This week I returned from the World Tea Expo in Atlanta. It was a great trip and much fun was had by all. The Art of Tea booth was very busy all weekend. We won first and second place for two of our iced teas in the “Shake Off Competition” and our TNT was generating huge interest. This was great for us as Steve, Dave and I all stayed very busy talking to people at our booth about Art of Tea.
The problem was we never really had time to wander the expo floor. Part of the fun of being there is to check out what other people have. I got home and realized I spent a weekend with 400 tea vendors and only tried three teas! Not good. I needed a fix.
On Tuesday, I grabbed my friend Robb and took him to a local tea lounge. Robb is slowly becoming a tea drinker. I picked a place that offers “tea flights”. Similar to a wine flight, the idea is that you get to sample several teas that have a similar theme. Since my friend usually drinks black tea I decided that a Pu-erh flight might get his attention. It was great. We got four teas from different producers and different ages.
I decided doing a tasting like this was a great way to turn someone on to tea. If you are going to introduce a friend to tea at a tasting here are a few things to look for.
1) Try to find a lounge that has a bar to sit at. The whole process will go easier if you are near their work area. They are going to steep several small pots for you.
2) Go during a slow time. We went at 2:00 on a weekday. The person was able to really spend some time with us talking about the teas. They even tried some of them with us.
3) Take notes. I am always taking notes when I try new teas. Very few people have the kind of olfactory recall that allows them to remember everything they taste. I also find that taking notes helps me discover new taste sensations.
4) Have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. It should be a fun experience to try new teas. If you are introducing someone to tea, don’t over complicate it – they will be glued to their espresso machine for life! You could do this at home if you would like.
If I had my way I would offer an “Intro to Tea” Flight – white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh. Doing a set up like this you could taste your way through the different processing methods that determine the end result in the tea. I find that once people see the un-steeped leaves then try the teas they begin to really understand the process. Enjoying tea becomes less daunting. Tea is after all a delicious and healthy beverage that should be simple to enjoy and share.buy now viagra