Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Do you review teas the first time you drink them?

Do you review teas after the first time you drink them? I rarely do. When I do, it's usually only when I have enough tea only for a single cup or single brewing session, such as as when I have a lone tea bag from a commercial brand, or a very small loose-leaf sample.

Sometimes I feel a bit negligent when I'm taking my time. For example, recently I received a package from Sacred Rose, a company that sells herbal tea blends. I have begun to sample their herbal teas, and I will say that I am impressed. However, the package arrived a couple weeks ago, and I have yet to write a single review.

I also still have not reviewed all the teas I bought from Wegmans. Today I published a review of their Tomo Sencha.

Stay tuned; I will review all these teas and more!

Why wait so long?

I see several benefits in waiting to review a tea:
  • Sampling multiple times allows you to experiment with brewing method, both so that you can say something about how to brew the tea in your review, and so that you can arrive at what you see as the best brewing method to bring out the qualities of the tea you enjoy most.
  • Since mood and environmental factors affect your perception of tea, sampling a tea on different days, at different times of day, and in different contexts helps you to get a sense of what about your experience is really about the tea itself, and what was more a function of your mood or environment.
  • Many teas, especially unfamiliar ones, I do not fully enjoy the first time I try them. Tea is often an acquired taste, and I like to give myself an opportunity to acquire the taste of a new and unfamiliar tea before writing a review. There are some teas that I've outright disliked the first time I tried them, that I came to absolutely love in the end.

For me, this process sometimes works best if I space out my drinking of the teas over a couple oy weeks. How about you? How much do you wait and experiment before writing your tea reviews?


  1. Interesting post. I have been trying to drink a tea multiple times before I decide how I feel about it. If I try one at my office, I make sure to also have it at home, and vice versa. I try to pay attention to my mood, to make sure I taste it when I'm not feeling cranky, grumpy, etc. It is interesting to compare my notes to see if my feelings about the tea change depending on day and location. If I am writing about a tea that I tried at a restaurant or cafe, I will definitely note that it is the first and only time I've tried it.

  2. I usually review right away because otherwise I know my inner procrastinator will never get to it. I tend to drink and write in batches because of that. If I don't like a tea on the first try, I will usually retry until I get it right before I write my review.

  3. To be honest, if I brew a tea that tastes horrid, I throw out the bag and retry. If it still tastes bad the second time, I might sweeten it if I think sugar or honey can save it. All else fails, it gets shipped away in a tea swap. At least less gets wasted in this way.

  4. It depends. Sometimes I review them 2 or 3 times, as they change and so do I over time. I rather have the tea a few times before reviewing it, but sometimes, it is so good, i want to review it right now! Good article!