When we taste tea, it's pretty easy for most to establish subjective thoughts such as "I like this" or "I don't like this." But, really, what's happening every time we taste tea?
We're experiencing it in multiple stages, starting with the aroma in our nose, moving into the taste on our palate, then the surrounding mouthfeel, and lastly, what's left in the aftertaste. In addition to the tasting hierarchy, there is also the dimension of quality and quantity one should consider.
The more complex a tea (complexity comes with quality), the more pronounced and pleasant each stage is. We desire a long, clean, pleasant aftertaste. As quality rises, so does the volume of experience at an increasing rate as we move up the pyramid. For example, it is quite easy for tea to have a pleasant aroma but much more challenging to have a long and pleasant aftertaste.
As connoisseurs, we begin to build a memory of taste through attention and repetition, which we can more easily fall back on to evaluate new things. Of course, we are each entitled to our own subjective preferences but as a connoisseur, we want to develop an analytical approach to tasting and that takes practice. This pyramid is one helpful tool to set a structure which within we can practice. Everything we taste has a reason that is tied back to the three pillars: terroir, cultivar, and processing.
Next time you sip on your favorite tea, we recommend paying attention to each of these pyramid levels. Try to separate the experience you have with the aroma, the taste, the mouthfeel, and the aftertaste. We hope these tips will help enhance your drinking experience and expand your understanding of your body and tea!
Try practicing with Jin Mu Dan: We feel Jin Mu Dan is a great tea for you to work on distinguishing the compartments of the Tea Tasting Pyramid. It is a very complex tea with pretty evident development of aroma, taste, texture, and aftertaste!