Are you an obsessive list maker? Do you journal compulsively? Why not combine your hobbies and start tracking your tea consumption? Spill the tea on your likes and dislikes and you’ll be able to get even more out of your monthly Sips by box.
A tea journal can give you a dedicated place to further expand on your tea tasting experience. Keeping track of this will to train your palate so that you can continue to improve on brewing techniques while also learning to assess the quality and value of the tea. Plus, you’ll feel like a scientist performing important lab experiments. If you want to customize your journal, you can experiment with including tea stained pages, cute button closures, and adding tea quotes (maybe in fun fancy lettering?)
Need some ideas for your tea journal? Here are suggestions of fun things to include:
BRAND NAMEMake note of the brand name and variety so you’re able to grab the tea again if you fall in love. You may also want to take note of where you purchased the tea to make it easier to remember where you can pick it up (cough, sipsby.com, cough).
DATEKeeping track of the date will help you to keep track of how your tastes and preferences evolve over time.
TYPE OF TEAThe type of tea not only gives you clues about what to expect, but helps make it easy to search for your favorite types of teas. If you’re not into sticking to chronological order, separating your tea journal into your favorite type of tea is a good way to go about it, or you can easily color code your journal pages by the types of tea.
APPEARANCE/COLORTaking a look at the appearance of the tea leaves can help you gain further insight into the quality of the tea. Typically, full tea leaves or buds are teas that are going to be of the highest quality, whereas broken tea leaves can sometimes cause a more bitter flavor. The color of the leaves can provide you with an interesting observation into how the tea might develop. See whether you can tell whether the tea will be red, black, white, or green when you do brew it.
SCENT OF DRY LEAFThe aroma of the tea - even before you brew it - is an important part of the tea tasting appearance. Before you go about brewing your tea, allow yourself to inhale the scent of the dry leaves, seeing what flavors you can pick up on and recording them in your journal so that you can compare this to the scent of the brewed tea, as well as the flavors you pick up on when you do take a sip. A good quality tea will more aromatic when dry, whereas a lower quality or older blend of loose leaf tea will typically not give off as much scent.
WET LEAF APPEARANCE AND SCENTBecause the tea leaves will start to open when wet, you can actually learn a lot about the quality of the tea from examining the leaves as your tea brews. Lighter color teas mean that the tea is less oxidized, whereas teas that are allowed to oxidize, such as black teas, will be darker and deeper in color. You can also allow yourself to inhale the scent of the brewed tea. Try comparing this to the scent of the dry leaf, noticing how long the scent lingers.
COLOR OF BREWED TEAThe color of the brewed tea is known as the liquor of the tea, and can range quite a bit in color depending on the type of tea. Even a black tea can range from being amber in color, to a darker brown. Try to examine the color of the brewed tea, noticing if you can identify any connection between the colors of tea and the intensity and type of the flavor.
BREWING METHODDifferent brewing methods impact the flavor of tea, whether you use a teapot, a single cup infuser, a french press, or a cold brew method. Make note of this, as well as the devices used, so that you can experiment and determine what differences you notice from the different methods of brewing and teaware used.
WATER TO TEA RATIOWhether you’re making a pot of tea for a group or an individual serving, tea can taste different depending on the ratio that you use. This will allow you to make the proper adjustments going forward, based on whether you found the tea to be too strong, too weak, or just right.
SOURCE OF WATERLike the quality of the tea ingredients, the quality of water is important when brewing a good cup of tea. Typically, spring water is suggested to be the best quality to use for tea, but you can experiment using filtered, tap, and bottled water to brew your tea, noting if there is any difference in the taste. If you’d going for hot tea, you can also make a note of the temperature of water used.
BREW TIMETypically, tea that is steeped for too long with have a bitter taste, which is why it is important to follow the notes for brewing the tea on the package. If you’re cold brewing your tea, then usually they will be stronger the longer that you brew the tea for, making this something important to note so you can create something that best suits your preferences.
ADDITIVESDoes the tea taste better with sugar? Honey? Milk?
RATINGTea is personal, and your tea journal is just for you! You can incorporate a 5-star (or 5 cup!) rating system, making it easy for you to track your favorites and understand your preferences.
FEELINGS OR MEMORIES YOU ASSOCIATE WITH THE TEALet’s get emotional. Tea is at its best when it is an experience involving all of your senses. It can have a nostalgic impact, perhaps reminding you of the tea that your grandma used to serve, or a cup you enjoyed on a trip. Be sure to take note of any memories that might come up, as well as using feelings to describe the tea for more than just the flavor profile.
EXPERIMENT NOTESThis is a place for you to keep track of anything that you’d like to try the next time you prepare a cup of this tea, including switching up your sweetener or milk types and amounts, brewing time, and more.
Whether you’re a tea head or a tea novice, the Sips by Tea Shop sells all types of tea from the best tea brands. We’ll teach you how to make the perfect cup of tea, whether you’re using loose leaf tea or bagged tea, whether you want the benefits of black tea or the benefits of green tea, or whether you prefer hot tea or iced tea. Need an extra energy boost? We’ve got caffeinated teas like black tea and green tea. Want to savor a comforting mug at night? We have herbal and caffeine free teas. Discover the world of tea with white tea, oolong tea, pu’erh tea, rooibos, cacao tea, and more.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.