Green Tea Lady’s Guide to the Art of Sipping Tea

Green Tea Primer front page medium size pic.docxAs a special promo of publishing my eBook, Green Tea: A Primer, What You Need to Know to Prepare the Perfect Pot of Green Tea & Love Drinking It, I’m posting a snippet of the content here. Please let me know what you think of it and if it provokes questions. If you’d like to buy the eBook, there is a link in the green bar to the right. In it, I cover all the basics of why you want to drink green tea and how to brew a perfect pot.

When I introduce people to new teas, I like to have them follow a little process to enhance the experience. I like to have them clear their palate with some filtered water to remove any strong flavors that might already be there (coffee, mint, sugar, etc.). We try the teas without adding any sweetener or milk to best experience the pure tea. I attempt to provide a relaxed atmosphere where I pour the tea into their cup and ask them to do the following:

  • Clear the mind. Listen to the sound of the water coming to the proper boil, hear the sound as it fills the teapot. Relax.
  • Pick up the cup and feel the warmth of the tea spread into their fingers. This allows awareness of the tactile element of tea.
  • Look at the color of the tea. Depending upon the tea served, it could be nearly clear, yellow-green, jade green or darker. This incorporates the visual sense.
  • I then ask them to close their eyes, bring the cup close to their nose and take a deep sniff. I ask them to tell me what they smell. Is it floral? Nutty? Creamy? Grassy? We’ve now brought our sense of smell to the experience.
  • Now, with their eyes still closed, I invite them to take their first sip – not a gulp, a sip. Allow the tea to swish around the mouth and focus on the taste. If one focuses, there is a very complex series of taste sensations that occur with every sip.

Taste in the Front: This is the initial impact of a sip of tea. If the tea is flavored, I’ll experience that fruitiness or nuttiness here. Unflavored oolongs often have a floral taste in the front, Dragon Well has a nutty taste, and gyokuro and sencha remind me of steamed green vegetables. After that initial flavor burst, the top of my tongue puckers a bit with the bitter astringency of the tannins. It’s the astringency that activates the next sensation.

Taste in the Sides: Once the initial bitterness dissipates, there is a tingly sensation along the outer sides of my tongue. It feels like two happy groups of salsa dancers are enjoying themselves immensely. If I pay close attention, I can track the tingles like runway lights, as they run from the front of my tongue down the sides to the back where the saliva glands are activated by the astringency of the tannins.

Taste in the Back: This is the aftertaste. Many teas have an incredibly sweet aftertaste. Often, the more astringent a tea is in the front, the sweeter the aftertaste. The sweetness is usually concentrated along the back of the sides of my tongue, just under the back of my tongue and in the sides of my cheeks. If I swish some of that newly produced saliva around, I can distribute this sweetness throughout my mouth. This is why Asians usually save the last sips of tea for after they’ve finished eating a meal — it freshens the mouth and breath.

All those sensations are experienced in a matter of seconds from just one sip of tea. Exciting, yes? Well, go grab yourself a pot and sip some green tea and tell me what you think!

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol
Dazzling jewelry that reflects sparkling personalities!

1 comment to Green Tea Lady’s Guide to the Art of Sipping Tea

  • Milady! This is wonderful! I just noticed a tingling on the sides of my tongue for the first time consciously ever. Amazing. I follow around 200 tea blogs and haven’t heard about that. Well, now I know. It’s a sparkly parade with the new Puerh I’m drinking right now. Thanks for revealing this to me. –Teaternity