Guest post by Valentin Rudloff from @minivalism on the beauty of tea tasting
Tea is an essential part of my life. It is not only one of my favorite staple foods; it is also closest to what I would call my personal spirituality. For me, enjoying tea is more than a unique, captivating sensual experience. Each cup of tea can teach you something new. Let me explain this to you over a cup of the Black Yabe tea.
It all begins with the tea leaves. Their shape, size, color, along with smell open their own space for imagination and set the stage for the whole tea drinking experience. They will suggest to you how you want to brew them, what kind of teapot or teacups you should use, in which environment or at which daytime you want to enjoy the tea.
When dry, the Black Yabe tea has long, rolled up, rather large, brown, almost black leaves. I prefer to prepare the tea in the so-called Shiboridashi – a Japanese teapot for the brewing of high-quality green teas. It has a rough, beige surface that is repeatedly interrupted by a white glaze. When I look at the leaves being covered by the hot water, I see a small world of trees and glades that move in gentle waves.
With each cup of tea, you learn to perceive details in a new way.Valentin Rudloff
When you open the tea bag, a woody tart smell, something very cozy and warm, envelops you. You can already guess that these dark and closed leaves will unfold an extraordinary bouquet. The first infusion is only dedicated to the scent of the leaves. As soon as you have filled the teapot with water, pour it into the bowls, inhale the smell, and pour it away. Now a subtle fragrance is released; the leaves are woken up and cleaned by the hot water.
The second infusion is considered the noblest for almost all teas. Now the tea can unfold its complex notes and give you the broadest taste impression. At the very beginning, I perceived the Black Yabe tea as sweet, woody, and almost a little smoky. However, with each further infusion, it lost its tartness, and the floral notes of dried fruit came to the fore.
This complex, yet pleasant Japanese specialty tea with a warm and earthy character is an excellent tea to try if you want to expand the horizon of your black tea experience.
In times of constant distraction, recognizing taste notes, sharpening your senses for details, and the continuous change allow you, at least for a short time, to forget the world around you and to focus on your own thoughts again. A moment of silence in a world full of noise.
Text & Images: © Valentin Rudloff 2020
Valentin Rudloff is a graphic designer and tea enthusiast. His main areas of interest are sustainability, contemporary design, and fashion.