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People taste wine to discover their favourite ones. The same applies to tea!
There are main 5 categories of tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (savouriness). Tea is a combination of sour, bitter, sweet and lots of aromas.
For those of you who wish to train their taste buds trying to find out what they like about our teas, here is a Flavour Wheel of Tea Tasting.
The aroma or bouquet of the tea is what we really perceive – the sense of smell is most important in tea tasting. This is because our sense of smell, with 100 million nerve cells, is more developed than our taste buds that only have 10,000 nerve cells –– try ‘tasting’ something when you have a cold!
When we say ‘this tastes nice’ we have used both Smell and Taste to determine the flavour. Interestingly, this flavour will change and evolve in contact with our mouth.
There are extra ‘aromas’ that can be detected in the back of the mouth as we swallow the tea and we breathe in air.
When tasting tea our nose is involved in all three stages: initial aromas THEN flavour THEN aromas in back of mouth.
Tip: try sniffing air into your nose in short bursts as you try a tea to discover its full flavours.