Tea Tasting with Goodricke, Gurusaday Road, Kolkata
Tea Tasting with Goodricke
Gurusaday Road, Kolkata
I must drink a lot of tea or I can not work. Tea unleashes the potential, which slumbers in the depth of my soul.
The most common legend related to the discovery of tea dates back to 2737 BC in Yunnan provience in China. It happened during the reign of the Emperor Shen Nong. The story narrates that while the emperor was drinking from a bowl, a few leaves from the nearby tea plant fell in it. He liked the resulting beverage, which lead to the world wide phenomenon of tea drinking.
Although historians doubt about the authenticity but it was this Yunnan Province that gave the world the habit of drinking tea.
But for several centuries tea remained a medical beverage. It is not known when the ancient Chinese Medical beverage transformed into the most popular beverage of the world.
The evolution of tea is definitely an interesting story, but the story of transforming the two leaves and a bud of the tea plant into a cup of tea is no less interesting.
Sadly most of the die hard tea lovers, including me, have no idea on this amazing transformation process.
An invitation for a tea tasting session from Goodricke provided me with the great opportunity to unravel the secrets of not only tea tasting but also of tea processing.
The very entry into the tea sorting room at Goodricke office in Gurusaday Road, Kolkata, was a out of the world experience. There were teas from every where coming in all sorts of shape, colour, texture and flavour.
The session started with an introduction on tea processing. There are two primary tea processing methods, namely CTC (crush, tear and curl) and orthodox process.
The CTC process is normally used for Assam Tea, known for its distinctive liqueur. This is granular tea and often mixed with milk. While the orthodox tea is from the Darjeeling area . It is leafy in texture and is served with out milk.
The process of tea tasting starts with 2.5 gms of tea over which 160 ml of boiling water is poured it is brewed for 4 minutes and the tea is filtered and poured in a cup. For CTC tea milk is added to the tea. Infused tea is also kept in display.
Then the two tea taster, Siddhartha Chatterjee, with 35 year of experience in CTC tea and Binod Gurung, with 25 years of experience in orthodox tea, takes over.
The tea taster first inspects the tea with his sense of sight and touch and then smells the aroma. The infusion is also inspects in the similar way.
Then comes the most difficult and crucial part of tea tasting. The tea taster usually rolls his tongue inward and sips the tea by making a slurping sound, this process opens the taste buds given maximum exposure to the tea taster. This is something that takes years, or may be decades, to master.
After the tea tasting is complete each tea is leveled with the name of the garden and a price tag is fixed. Some of the premium qualities are sold for several thousand rupees per kg and often exported out of the country.
Tea produced from each tea estate differs in flavour and taste, due to soil composition, climate and rainfall, but tea produced in the same estate may differ from season to season, making the tea tasters job even more difficult, no wonder they do justice to their fat salary.
Finally it was time for the bloggers to try their hands on tea tasting, and most made weird sounds while sipping the tea and all the samples tasted almost same, at least to me. My fellow bloggers were not far behind.
Finally we left the sorting room and headed for the conference room. Just outside the sorting room were framed certificates of commendations and of record prices obtained in auctions.
The conference room came in with a open terrace along with a fountain. There was an elaborate spread of snacks waiting for us.
After a tiring tea tasting sessions we were all hungry and the snacks flew of the shelves and were gulped down with the finest Darjeeling tea.
Normally such events end with presentations of goodies from the host, but Goodricke has always been ahead of his times and the goodies were sent personally at our residence along with the invitation a couple of days before the tea tasting event.
The goodies included a set of 4 tea coasters, a box of Darjeeling tea from Castleton and a box of tea bags from Barnesbeg.
- To all the staff of Goodricke for not only for the wonderful experience called TEA
- Thanks to Irani Basu, PR Executive Candid Communication, for the invite and also for hosting the event.
- Thanks to my fellow bloggers for attending the tea tasting session at Goodricke