Download my Tea Journaling kit which I created for myself because I found a need to do my tea journaling digitally. I use it in OneNote, but you can use it in any note taking program or even Word or Photoshop.
I made a tea playlist for my tea tasting videos. I am not a professional! I would love to learn what your experiences are about these teas, so feel free to comment on the videos.
I have become so interested in tea that I want to inspire and encourage others to begin their own tea journaling to learn by personal experience about tea. We attended the 2019 Chicago Tea Festival (the very first one!) and one of the classes I took was Tea Cupping by Suzette Hammond of Being Tea. Her class, as well as other classes and the actual tea tasting, changed my perspective of tea. I had already advanced in my knowledge of tea since about 2017, but this broadened my horizon to specific types of tea. I love to learn and I have found something I can only learn about over a long period of time, as well as something I can do that is relaxing. When my husband and I sit at the kitchen table and do tea tastings, we find ourselves having relaxed for a good period of time just thinking about what we are tasting and having quality time discussing what we are tasting. Some of the elements of this tea journaling kit came from Sooz, as is her nickname, so I do want to give her credit and encourage you to sign up to her website, Being Tea, to view her courses to learn more about tea tasting basics, especially what body, astringency, and finish mean when tasting teas.
Aroma Flavor: See my tasting flavors list below. I choose from the bolded category.
Body: impression of viscosity (the state of being thick, sticky, and semifluid in consistency; the fluid's resistance to flow (think smooth orange juice to pulp orange juice; think non-fat milk to heavy cream; think syrupy to honey-consistency)
Delicate -> Light -> Medium -> Full -> Very Full
Astringency: any puckering drying sensation caused by polyphenols; polyphenols react with saliva; makes you thirsty sensation; green and black teas have high polyphenols; this is not bitterness
Smooth (very low) -> Bright (light to medium) -> Lively/Brisk (medium) -> Pungent (bold)
Taste: See from my tasting flavors list below for some inspiration, but taste is not limited to these.
Finish: Feeling on the palette after swallowing, what comes after, final impression, final hug good-bye;
Airy/Soft -> Evaporating/Quick -> Juicy/Mouthwatering -> Lingering/Aromatic -> Drying/Tannic
Tannin tastes dry and astringent and you can feel it specifically on the middle of your tongue and the front part of your mouth. Astrengency, bitterness, and tannic are confusing terms. Bitterness is a component of flavor; Astringency is a physical sensation.
Here is my tasting flavors and aroma flavors as mentioned in the video. It is sure to grow as I taste teas. This matches the aroma flavor categories in the download.
1. Vegetal: grassy, sweet hay, wet straw, bamboo, vegetal (cooked), butternut, spinach, asparagus, alfalfa sprouts, green beans, seaweed, leafy greens, menthol, herbal, wintergreen, mint, basil, sage, thyme
2. Floral: Light floral, deep floral, jasmine, lilac, honeysuckle; lily, rose, gardenia, ocean air, eucalyptus,
3. Fruit: lemon, lychee (fig), date, raisin, honey, citrus fruit, apple, pear, pit fruit, berry, cherry, grape, muscatel (raisin) melon, tropical, banana, lime,
4. Wooded: Woody, pine, wet wood, cedar, oak,
5. Earthy: earthy, leather, tobacco, mushroom, roasted, smoky, musty, decaying bark, musk
6. Savory: umami (savory), meaty
7. Mineral |Element: salty, clay, stones, ocean, metal, flint, chalk,
8. Nutty: almond, chestnut, pecan, walnut,
9. Bakery |Spice: toasty, biscuit (yeast), buttery(creamy), pepper, cocoa powder, warmed sugar, caramel, toffee, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, clove, cardamom, licorice, ginger
10. Grain |Starch: malty, brown rice, barley, winter squash, yam, taro root, legume, lentil
My tea project and the book I use - I am on a mission to try every tea in this book! (The New Tea Companion: A Guide to Teas Throughout the World by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson) That is how I am learning about tea. When my tea stash gets dangerously low, I choose my next teas from the book and find a store to purchase them from. My other videos in the tea playlist share where I have purchased each tea in the tasting notes.
How to Brew in a Gaiwan & Why - a video from my son & you! - Just a basic education video on how I hold it and why I use it.
Sharing my bad Gaiwan! Why to Spend Money on a Good Gaiwan - It's worth the money to buy a good one, although they are expensive.
Also, here is a basic guide for the tea to water ratios when using a gaiwan vs. the "western style" as they call it:
Green & Yellow Tea - 3-3.5 grams per 100 ml | 4.5-5.25 grams per 150 ml
White - 3.5-4 grams per 100 ml | 5.25-6 grams per 150 ml
Black - 4-4.5 grams per 100 ml | 6-6.75 grams per 150 ml
Oolong - 4.5-5 grams per 100 ml | 6.75-7.5 grams per 150 ml
Ball Oolong - 6-6.5 grams per 100 ml | 9-9.75 grams per 150 ml
Puerh - 5 grams per 100 ml | 7.5 grams per 150 ml
Sharing my tea supplies - I have a lot of things in my kitchen for tea! I was so suprised! But I share some other implements I use for traveling and camping and storing tea, as well as my bottles for cold brewing.
There are SO many places to order tea online! Here are some places I have ordered tea from, or plan to order tea. I live in Missouri in the United States, but do order some from out of country as well. I am including notes on the store location. For those outside of the U.S. I am including shipping experience. Unless otherwise mentioned, I was well pleased with the service and the teas.
Camellia Sinesis (Canada, shipping was quick and reasonable, highly recommended)
Charleston Tea Garden (South Carolina grown and sold)
Golden Moon (Virginia)
David's Tea (Canada, will never buy from them again; took 2 weeks to process order, and 4 weeks to get order and not wow'd)
Elmwood Inn (Danville, Kentucky) (Bruce Richardson's store, one of the writers of the book I use)
Oliver Pluff (South Carolina)
Oregan Tea & Coffee (Oregan) (I was not wow'd by this tea and will probably not purchase again)
Master's Tea by Adagio (New Jersey)
TeaLula (Park Ridge, Illinois)
Tea Source (Minneapolis, Minnesota, highly recommended)
The Republic of Tea (California) (I started my tea journey trying every tea they sold because it was the only quality loose leaf tea I could find at a local store, but now have moved to trying other companies)
The Tea Smith (Omaha, Nebraska)
Todd & Holland (Forest Park, Illinois)
AMERICAN GROWN TEA
Great Mississippi Tea Company (Mississippi)
Red Blossom Tea Company (San Francisco, California)
Seven Cups (Arizona)
Yunan Sourcing US | Yunnan Sourcing China (I inadvertently ordered from the China website and it did take a while to arrive, but it was reasonable compared to other places I have ordered from in China. It does take longer than from Canada.)
Den's Tea (California)
Nepal Tea (purchased at festival and was impressed)
PLACES THAT I WANT TO TRY YET (Alphabetical list)
Aiya (Torrance, California) (Japanese artisan and matcha)
Atlantic Spice Company (N. Truro, Maine) (individual ingredients)
Breakaway Matcha (San Anselmo, California) (All matcha)
Crimson Lotus (Seattle, Washington) (Pu'er Artisan)
Good Life Tea (Canandaigua, New York)
Hatvala Tea (Saigon) (Vietnamese Artisan)
Liliku Tea (Japan)
Mad Hat Tea Company (Tacoma, Washington)
Mizuba Tea (Portland, Oregan) (All matcha)
Mountain Tea (Buena Park, California) (Oolong Artisan)
Ohio Tea Company (Canton, Ohio)
Renegade Tea Farmers (Georgia, the country)
The Jasmine Pearl (Portland, Oregan)
Trail Lodge Tea (St. Louis, Missouri)
Silk Roads Tea (California)
Sugimoto (Seattle, Washington) (Japanese Artisan)
Teasenz (China) (China Artisan)
Taiwan Sourcing (Taiwan)
TeaVivre (China, now has US warehouse choices)
The Tea Crane (Kyoto, Japan) (Japanese Artisan)
The Tea House (Naperville, Illinois)
What-cha (UK, maybe?)
White2Tea (Beijing, China) (China and Pu'er Artisan)
Whispering Pines Tea (U.S. where?)
Young Mountain (Eugene, Oregon) (India Artisan)
Minto Island (Grown in Oregon)
Pearl River Tea (Grown in Mississippi)