Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Old 06-12-2009, 06:25 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Taste testing strategies

I would be interested in any opinions on the most effective ways, or
at least the tradeoffs of various ways, to test new teas.

I have two main questions:

1. What's the best way to vary the parameters?

2. Is it better to test multiple pots of the same tea or intersperse
the tests with pots of other teas?



Question 1: How to vary the parameters?

Dominic has suggested starting out with about 1 tsp/cup and brewing
for 15 seconds. Then increase the steep time by 15 second increments
until the sweet spot is found. I have tested that approach and found
it useful.

I presume that testing would then continue at a different strength
depending on the results of the above. If too weak, increase to 1.5
tsp/cup.

I weigh everything, at least in the beginning, so usually start with
1.0 g/cup and go from there.

Does anyone have any comments on this general approach or suggestions
for another way to test?


Question 2: Multiple tests of one tea or interspersed?

Next question is whether to test several pots of the same tea back to
back or intersperse them with other teas.

My approach has been to test just one pot of each tea, then go to a
different tea. My thinking was that this is a fairer test because it
is more like a randomized experiment.

Testing several pots of the same tea back to back does provide a
better direct comparison, but I worry that my palate gets affected by
the previous pots.



Any comments appreciated.

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Old 07-12-2009, 04:28 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Taste testing strategies

Take 2... take 1 lost in a Computer PSU failure

Prof Wonmug wrote:
I would be interested in any opinions on the most effective ways, or
at least the tradeoffs of various ways, to test new teas.

I have two main questions:

1. What's the best way to vary the parameters?

2. Is it better to test multiple pots of the same tea or intersperse
the tests with pots of other teas?



Question 1: How to vary the parameters?

Dominic has suggested starting out with about 1 tsp/cup and brewing
for 15 seconds. Then increase the steep time by 15 second increments
until the sweet spot is found. I have tested that approach and found
it useful.

I presume that testing would then continue at a different strength
depending on the results of the above. If too weak, increase to 1.5
tsp/cup.

I weigh everything, at least in the beginning, so usually start with
1.0 g/cup and go from there.

Does anyone have any comments on this general approach or suggestions
for another way to test?


What is your goal for the test: getting to know the tea better or
quickly finding good parameters for brewing the tea? What I generally do
with a "new" tea is to start with some standard brewing parameters and
then going to the extremes pretty radically: double and half the brewing
time (and then double/half again) Brew colder/hotter in 10 C (20 F) steps...
These tests teach you about the character of your tea and will tell you
how "flaws" in your brewing methods show up in the taste of the tea.

If you are searching for an optimum, you should make a matrix and test
several combinations of Leave/Water ratio, temperature and steep
duration; but that could lead to a lot of tests: 3 different weights, 3
different temperatures and 4 different steep times gives 3*3*4=36 tests.
(Keep notes of your tests!)

Question 2: Multiple tests of one tea or interspersed?

Next question is whether to test several pots of the same tea back to
back or intersperse them with other teas.

My approach has been to test just one pot of each tea, then go to a
different tea. My thinking was that this is a fairer test because it
is more like a randomized experiment.

Testing several pots of the same tea back to back does provide a
better direct comparison, but I worry that my palate gets affected by
the previous pots.


If you make smaller pots (mug-size), you can do more experiments (and
drink the resulting tea) in a day... Yes, the previous tests influence
what you taste and it is hard to properly evaluate a weak cup if you've
had a much stronger cup before it. Going from weak to strong should not
be a problem.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:24 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Taste testing strategies

On Dec 7, 10:28*am, Peter Roozemaal
wrote:
Take 2... take 1 lost in a Computer PSU failure





Prof Wonmug wrote:
I would be interested in any opinions on the most effective ways, or
at least the tradeoffs of various ways, to test new teas.


I have two main questions:


1. What's the best way to vary the parameters?


2. Is it better to test multiple pots of the same tea or intersperse
the tests with pots of other teas?


Question 1: How to vary the parameters?


Dominic has suggested starting out with about 1 tsp/cup and brewing
for 15 seconds. Then increase the steep time by 15 second increments
until the sweet spot is found. I have tested that approach and found
it useful.


I presume that testing would then continue at a different strength
depending on the results of the above. If too weak, increase to 1.5
tsp/cup.


I weigh everything, at least in the beginning, so usually start with
1.0 g/cup and go from there.


Does anyone have any comments on this general approach or suggestions
*for another way to test?


What is your goal for the test: getting to know the tea better or
quickly finding good parameters for brewing the tea? What I generally do
with a "new" tea is to start with some standard brewing parameters and
then going to the extremes pretty radically: double and half the brewing
time (and then double/half again) Brew colder/hotter in 10 C (20 F) steps....
These tests teach you about the character of your tea and will tell you
how "flaws" in your brewing methods show up in the taste of the tea.

If you are searching for an optimum, you should make a matrix and test
several combinations of Leave/Water ratio, temperature and steep
duration; but that could lead to a lot of tests: 3 different weights, 3
different temperatures and 4 different steep times gives 3*3*4=36 tests..
(Keep notes of your tests!)

Question 2: Multiple tests of one tea or interspersed?


Next question is whether to test several pots of the same tea back to
*back or intersperse them with other teas.


My approach has been to test just one pot of each tea, then go to a
different tea. My thinking was that this is a fairer test because it
is more like a randomized experiment.


Testing several pots of the same tea back to back does provide a
better direct comparison, but I worry that my palate gets affected by
*the previous pots.


If you make smaller pots (mug-size), you can do more experiments (and
drink the resulting tea) in a day... Yes, the previous tests influence
what you taste and it is hard to properly evaluate a weak cup if you've
had a much stronger cup before it. Going from weak to strong should not
be a problem.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


I have tested two and only two teas against each other. The teas
should be similar in the first place, like two Ceylons, and brewed in
the same size cup from the same water for the same time. Toci
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Old 08-12-2009, 02:12 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Taste testing strategies

When you see tea tastings by professionals judging many different teas
at a time consistency is the norm for brewing ie all teas are made the
same way. I am so consistent I brew all teas the same way ie a couple
of grams in a cup, add boiling water, and wait an indeterminate about
of time depending on visual and aromatic feedback. You develop a
taste for tea that is independent of the way it is brewed. Every tea
can be said to have a sweet spot. For me it is not worth pursuing
varying this and that. I think it eventually comes out in the wash so
to speak anyway. It takes me about six months of on and off again tea
tasting for it to make an impression one way or the other. I go to
tea tastings at shoppes. All I come away with is being tea drunk with
a headache.

Jim

PS I just came across an interesting Ceylon grade I had stuck away.
It is what I would call needle grade tea which I only find in Chinese
greens. Half of the needle is white and the other black based on the
length not the tip. Very unusual. I was expecting a quick brew but
it took several minutes based on feedback cues. Intimacy is the best
brewing method.


On Dec 6, 11:25 am, Prof Wonmug wrote:
I would be interested in any opinions on the most effective ways, or
at least the tradeoffs of various ways, to test new teas.

I have two main questions:

1. What's the best way to vary the parameters?

2. Is it better to test multiple pots of the same tea or intersperse
the tests with pots of other teas?

Question 1: How to vary the parameters?

Dominic has suggested starting out with about 1 tsp/cup and brewing
for 15 seconds. Then increase the steep time by 15 second increments
until the sweet spot is found. I have tested that approach and found
it useful.

I presume that testing would then continue at a different strength
depending on the results of the above. If too weak, increase to 1.5
tsp/cup.

I weigh everything, at least in the beginning, so usually start with
1.0 g/cup and go from there.

Does anyone have any comments on this general approach or suggestions
for another way to test?

Question 2: Multiple tests of one tea or interspersed?

Next question is whether to test several pots of the same tea back to
back or intersperse them with other teas.

My approach has been to test just one pot of each tea, then go to a
different tea. My thinking was that this is a fairer test because it
is more like a randomized experiment.

Testing several pots of the same tea back to back does provide a
better direct comparison, but I worry that my palate gets affected by
the previous pots.

Any comments appreciated.

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Old 14-12-2009, 09:13 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Taste testing strategies

On Dec 6, 1:25*pm, Prof Wonmug wrote:
Any comments appreciated.


So, what's been the findings? And just to clarify, 15 seconds may be a
bit quick for many teas... I'd say around 30 seconds is a good lower
range. Doesn't have to be long or elaborate, I'd just like to hear
what you liked, what you didn't, and how the two vendor's teas stacked
up in your opinion.

- Dominic


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Old 16-12-2009, 12:29 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Default Taste testing strategies

On Mon, 14 Dec 2009 13:13:26 -0800 (PST), "Dominic T."
wrote:

On Dec 6, 1:25*pm, Prof Wonmug wrote:
Any comments appreciated.


So, what's been the findings? And just to clarify, 15 seconds may be a
bit quick for many teas... I'd say around 30 seconds is a good lower
range. Doesn't have to be long or elaborate, I'd just like to hear
what you liked, what you didn't, and how the two vendor's teas stacked
up in your opinion.


So far, I've only tested the Shui Xian from TeaSpring against the Wu
Yi Water Fairy from Upton. They are very similar to me. I doubt if I
could tell them apart in a blind taste test. The Upton tea might be
slightly milder.

I'm still working my way through some Ceylons and Keemuns that I have
had for awhile and didn't like, but am enjoying more now that I am
brewing them with less leaf and shorter steep times.

I can only test new teas a little at a time. If I have a heavy work
day, I just need an old reliable tea. I don't want to brew an inferior
pot if I am trying to concentrate. ;-)


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