As both a wine fan and a tea lover, I’ve come to appreciate the similarities, shared language and attributes of tea and wine.
I’ve been drinking one longer than the other (can you guess?) and both connect me to my other great love – travel.
Now running an online tea business I’ve found ways to connect tea and wine to open a conversation with customers and make loose leaf tea instantly relatable.
Let’s explore a few.
Wine producers use the word terroir to explain why certain wines develop a specific character in a particular location.
Tea lovers also use the term to define the individual factors that characterise a particular tea.
These factors include
For example, teas grown at high altitude, tend to experience cool, misty conditions, resulting in slow growing plants producing light, delicate teas.
Oolong teas from the Fujian Province of China have a rocky aroma and mineral character from growing in the red sandstone Wuyi Mountains.
Skills & Production methods
All teas are made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, and the plucked leaf is processed to produce one of six types of tea – white, yellow, green, oolong, black or dark.
The type of tea to be made determines when and how the leaf is plucked.
To make the finest teas, plucking is carried out by hand. This takes a high degree of skill honed over many years and categorised according to international standards. These also help protect the health of the bushes.
Orthodox production methods mean the tea is hand or majority hand processed by skilled tea farmers using centuries old techniques. The result, much like wine is unique teas often with complex flavour profiles.
Have you experienced a dry mouth sensation when drinking tea and wine?
The cause is tannins, an astringent, bitter polyphenol found in almost all plants.
All tea contains tannin however black tea contains the highest concentration.
Some people enjoy the characteristic taste and those of us who don’t are compensated by their many health benefits.
Wine tastings have been around for many years.
We enjoy them for the chance to try new flavours and aromas, to learn something new and for the social experience they bring.
A tea tasting offers all of this and the opportunity to introduce a regular practise or ritual of tea drinking into your day. Something to bring a moment of calm and clarity in an often-chaotic world.
Tea and wine are both complex beverages steeped in history and enjoyed by many.
If you’re a tea enthusiast, how many more similarities can you identify?
And if you’re a wine lover who has never tried loose leaf tea, perhaps this will encourage you to give it a go.