Most of us have been tasting tea for years without noticing the unique characteristics of each tea. We know if we like or dislike a particular tea, but we are not always sure why. Learning how to use the aroma wheel and identify key characteristics in each tea will give you a much better understanding of the key factors to look for when purchasing tea in the future. Plus you will look like a tea guru around your friends. There are two factors, environment and processing that determine what tea will look (appearance), feel (body), smell (aroma), and taste (flavor). In addition, the health properties or level of antioxidants can vary depending on these two factors. First, let's look at the environment, just like wine or coffee the environment that tea comes from plays a large role in the final product. Temperature, rainfall, soil quality, and humidity are some of the key players in a tea tree's ability to grow and become a uniquely defined tea. The second factor is processing, this part is fully controlled by the tea master's ability to use both ancient and modern techniques to amplify the natural characteristics that the environment created. When shopping for tea it is important to keep both factors in mind, because good tea should take you on a journey.
The appearance can be narrowed down to a few key components, shape, color, and texture. The shape and texture are what the tea looks like. A sign of a good tea is a large leaf. Second is color, you can most likely tell what variety you are drinking by its color.
About 90% of what we taste is made of what we smell. You can use either deep or fast rapid (Dog Action) to sniff your tea. This is your first true point of understanding the flavor of your tea.
The body of the tea is all about what you feel in your mouth when you take a sip. What sensations do you feel? Are you left with a smooth, cool, or dry finish? This will ultimately play a big role in the trifecta (feel, aroma, and taste).
Scientists say that we initially detect five tastes, sweet, salty, acidic, bitter, and savory. The aroma/tasting wheel will help you narrow these down.