Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tasting teas, take 2!

Back by popular demand, last night was another evening of tea consumption with an emphasis on taste. There were a few members who had missed this very educational session the first time around, so, our host decided another take was in order after many requests. To better understand taste, please do read my previous post about it.

This tasting session wasn’t as lengthy as the last one, but it was just as good. Plus, because we hold our meetings at Infuse CafĂ©, we sometimes get a chance to try two tastings. One infusion is made using the traditional method of steeping tea leaves via a teapot and filter. The other method is using the shop’s BKON system. It’s always interesting to see how much different or similar the very same tea can taste.

We reviewed the following teas:

Bitter: A black tea from Ceylon Estates. This tea had a pleasant scent of caramelized yams. What was interesting, is that we all found the BKON brew less bitter than the traditional brew. We figured, perhaps the traditional brew might have been infused a little too long. 

Something bitter.

Salty: Genmaicha mixed with Sakura. I quite liked this one, maybe because I just really like Genmaicha. Sakura cannot be drunk on its own. It is very salty. However, mixed with another tea, it adds a nice saltiness. The combination of the toasted rice and salt really went well together. I liked both the traditional and BKON brews.

Something salty.

Sour: Goishicha from Japan. This is a tea we had in the first tasting session, and it is an acquired taste. It’s quite sour with a very unusual flavour. I was thinking a mixture of lemon rinds and pieces of tamarind provides the best description. For me at least.

Sweet: Shoumei, a white tea, was a big hit. The BKON brew was slightly more astringent than the traditional brew, but still enjoyable.

Umami: Matcha Super Green is a Sencha dusted with Matcha. It’s a tea we’ve had previously, and it is on the bitter side with the traditional method less so than the BKON brew. If you really take a moment to taste this tea and understand what to look for, you will detect the umami. Allow it to sit on your tongue before gulping it down. The umami is there!

Have you had umami?

A little surprise our host brought to share with us, were treats called Nerikiri. Basically, they are navy beans made into a paste, mixed with Matcha, and formed into balls. These delights are normally served during a Japanese Tea Ceremony

A little treat!

It was a wonderful tea event with some interesting teas to test. I do believe another session on tasting with a whole new set of teas would be great. They’re always informative and really open up dialogue and discussion.

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