Tea Tasting!

Today my friends and I went and purchased more tea at the local tea store. We spent $30 today (got 4 50g teas and a freebie!) before we settled down and had a tea testing session. Today we had 8 teas lined up for tasting.

We did not get to the last 2 teas, it took us hours to get through the first 6 as we had to take breaks to let the caffeine buzz subside and by time we had 2 teas left we were all genuinely sick of tasting tea for the day.

We each had little index cards that we wrote our impressions of the tea on (yes, even the boyfriend reviews :P) which will be posted in the following days, but I just wanted to note a few mistakes that I feel we made:

1. DO NOT TRY TO TASTE 8 TEAS IN 5 HOURS- Despite switching up between our blacks, greens and herbals we still suffered from massive caffeine shakes. Ideally, I think tasting 3 or 4 of those teas would have sufficed.
2. Have a palate wiper- We “assumed” that my good friend’s grandmother would have crackers or something similar in the pantry. We were wrong. Dead wrong. Apparently bread is condemned in the health nut world. [She bought us fat free half-n-half(HOW THE HELL DOES THAT WORK?!) to use for our testing. Eep. O.o.] We ended up using scones we made a few weeks ago, which are delicious, but not quite the palate neutralizer that we were looking for.
5. Keep a dish water readily available. We spent more time running back and forth cleaning our cups and teapots than actually sitting and contemplating our tea.

Now for some positives that we did:
1. Note cards. They were a great idea. My friend and I both have tealogs here and it is a good way to record our first impressions so that we can look at them again when we revisit the tea.
2. Expresso cups. They were just small enough for us to get a good sip of what we were looking for.
3. Tea strainer. By using a tea strainer rather than an infuser we tasted the tea steeped uninterrupted at different strengths to see what worked best for us!
4. Quiet. For the majority of our tea tasting session, everyone was quiet until pens and pencils were down (expect when we tasted the Earl grey, we all think it smells and tastes like some sort of household cleaner, albeit not in agreement upon which one. I voted pine-sol. :) I think this really allowed us to give an unbiased interpretation of the tea experiences based off of our own sensory relation. We also played very quiet lyric-less music to encourage contemplation.

All in all, I think we did a pretty good job! It certainly was not the smoothest tasting, but I have alot of tealogs to post up over the next few days.

Have you ever had a tea tasting session? What was it like?
Do you have any suggestions for our next session as far as efficiency and a better overall tea-tasting experience?
What’s the worst tea you ever had at a tea tasting? The best?

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