Mastered wine? Your next challenge is tea

If you’re a person who knows an awful lot about wine, your next challenge may be tea. After attending a seminar given by Teamaster Chas Kroll at Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel, I was intrigued to learn about the subtleties of aroma and taste. Used to tasting wine, I wasn’t sure how to approach this, but it turned out fine. I liked learning about the size of the leaves, when they were picked, how they were “fermented” and how to brew and drink. In a few hours, I came out of a session feeling I had a grasp of the concept, and could take the subtleties as far as I wanted.
Our Tea Master had led us through a variety of green, white and yellow, oolong and black teas in a Chinese style tea tasting — which is about a million times simpler than a Japanese tea ceremony, as I understand it. The Chinese ceremony is about the tea and the guest, not the ceremony.
Two days later, I went to a friend’s house where someone had just brought back a gift of teas from China. I knew exactly what to do: steep for 2 minutes and serve immediately in tiny cups. Inhale the fragrance, drink, and inhale the fragrance from the empty cup again.

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