Tea Tasting Set
Competition Ware for Beginners

5 reasons why a professional tea tasting set is ideal for everyday use.



Did you know that some people actually get paid to drink tea?

Professional tea tasters taste tea to determine its quality. A professional tea taster can often identify the exact region where a specific tea was grown, just by tasting it.

It sounds like a great job if you can get it.

For the rest of us, tea tasting can be a fun way for you and your friends to become better acquainted with your favorite teas and discover new ones.

Which Equipment?

tea tasting setThe first step in organizing a formal tea tasting is to obtain the right equipment. Professional tea tasters follow strict procedures when they evaluate tea, and this includes the type of equipment they use.

Professional tea tasting sets must adhere to the International Standard ISO 3103-1980. This means that they are all the exact same size and shape.

Tasting sets for tea include a mug with a lid and a serving bowl. The mug/lid combo is similar to a gaiwan, a Chinese drinking vessel used for brewing tea, except that the mug has a handle and a gaiwan does not.

Also, some people who use the professional tasting sets feel that the mug is easier to handle than a gaiwan. In fact, once you have a professional tea tasting set, you might decide to use it everyday.

There are also tea tasting accessories available that are made to the same standards, including trays to hold tea tasting crockery, felts to keep tea warm in the serving bowls, and silver tasting spoons.

The size and shape of professional tea tasting crockery is governed by ISO standards, but materials can vary.

Look for high-quality ceramic or porcelain tasting sets. Tea tends to cool off to quickly in earthenware tasting vessels, and they are more likely to crack and break.

Tea Tasting Set

A cupping set is not just for professionals or even tea snobs. Normal, everyday tea drinkers often find this type of tea set to be extremely useful. Here are five reasons why a cupping tasting set is ideal for everyday use:

  • Simplicity - Professional tea tasting sets have a simple, clean appearance that appeals to some people.

  • Ease of use - Some people who use the professional tasting sets feel that the mug is easier to handle than a gaiwan.

  • Versatility - Many types of brewing vessels are recommended for brewing specific types of teas. However, a professional tea tasting set is designed to do an excellent job of brewing whatever you feel like drinking.

Whether you prefer green tea, black tea or oolong tea, you are guaranteed to get a good cup using a tea tasting set.

Plus, these tea sets don't absorb flavors like Yixing pottery and some other types of brewing vessels do. So, you can use the same cupping set to brew more than one type of tea and still get a clean flavor. 

  • Durability - These tea sets are built to last, and the ISO standards ensure quality.

  • Inexpensive - Professional tea tasting sets are inexpensive, usually around $15.00.

The bottom line is that tea tasting sets are made for professionals to provide consistent brewing results. So, they are quite practical for everyday use. In fact, once you have a professional cupping set, it just might become your new brewing vessel of choice!

How to Use?

Tea tasters also follow a specific procedure for tasting teas.

First, you must measure out the proper amount of tea. If you have a large tea tasting set, measure out 5.6 grams. If you have a small set, 2.8 grams will do.

The water temperature you use will depend on the type of tea you are tasting, of course. The standard steeping time for a tea tasting is 6 minutes, after which the tea liquor is poured into the serving bowl.

A professional tea tasting mug has a strainer built in to the lid. When it is time to strain the tea, the mug fits into the serving bowl with the handle facing up.

The tea leaves are then poured into the lid, and the leaves are examined and pressed to better evaluate the quality of the liquor. A large tasting spoon is used to smell and taste the tea from the bowl.

Tea tasters examine the tea with all of their senses.

They touch the dry leaves to see how much moisture they contain, they use their eyes to observe the leaves both before and after brewing, and they observe the color of the tea liquor, as well.

Smell and taste, of course, are extremely important. Tea tasters don't just sip, they swish the tea around in their mouths to get a full picture of its flavor. Like wine tasters, tea tasters have a specific vocabulary used to describe tea.

Chinese Tea Appreciation- Learn Chinese tea tasting terms to describe the taste and aroma of tea.

However, unless tea tasting really is your livelihood, the most important part of a tea tasting is having fun and learning more about what teas you like and why.

However, unless tea tasting really is your livelihood, the most important part of a tea tasting is having fun and learning more about what teas you like and why. So, don't stress about learning the vocabulary - just have fun comparing teas and finding out more about what you like!

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References

Tea Tasting Set Upton Tea Imports Website. http://uptontea.com/shopcart/information/INFOaccessoryUse.asp

Cheney, Dina. Hosting a Tea Tasting. TeaMuse. February 2007. http://www.teamuse.com/article_070201.html

Professional Tea Tasting. Wisstzky Tea Shop website. http://www.wteashop.com/Professional-Tea-Tasting_ep_45.html

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