I recently had some friends over to enjoy some teas, and rather than making each person a cup of whatever they wanted, I arranged a tasting of five teas instead. I based my own tasting on the method used at Smith Teamakers (you can read about my visit to their tasting room here).
You can see the five teas I selected above, each in their own cup and arranged on the (blindingly) floral tray I found at the bottom of one of my cupboards. All the teas came from Smith Teamaker. Three of them were special editions, which are not currently available (but will hopefully return!) Clockwise from lower left, they are:
Bai Hao Oolong
Masala Chai (with smoked honey and cream)
As you can see, they were more or less arranged from lightest to darkest. I chose these teas because they were harder to get hold of (except for the Masala Chai), but when I do this again I wills stick to a bit more assortment: one white, one green, one oolong, one black, one herbal.
There were five of us at the tasting, and each person had a glass of water and a spoon. The technique was to use your spoon to aspirate your tea (that is, knock a mouthful to the back of your palate, getting some air with it to release the flavors), then dip your spoon in the water to rinse it before your next tea.
Everyone had a different favorite tea, though it was unanimously agreed that they were all amazing.
We enjoyed the tea with freshly-baked chocolate chip scones, with clotted cream and homemade fig jam and raspberry jam.
Having a tasting was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to do it again. I have enough teas I can do quite a few before making it through my entire collection.