The Art of Blending Tea
Tea soothes us in many ways, and in many parts of the world, drinking tea has become a ritual. It's a sensory overload, a blissful respite from the stresses of everyday life. There is no reason to drink tea; it is simply a matter of invigorating our minds with the humbleness found in tea.
Have you ever wondered about the soothing aroma and refreshing taste of a cup of tea while sipping it? Where does it come from, and how does it remain consistent across nearly all tea batches? “Tea Blending” is the perfect response to this.
Tea blending is the process of combining different types of teas to create a unique flavor and experience. Tea blending is a quest to achieve the desired flavor balance in the new blended version. The proportions of each tea, as well as the potency of the flavor they carry, must be carefully considered. You don't want your tea to be sour and leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.
There's a hero in every blend!
The tea whose flavor should stand out the most can be considered the hero, which means the other teas you want to blend should be a little more subtle so they don't completely overpower the flavor. Every type of tea has its own classification and role to play in the blending process. Understanding what you want to get out of your blend and how to add ingredients to the base tea is the key.
The base tea serves as the foundation for your blend, to which you can add herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits for added flavor. The origin of a base tea is determined by the profile that has been assigned to it. If you're going to make a blend with Assam tea as the base, you'll want to pair it with something that complements its briskness, body, and malty flavor.
Spices are a great ingredient for a beginner blender because they add flavor to tea quickly, making it easy to tell the difference between the base tea and the newly blended flavor. Cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger are all common spices in tea blends.
Herbs, which are a natural ally to most teas, infuse well when combined with the base tea. Mint and lemongrass, for example, have a strong aromatic flavor that compliments your base tea well when balanced in the right amounts. Herbs, like spices, provide a tone of refreshment to a blend and are easy to detect when used in a blend.
This is where you start making money as a blender. Fruits can be overpowering on the palate, and if you don't add them in the right proportions, your blend will taste too sour. Certain fruits, such as apple, orange, and pineapple, are easier to use than others.
Flowers are extremely delicate in flavor, and it takes a true connoisseur to appreciate the subtle yet powerful effect they can have on a blend. Flowers can get lost in translation when paired with a strong flavor. Rose, Jasmine, Lavender, and Hibiscus are some of the most common flowers used in blending.
The Tea Shelf’s Tips for Blending Tea
- Before you blend, take a look at the tea and get a sense of how it looks. The basic teas are black, green, and white and they all look and taste different. Drink first with your eyes, then your palate.
- Taste before you blend! If you don't taste them separately first, it's difficult to know what will go well with what.
- The sense of smell is just as important as the senses of sight and taste. Take a whiff of the various ingredients and choose your favorites.
- Blending tea is similar to cooking. Don't overdo it and pile on too many ingredients. A little goes a long way a lot of the time. Just keep in mind that you can always add more the next time.
- Maintain a simple approach and have fun with it. Start with the most common flavors and work your way up.
Try to create your own custom blend by combining all of the above. Always remember to pair strong teas with strong flavors and delicate teas with delicate flavors. The key is to use each ingredient's unique characteristics to create a balanced taste on your palate with your favorite flavors.