Tea Culture

How Does a Japanese Tea Master Test The New Crop of Fukamushi-sencha?

A lot happens behind the scenes. Before a tea ever ends up on our site, it has been sourced, produced, sampled, purchased, packaged and shipped. It can be amazing to consider all the work that went into the tea that is in your cup. One aspect of this process, mentioned above, is the sampling of the tea.

How is this done? Is this something we ourselves can do at home when sampling a variety of different teas? How should we go about this? Let’s talk about it.

Most of the time, when sampling a tea, boiling water is used to extract the maximum amount of flavor and aroma from a tea. Where, normally, you might use cooler water (depending on the tea) to experience the change in flavor and aroma over time, using boiling hot water will extract everything at once.

The tea taster pours boiling water on the tea and uses a strainer to assess the smell of a tea. Especially in contemporary Japanese tea production, leaves from different areas are often blended together in an effort to make a consistent cup year after year. This is somewhat different than the artisanal approach to producing tea; single-origin teas that might come only from a particular garden so as to preserve the subtleties of the flavor, aroma, and body feel of that garden’s tea.

You can see that he is assessing a fukamushi-sencha. “With boiling water?”, you might ask. Yes! Strange, we know. Again, you get the entire profile of a tea when using boiling water. Especially with fukamushi-sencha, this quickly can turn the tea bitter. However, when testing a tea we are not really looking to sit back and enjoy the tea but to experience the flavor and aroma in their entirety. It is normal to see tea vendors and customers assessing the tea in this way. This is something that you can do at home when buying samples or smaller sizes of tea. A part of the fun of tea is exploring the various brewing parameters.

What has been your experience sampling tea? How do you like to sample your teas? Please let us know by sending an email at info@denstea.com. We’d love to hear from you. Follow out instagram and tiktok for more content like this. Also, you can subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email in the designated box at the bottom of every page on our website.