What’s quarintine without learning something new? Surprise, surprise I’ve been doing some research on tea. Today’s fascinating subject is Tea Evaluation Steps.
What do you mean Erica? It’s true, not all teas are created equal. Therefore, there is an evaluation process to grade dried loose leaf tea. I’m not going to go into all the grades in this post, but will share the best way to evaluate loose leaf tea to see if it’s a good quality tea.
Step 1: Place tea into a sample plate. Lighter plate colors are best in order to see the leaves.
Step 2: Set up your table for evaluation. Including your teacup with lid, another cup or bowl to pour tea in, and spoon to stir.
Step 3: Check your tea leaves by flipping to see if all angles of the leaves are staying together or breaking. A lower quality tea will have more than 5% of their leaves broken. The majority of factory produced teas automatically are considered a lower quality since the machines break and crush the leaves while processing.
Step 4: Pick a small sample from the sample plate to brew.
Step 5: Brew tea at best temperature for that type of tea: white, oolong and green about 185 degrees Fahrenheit, and black, pu-erh, herbal and rooibos about 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 6: Timing. For those teas at 185 degrees Fahrenheit steep 3 minutes. Teas at 212 degrees Fahrenheit steep 5 minutes.
Step 7: Pour liquid into extra cup or bowl without the loose leaf tea. Let cool for about a minute.
Step 8: Shake the cup that holds the loose leaves and smell the tea. If the tea looses it’s scent quickly, then it is poor quality.
Step 9: Check the liquid color of the tea. Green tea will have a spring green color; the older it is the more brown or murky green it will be. Black tea will be a bright reddish gold and leave a ring around the top of the cup. The other teas vary in color from light to dark.
Step 10: Taste the tea by placing a spoonful in your mouth and letting the tea turn 2-3 times. Does it taste fresh? Is the after taste staying around for a while? (Good quality lingers). Enjoy the flavors 😉
Step 11: Check the leaves by laying them on a light colored plate with a little liquid from the tea. Have the leaves stayed whole? (In the example below, they have not)
There ya have it. That’s how you evaluate tea to see if it’s good quality. Will I be doing this often? Nah. Just a fun bit of information and, who knows, could become a fun activity at a tea party.