huang Shan Mao Feng, Lu An Gua Pian, Clouds & Mist (all Chinese greens), Kukicha and Gyokuro (both Japanese teas).

In this workshop, we also taste foods that are characteristic of these teas. For “vegetal”, this most notably includes: Spinach (both raw and steamed), artichoke, sugar snap peas, fresh English peas, asparagus (raw and cooked), lettuce greens (red type and green type), arugula/rocket, cucumber (peeled), fresh herbs (tarragon, oregano, spearmint are good choices). Micro-greens, if you have access to them, are also common descriptors in green tea.

To prepare, simply place a small portion of each food (a spoonful or two) onto small dishes and have this available on your table next to the teas you are tasting. You’ll be tasting and smelling little bites of each item as you taste each tea. Happy tasting!

For further reading: “Tea: A Nerd’s Eye View” by Virginia Uttermohlen Lovelace MD

Original airdate May 2020