Continuing our theme on the elements of tasting tea, in this class, we’ll explore perhaps one of the most misunderstood characteristics of the tea sensory experience: astringency. Just what is it, and are you supposed to like it??? Why is it there? How is it different from tea to tea, or even in different brewing? A good primer for this class (although certainly not required) is in the library, Essentials of Tea Tasting, covering these basic terms at a first-glance view.
To taste along during the class, you’ll prepare 2 sets of teas, totally of your choice.
– Set 1 = 2-3 teas from the same category, with more similarities than differences. I would suggest white teas or oolong teas for this one (teas which are usually quite low in astringency). In my set, I compare 3 oolong teas, with varying oxidation and roast.
– Set 2 = 2-4 teas each from different categories, plus 1 that you’ll carryover from the first set. So, using 3-4 new teas max. In my set, I am comparing one of my earlier oolongs with a green, white, black and sheng pu’erh.
– Cupping sets are ideal for this exercise (4-5 sets, depending on how many teas you brew). You could also use gaiwans, small pots or brew baskets.
– Gram scale
– Electric kettle + thermometer (if your kettle does not adjust temp)
– Tasting spoon
– Optional: Being Tea Comparative Tasting Sheet (2 copies)
Also, I offer a simple food tasting in the beginning to talk about how astringency shows up in foods, as well as beverages. You could eat a few small pieces of raw green leafy vegetables, or a piece of raw fruit with edible skins (apple, grape, peach – I eat an apple for my demo).
Original airdate September 2020