Tea cupping


We use tea-cupping events at the White Dragon Tea Room and Gallery in two ways.  We use tea cupping as per the tea industry and also to arrange an educational tasting of several different teas for comparison.

Tea estates, tea gardens (India and Ceylon) and Chinese and Japanese tea growers and purveyors for the tea industry use classic tea cupping for tea buyers.  A number of same type teas are measured into special vessels, usually 3 grams, and then filled with boiling water for blacks and etc. for the other varieties.  They are left to steep for a designated period of time, say five minutes.

The purpose is not to brew the perfect cup of tea.  The purpose is to compare fairly the qualities of teas.  Many teas using this method are over steeped.  However, for a tea buyer who is going to place an order, characteristics of the tea, which might be overlooked with less brewing, are revealed…this is not always a bad thing.  So equality of leaf weight wise, same water temp and same period of steeping are used for tea-cupping in the industry to enable the tea buyers to determine which teas they wish to purchase for their companies.

We use this method at The White Dragon Tearoom as a teaching tool and to create opportunity, as in a wine tasting, for tasters to learn the subtle difference in say six oolong teas. As a participant you can expect to improve your pallet, your ability to describe your experience and the joy of knowing which tea best suits you so you can buy and take it home for your enjoyment.

The cups, which hold the tea, see photographs; have a small opening through which the tea is poured into a small bowl.  Tasters have ceramic spoons, which they use to taste tea from each of those offered for their edification and selection.

We also use the process in an unorthodox manner to brew several teas, white, yellow, green, oolong, black and puer for an introduction to several teas at one time for participants.  We change the water temp and brewing time to bring them more in alignment with the specific tea’s characteristics.

The purpose of cupping, however, is to compare like teas, measured and steeped in the same manner, to determine their characteristics, strong points and flaws not to brew the perfect cup of tea.

Call 970-769-1022, The White Dragon Tearoom and Gallery, to get on the list for ongoing Cuppings or to set up one for you and your friends.  We can accommodate up to ten people and the prices range depending on which teas you want to taste.  Starts at $35 per person, prepaid at time of registration, and goes up from there if you wish to taste more esoteric and expensive teas.  Ask for Michael to make arrangements or come on in for a great world-class cup of tea.  820 Main, behind There’s No Place Like Home.

The criteria for evaluation of the teas is based on:

Overall appearance of the Dry Leaf

Aroma of the Dry Leaf

Color of the Liquor

Flavor of the liquor

Aroma and Appearance of the Wet Leaf

The steeping cup, the lid of the cup and the bowl all permit the above categories to be evaluated.

Below are some photos of the last tea cupping we did.

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