The speed test

One very simple metric of checking whether or not a tea is good is really pretty intuitive – how fast do you drink the tea?

I have enough tea to last me a while, but among them, some are consumed quite quickly, and some take forever. Some teas, especially ones that are not very interesting, may be left undrunk for a long time, while others, such as a few aged oolongs that I have, are things I have to control myself from drinking, lest I run out of it. The same can probably be said of samples – when you buy a bunch of samples, there are ones that will be drunk immediately and gone within a week, while other samples, you may open, and they will then fester – left around, because you don’t really want to go there again, usually because it’s bad.

This is more obvious when you have a session with multiple teas and with multiple drinkers. When you have a few teas going, often times the group will then sort of settle on one or two teas, and decide to keep going and going with that one, instead of drinking the others that you have brewed. Sometimes, of course, a tea is drunk to exhaustion, but that’s rarely the case when you have a few different teas going. Usually, they’re drunk to the point where the group no longer wants it, or deems it not-so-good, and move on.

In many ways, I think this is a more honest test of whether or not a tea is good. Of course, good, as used here, means good to drink now. A harsh sample may be great in the future if aged properly for years, but right now, what you want to drink tend to be the teas that you like the most. If you want more of it, chances are, it’s good. I think this is probably a more honest and straightforward method of determining whether you like a tea or not than trying to figure out what flavours and notes and aftertaste you get from it.


Comments

The speed test — 2 Comments

  1. There are things other than aging that separate a tea I drink a lot of from a tea I really love.

    A lot of my everyday teas are fairly mellow and well rounded. I finish them off quickly because I drink them so often. Whatever mood I’m in, they’ll be appropriate.

    But I love some teas I don’t want to drink everyday because they are more challenging. They’re bolder, less compromising. Perhaps I won’t feel like drinking them 25 days out of the month, but when I do, they’re just right.

  2. MarshalN,

    I have been an avid reader of your blog over the past 2 years and I thank you very much for all the insight you have given me and I am sure many others. I was not sure how else to ask you this so I chose this post to comment on and ask for your help. I was recently hired as an English teacher by The High School Affiliated to RenMin University of China (RenDaFuZhong) in Beijing. It has been a dream of mine to someday go to China and now having a job there is just amazing. My passion for tea is difficult to cultivate here in Ohio so I am excited to learn and try so much. I have seen in your past posts that you used to live in Beijing, I wanted to know if you had any suggestions or tips or places to try/avoid when I start my tea search in Beijing. Any tips would help. Thank you so much!

    Chris

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