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Tea Tasting Shots

The interesting thing and something of a dilemma is how to represent a product that is so varied in character, complex in fragrance and flavour in a photograph. Of course, in the many millennia of tea drinking, the form of the leaf has been the subject of poetry, reflecting the art of the tea maker who takes great care in presenting a product whose form matches it's flavour.


Even now, the most beautiful leaves play a great part in discriminating ever finer grades to fetch ever higher prices from connoisseurs in the Far East. Still, as beautiful as some of the leaves are and as colourful and vivid the infusion, it is only when we inhale the aroma and taste the liquid that we really complete the picture. The other thing about tea is that often but not always your eyes can deceive you! Sometimes the palest brew holds the fiercest bite! Serpent's Tongue tea, the palest liquor in the photographs, leaves the strongest taste of any tea you'll try. The darkest infusion however, of Pu Erh tea, whilst very heavy is astonishingly smooth, showing no sign of the astringency found in all other tea. This poses an equal dilemma when trying to describe strength, which we can use to mean weight or thickness, bitterness, briskness, and as often associated to tea, colour. When you browse through the tea descriptions (Additional Information tab), you will see I have tried to open up the vocabulary used to give an idea of relative strength within the same type rather than in relationship to tea as a whole. The colour of the infusions compared within each group, for example Assam, will largely give an idea through the depth of colour an indicator of strength which I hope you will find useful. I would also welcome your own descriptions which other customers may find useful. So, having brewed over 300 teas in two hectic days, I'm still unsure what the pictures prove but it has helped remind me of a fascination I had as a child. My Uncle Geoff was such a good car sprayer that people travelled from far and wide to have him work on their splendid and expensive cars. It was particularly exciting when a Rolls Royce and such like turned up on our humble council estate in the 70's! Funnily, even more exciting for me was when he brought home the car spray paint key cards for the evening.


I loved looking at the subtly different shades, the closer the tones the better, and then picking a favourite. Sadly, they were too expensive for me to be allowed to keep but happily I have now made one of my own, for tea! I'm still waiting for my own Rolls Royce.

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