When discussing your impressions of a tea, you discuss things like aroma, mid palate, mouthfeel, and finish – just like with wine.
来源：Austin Yoder 2013/12/19 发表于 The News Lens 关键评论网
Photo Credit: 陈镜 CHEN-CHING 翻译／红凯利
Wine Vs. Tea
Today we come to you with a few important questions about the wines you enjoy, to help discern which types of tea you will enjoy. If you have spent any amount of time educating yourself about wine, and actively training your palate, you know that asking the right questions can go a long way towards helping you make worthwhile purchases.
What do you know about wine?
How much do you like to know about the wine you are purchasing before you purchase it? Specifically, how much do you know about the last glass of wine you tasted?
Do you know what year it was produced, and hence the age of the wine? Do you know the region it comes from? Do you know the wine maker on a first name basis, and have charts of the weather patterns in that region for the past fifty years?
The questions that you ask about your wine will develop and vary based on your level of experience, and expertise. I'm going to actually list out some of the questions you might ask yourself about wine here (feel free to skip over these), because there are strong and direct parallels to the questions you should be asking yourself about tea.
What vintage is the wine? Which region of the world does the wine come from? Which vineyard within that region? Which side of the hill on that particular vineyard? Is the winemaker quirky?
Who picked the grapes? How were those grapes picked – by hand or machine? How was the wine stored in transit from where it was made to wherever you bought it.
What is the mineral content of the soil the grapes were grown in, and what has the weather been like around this vineyard for the past 100 years? What time of the year were the grapes picked?
How long have they been aging? Were the grapes picked by hand? Were they picked in the morning or in the evening?
What about the equipment? What kind of press was used to press the grapes? What type of wooden cask was the wine fermented in? What kind of glassware are you using to drink the wine?
Do you have a special decanter? How did you store the wine before you opened it up?
The philosophies at play:
You can dive deeper, too. What processes does the winemaker use when preparing his wine?
What are his beliefs, what is his training, how long has his formal education in wine lasted? Is his family a wine family? What are the philosophies he lives by that he is trying to translate directly into your glass, and onto your palate?
Which of these questions are absolutely essential for you?
What do you know about tea?
Now I want you to think for a minute. After reviewing all of the questions you typically run through in your head before you decide to purchase a bottle of wine, I want you to think about tea. As I said, there are strong and direct parallels between the questions you should be asking yourself about wine and tea in order to increase the likelihood that you are making a good purchase. Let's specifically think about the last cup of tea that you drank. Picture it in your mind.
Do you have it?
Where did you buy it? Who did you buy it from? What year was it produced (vintage)? Which region of the world does the tea come from? Which plantation within that region? Which side of the hill on that particular plantation? Is the tea maker quirky?
Who picked the leaves? How were those leaves picked – by hand or machine? How was the tea stored in transit from where it was picked to wherever you bought it?
What kind of tea was it? Green tea – maybe for the health benefits? Was it Jasmine tea, like they serve in every Chinese restaurant in America? Did the tea come in a bag, or in a big container with a bunch of leaves in it?
Did you get the tea from a grocery store, or maybe from a specialty tea retailer? (Do you tend to buy wine in grocery stores, or wine shops? Or do you only buy wine at vineyards after meeting the winemakers in person?) Even better – did you get it from a tea shop that brings in different teas from all around the world? Could the person or organization selling you your tea converse intelligently with you about the plot of land the tea leaves were grown on? Do you know about weather conditions of the region, the farm, the side of the mountain where your tea was grown?
What is the mineral content of the soil the tea was grown in, and what has the weather been like around this tea farm for the past 100 years? What time of the year were the leaves picked? Spring, or Winter? How long have they been aging? Were the leaves picked by hand or machine? Were they picked in the morning or in the evening?
If the tea came from China, where in China did it come from? China is a pretty big place, after all. North, or South China? Which province and city in China? Which mountain did your tea grow on in China? What is the elevation of that mountain, and what was the weather like around that mountain during the year your tea was produced?
What about the equipment? What kind of machinery was used in the production of your tea, if any? What kind of glass, cup, or bowl were you using to drink your tea? Did you use a pot to brew your tea? Glass, clay, or something else? If it's a clay pot – who made the pot, where was the clay mined, and how long has the family who made your pot been making tea pots? What kind of clay?
Purple, black, or red clay? What grade of clay was it? What water did you use?
The philosophies at play:
Did the tea maker want to evoke a certain flavor from his childhood in this vintage? Is he quirky?
How long has his family been making tea, and what kind of traditions have influenced the taste you experienced? What are the philosophies he lives by that he is trying to translate directly into your glass, and onto your palate?
The point of all the questions
The more you know about something, the more you are able to appreciate it when it's done well.
If you know significantly more about what went into your last cup of wine than what went into your last cup of tea, you're almost certainly enjoying your wine more than you are enjoying your tea. Not, however, necessarily with good reason.
If you know significantly more about your wine than about your tea, we humbly suggest you may be missing out on something that's just as good as wine. If you can begin learning about tea the same way you learn about wine, you will open up an entirely new world of beverage appreciation and connoisseurship, along with a lifetime of health benefits for you, and for your family.
As you venture into the world of tea, you won't be beginning from scratch. Many of the skill-sets, vocabulary, and knowledge you have acquired from learning about wine translate (almost) directly into tea. For example, you make a big airy slurping sound when you taste tea just the same way you do when you taste wine. When discussing your impressions of a tea, you discuss things like aroma, mid palate, mouthfeel, and finish – just like with wine. We have a complete guide to our rating system here, and overview of commonly used tea terminology here in case you'd like to see exactly how similar wine and tea appreciation can be.
The questions you ask before purchasing a wine, or tea, will vary based on your experience, knowledge, and personal preferences with respect to wine and tea. Our mission is to help ask the right questions about tea, and to provide you with as much information about your teas as possible so that you can make informed and systematic decisions in your own personal exploration of tea.
Sourse：Austin Yoder 2013/12/19 The News Lens
Photo Credit: CHEN-CHING 陈镜