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Want to take your love for tea to the next level?
A connoisseur is someone who is an expert in matters of taste as applied to music, food, art and more. What separates a connoisseur from a pure lover or aficionado of tea, for example, is how much more knowledge they have accumulated in regards to all aspects of tea.
What is a Tea Connoisseur?
A tea connoisseur is someone who is exceptionally passionate about tea and has a deep love and affection for it. Tea has a rich heritage dating back almost 5,000 years, and so a connoisseur is one that has also taken the time to learn everything about its history and cultural significance.
Many are only familiar with the tea that comes in tea bags produced for mass consumption. However, over the last decade or two, there has been a growing movement of going “back to tea basics” – like centuries “back” – to appreciate tea made following traditional methods to this day.
This growth in interest is brought about by our increasingly connected world and the main centres of traditional tea farming, processing and brewing, predominantly China and even some parts of India, are now more accessible. The many natural health benefits of tea coupled with the organic, all-natural food movements have also added to the ever-increasing numbers of tea aficionados and connoisseurs.
What are the Steps to Become a True Tea Connoisseur?
Lose Yourself in Loose Leaf Tea
Loose Leaf Tea is of a higher quality than the tea you find in tea bags. Bagged teas usually consist of the “dust and fannings” or the smaller, broken pieces of bigger tea leaves. Torn and broken tea leaves mean some of its essential oils and antioxidant properties have leaked out and evaporated so you are left with a tea that is less vibrant in taste and no longer as fresh as whole, unbroken loose leaf tea.
The History Of Tea
Read up and study on the history of tea. Where did it originate? What are the health benefits of tea? When did it become popular? Where is it grown? What kind of impact has it made on society in general throughout history? These are the kinds of topics you can learn about regarding tea.
Discover the Different Kinds of Tea
A Tea connoisseur should be familiar with all the tea variants such as Black, White, Green, Pu-erh, Oolong and more. You need to know what region they grow in and their different flavour profiles. You’ll have to taste A LOT of tea and also understand how they are brewed where they are grown.
Learn How to Brew Tea Properly
You need to learn the popular western style of brewing as well as the more precise and mindful Chinese Kung Fu method of preparing tea. You can even take it a step further and learn how the Japanese, as well as other Asian countries, brew their tea. To brew tea correctly, use the freshest water, find the optimum tea to water ratio, ensure the right temperature and determine the number of times you steep your tea. All these elements combine to make the perfect cup.
Hone Your Tea Tasting Abilities
Finally, a true tea connoisseur knows that all teas taste differently, even if they brewed precisely the same way. There are so many factors that affect the taste of tea, its terroir, the way it is processed, the tea accessories used, the brewing method and even your state of mind. Develop your tea tasting abilities with continuous practice so you can discern between tea’s many tastes and flavour notes, aromas, texture, weight and colour.
The most critical goal in becoming a true tea connoisseur is to reaffirm your passion for tea. It should be a journey undertaken out of love and a desire to discover all the health, taste and mental wellness benefits tea has to offer.