What you see above is the official Australian Tea Masters Tea Wheel. It is used in all of our professional tea tastings as well as many of our classes.
This tea wheel is free for you to use, reblog, and distribute (as long as the picture remains unaltered and the watermarks remain in-tact). You can use it to help divine the flavour notes of teas – one of the principle goals of tea tasting. We encourage you to try it for yourself! An experienced taster will get more out of a drink, able to distinguish between notes the untrained tongue could never divine.
Why not print off a few copies and have a tea-tasting session with your friends? Who knows what you might find out about teas you’ve drunk all your life but never particularly thought twice about? Who knows what you might find in teas you’ve never tried before?
There is one thing that simply cannot be missed about England; their fiery, all-consuming passion for tea. As of late it has become somewhat of a joke around Internet social media sites such as Twitter and Tumblr. To see for yourself, you really don’t need to go further than this wonderful example (you might want to click the picture to enlarge it):
We all know China would run without tea like a car would run without oil. But where they’ve embraced the wonders of green tea, Britain has been holding firmly onto black varieties. This trend has a definite cause, too.
First we need to know a little bit about the two tea varieties. The first, green tea, is far less processed and oxidised. That is to say, it’s technically a lot fresher. Because tea is in such abundance within China, consuming it in this form was never really the problem; for importing, however, a small issue became a big one very fast. Because green tea had gone through less oxidation, it was far less able to survive long journeys than the fully-oxidised black tea was.
Seeing that Britain was still interested in its tea, China originally exported black tea, which could survive the long, harsh journey all the way to Britain. Affairs remained that way for centuries; it wasn’t until high speed trains came into the picture that green tea could be transported with assurance that it would get to its destination at good quality.
But by that time, it was already too late. Britain was addicted to black tea, and no one wanted to try what China considered to be some of its greatest varieties.
It is no secret that China has market dominance when it comes to tea, followed closely by India and Japan. China produces so much tea, and in so many different varieties, that it caters for palettes the world over. In addition to that, it has generations of tea farmers who have passed down ancient and heavily-refined tea processing techniques to their children, thus giving their tea an edge that very few other countries could ever hope to match. With access to the wondrous, mountainous areas of the Himalaya, to ideal soils and large amounts of land from which to harvest, China truly understands the importance of its thriving tea export market.
So, the question is begged: Is it actually possible – under any circumstances – to sell tea to China?
This phrase tends to be thrown around when someone is seen as an exceptionally good salesperson. Compare and contrast “Selling ice to the Eskimos”, which I can guarantee is going to be harder still than selling tea to China. And yet, the question still hangs in the air.
This may surprise you to know, but one clever British woman is doing exactly that. And she is doing it by selling Chinese tea connoisseurs experiences that may only be seen outside of the Chinese market. It seems a little silly, really, that with China’s love affair with tea that very few are exporting more exotic teas into the country. In fact, it seems, selling tea to China is shockingly easy, with China on average spending even more on tea than we Westerners manage to spend on alcohol.
Let that statistic sink in for a moment. Think about the sort of drinking cultures we have here, especially in the UK and Australia: Binge drinking is common among youth, and people who choose not to drink at all are apparently “strange”, for some reason. Alcohol has pervaded our society with unimaginable breadth – and it definitely isn’t cheap. Despite this, despite the fact that you could probably die from over-consumption of tea if you spent (and proceeded to consume) the same amount as you would for scotch, China still makes more money per capita on tea than we do on alcohol.
Now we’re starting to see the bigger picture, but this doesn’t include incredibly rare and special teas, which can become very expensive indeed. However, these aren’t for the average consumer – these teas are in limited supply and do not make up a large market share. Many average Chinese consumers still crave for a taste of the exotic – even if less expensive varieties of exotic would be favoured.
I will leave this analysis with one final question, one that you may be asking yourself right now:
Why aren’t more people selling tea to China?
Today is Lazy Sunday, where we hold a poll and give you a pretty tea picture to look at. Because face it, Sundays weren’t meant for Real Work.
Leaf Hunter is a monthly newsletter from Australian Tea Masters, containing exclusive information, updates, and content teasers. It is relied on by hundreds of people who are just as interested as you are about making and learning about tea.
The newsletter is sent out between the 3rd and 5th of each new month.
We are excited to announce a brand-new event never seen before in Melbourne. Tea lovers, we present to you the Australian Tea Fair, Melbourne. This unprecedented event will surprise and excite tea enthusiasts of all flavours, and provide tea and industry knowledge to a scale that tackles even the world stage.
The Australian Tea Fair will be hosted by Australian Tea Masters at a currently undisclosed location in Melbourne, and is aimed to be set later this year. Tickets will be available via our website (stay tuned for more press releases here!) and at the door, with exhibiting opportunities open upon arrangement. If you’re interested in having your own exhibit, you can discuss this with the director of Australian Tea Masters, Sharyn Johnston, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We strongly encourage tea companies to open exhibits and broaden their audiences. Other exhibiting parties will include blenders and masters of all stripes.
In addition, there will also be several tea seminars with well-respected industry speakers. This event is perfect for both those just interested in tea as well as those who make tea their world and business. The event will be ripe with opportunity, and for a tea lover in Melbourne, certainly isn’t something to be missed!