Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tea Tasting

Lately, I've been writing a lot of copy for tea retail sites. At the moment, most of the writing is descriptions of the teas the sites carry. For this reason, I have been undertaking tea tasting in a more serious way than I have before, and I have found that I LOVE tea tasting.

Aside from the fact that tea tasting means that I get to consider drinking tea and thinking about how it tastes "work," I love tea tasting because of the huge array of tastes out there. There are so many teas to try, and so much to taste in each tea!

Happening upon unexpected flavors is always a special treat. (Grapefruit rind and dried apricot in an Oolong. Orange blossom and cream in a white tea.) So is the unveiling of a winning aftertaste. (The build in complexity and intensity. The crescendo of a multitude of flavors. The receding of flavors that ends in a lull, an absence of the richness that was there only a moment before, a punctuation of how good it was.)

The complexity of some teas is particularly alluring to my senses right now. The elements that make up complex Oolongs are pretty easy for me to pin down (Jasmine. Yuzu. Nutmeg.), but pu-erhs are trickier. The dampness and darkness of the taste is harder for me to associate with the familiar. Perhaps I should spend a weekend or two camping to build up my sense memory of earth after the rain, fermenting wood, mushrooms, and the like! In the meantime, I'll just enjoy my tea tasting wherever I am.*

*Raleigh, NC at the moment

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