In March, I visited the award-winning tea artisan Mr. Chang in Taiwan. While enjoying Mr. Chang’s hospitality and outstanding competition grade oolong tea, his wife decided to show us how a tea judge does tea tasting. Mrs. Chang is a certified judge in tea competitions. I would like to share her techniques so we can all train our senses for optimal tea tasting.
During a tea tasting competition, blind taste tests are performed and judges were asked to grade each tea sample based on aroma, appearance and taste. Ms. Chang led us through the tasting process step-by-step:
Taiwanese oolong tea has been recognized as the highest grade of oolong tea in the world today. Tea competition plays an important role in making this happen. Competition drives improvements in production techniques that result in better tasting oolong tea. Top awards from tea competitions are a source of pride and deep honor for farmers and tea artisans. Also, the teas which receive first place awards can be some of the most expensive teas in the world. These award winning teas are sometimes priced at $10,000 dollars per pound and even more!
By Wendy W. Dickerson for Wang & Dickerson Artisan Oolong Tea