So where do you start when it comes to choosing a tea? There are so many varieties and from so many places.
My husband always has said, it is like choosing a wine. The type or variety of a tea, relates to the type or variety of a grape. The tea master, relates to the vintner. The country, location and estate of a wine relates to the country, location and tea farm. All of this relates to the environment, growing conditions, climate, and soil (terroir), which has a direct effect on the taste and character of a tea, as it does to a wine. Age of the grape vines contributes to the goodness and value of a wine, as is so with the age of a tea tree. The older the tea tree the stronger the qi that is imparted from the energy absorbed from the nutrients embedded in the earth overtime. This enriches the taste and quality of the tea as it does the wine. And no two season's are exactly the same which at times defines a banner year for wine and tea. Tea making, as wine making, is an artisanal process. And no two batches of tea, even produced by the same tea master are ever exactly the same.
Take for instance the many different wines, such as a cabernet sauvignon. That is the type of grape, which is grown in France, Italy, Australia, California, and Argentina. But from each country, due to its location and climate, a slightly different characteristic of the wine is produced. There is a different essence from the grape. And along with the producer or vintner, each contributes additionally to the different taste of the same type of wine.
The same is so for tea. There are different teas, broadly categorized as green, black, oolong, white or puer. And within each category there are varieties. And who produces the tea, and how and where the tea grows contributes to its taste, essence and rating. For instance, a true Wuyi Mountain tea has a distinct flavor profile because of the rock and floral that it grows amongst. It will have a mineral flavor and floral aroma. Wuyi Mountain because of its biodiversity and climate along with its cultural practice of how they make the tea produce some of the best teas in the world.
And just as wine is preferred based on individual taste, so is tea. And to understand the tea taste, you must taste the tea. Just as you must taste a wine to understand the wine.
So have fun. Try the teas. Drink the teas. And enjoy the moments.