Tea is more than just a drink – for many, it is an experience. Being the second most consumed beverage in the world and in so many shapes and forms, we often forget that appreciating a good cup of tea is almost an art form.
A cup of tea with friends and family is a way to form bonds and have meaningful conversations, but tea can also be enjoyed alone, and the experience can be wonderful one.
Using the human body’s main senses, you can take your tea drinking experience to a more sophisticated level.
Touch: Tea leaves come in various grades such Broken Orange Pekoe or Dust. The rule of thumb is higher quality tea leaves tend to be long leaf tea leaves (which means it has not been heavily processed). If you touch the leaves and they are long and somewhat curly with very few dust particles such as the BOH Palas Afternoon Tea, you are likely going to enjoy a high quality tea.
Sight: After you have boiled your water, pay attention to your tea. Once you let it steep, gradually, the water will become darker as the tea leaves begin to infuse and release its flavours. The darker the colour, the stronger the flavour, which can lead to the tea becoming quite bitter, but too light a colour and the taste can be diluted. For high grade black teas, you should aim for your tea to have a bright golden colour, similar to the sun rising during at dawn whereas the lower the grade goes, the colour of tea has a more reddish hue.
Smell: Before tasting your tea, take in a deep breath with your nose close to your cup, let the aroma envelop your senses. A pleasant and aromatic smell can trigger the body in many different ways, from changing your mood to enriching the flavour of the meal you’re about to consume. Smell is a powerful sense for the body so taking a good whiff of freshly brewed tea is going to make drinking it even more delicious.
Taste: The finale of tea preparation, tasting. The best way to enjoy a delicious cup of freshly brewed teas is to take a sip and swirl it around in your mouth. Let the tea spread throughout your entire palate, tasting and almost describing in your mind the flavour of the tea you are experiencing. A good cup of black tea has a smooth texture with brisk flavour, indicating its freshness and a very mild astringency, which is natural and comes from the tannins inside the tea leaves.
Bonus – Sound: Not directly related to how you experince a good cup of tea, but listening to the sound of a kettle boiling, the pouring motion of the hot water into the cup and that ‘clink’ sound you hear when mixing your tea with a spoon adds to the entire tea experience.