The very first tea tasting takes place immediately after the completion of production in the plantations responsible for the primary processing of tea leaves, a task that is carried out by experts employed by the producer. This initial assessment is to ascertain the quality of the tea and whether it meets the requirement of the market place. Teas produced on the plantation can vary depending on the time of year, time of day, prevailing weather conditions and so on.
The first and all subsequent tastings of Riston Tea somewhat resembles a genuine ritual. The tea is brewed according to the necessary rules and special porcelain teapots and tea bowls called ‘tasting cups; are used for this purpose. The fact that porcelain is the most suitable material for tasting is due to its porous structure, as it reveals the tea leaf’s genuine taste and aroma. Three grams of tea is added to the special pot and boiling water is poured over the leaves. The tea is then allowed to brew for five minutes, after which it is poured into tea bowls. It should be noted that not a single professional tea taster undertakes to assess the quality of the tea leaves solely on the basis of their flavour and taste.
Therefore, the tasting process (the organoleptic assessment) includes an assessment of all indicators, particularly the appearance of the dry leaf, its infusion, aroma and last but not least the taste. At the end of the tasting session, a tea taster provides his conclusion on the quality of the tea. Tea tasters at Riston will carefully taste thousands of samples sent by various plantations to produce consistent quality blends throughout the year.
Before reaching the final consumer, the tea is tasted a few more times at different stages – samples are evaluated during different stages of packing process and are subjected to stringent quality checks. Once the tea taster is satisfied that the blend meets all parameters, samples are sent to experts of the importing companies prior to shipment. A further sample is forwarded to the importing company after the consignment has sailed. Finally, the tea is tasted at the packaging factory to ensure quality prior to reaching the end consumer. However, despite all the difficulties of the profession, it is heartening to know that this commitment to goodness, freshness and high quality is appreciated by people throughout the world.
When you enjoy the evening over a cup of hot tea, remembering the best moments of the day that has just passed, you are also connected by a fine thread to this great mystery – as, on the other side of the globe on the amazing teahouse island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), a team of genuine professionals continue to carry out their challenging yet interesting work with passion and devotion.