Blending Breakfast

Feedback is requested at the end–please respond!

This last Sunday, after the Wulong Tea class for the Tea Basics Certification Training, I did a class about English Breakfast tea.  Or, more precisely, the whole idea of blending and what “breakfast tea” means.  In a departure from the typical tea training, I only offered some brief history about breakfast teas, their history, and how blending is done in larger tea companies.  The fun part for me was giving people the structure and framework to make their own breakfast tea blend and see what they came up with.

We set up 6 different identically brewed teas in a couple of stations.  The teas each came from different places of origin (Anhui [Keemun], Yunnan, Fujian [Wuyi Lapsang], Assam, Darjeeling, and Sri Lanka).  Participants first explored what they liked in a tea–how important was mouthfeel?  Strength?  Flavor profile?  Color?  Then, with an idea of their goal, they set to work, mixing various amounts of the various teas in their sampling cup in an attempt to create a blend that most closely matched the goal.

In the end, the recipes were quite varied.  One person found that the best combination for her was just the tea from Sri Lanka.  Another’s blend was about two-thirds lapsang, and the remaining a mix of non-smoked Chinese and Indian teas, while someone else had only the barest hint (about 5%) of lapsang.  Two people came up with identical recipes and worked up a special name for their breakfast co-blend.  Some liked them mild, others strong.  (And a tiny pitcher of milk was brought in to test blends with and without milk to see how they’d perform “in the field”).

More than half of the people who attended bought tea for their own blend.  Which gave me an idea:  I could offer a sampler of the different “student project” breakfast teas for folks to order, so you could taste how diverse the recipes were.  I’d love to get your feedback–is that something you’d like to see?  Would you buy a sampler of an ounce of 5 or 6 different teas for, say, $20?  I want to know!  Please comment, or send an email to teageek(at)teageek(dot)net with your thoughts, and maybe you can join in an extension of this class!

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