Darjeeling Production Defects Cupping Event Results …. Week 3

IMG_5675-smThe final week of the Production Defects Cupping Event concluded with the last pair of Darjeeling samples. The last defect explored the effects of over-withering of the leaves which occurs at the beginning of the tea making process. Comparison with a standard tea from the same estate showed the common factors in both samples while highlighting the defect feature. The Cuppers comments on these teas are given below. In addition, the participants were asked to give their final ranking of the benchmark samples and comment on their over all experiences of this Cupping Event. These comments along with those with the first two weeks will be compiled and offered to the supplier and sponsors both in thanks and also with the intention that the Cuppers comments may be helpful in their future endeavors. It has certainly been a very interesting opportunity and the Cuppers learned a great deal about not only the effects of the processing steps but also gained a deeper appreciation for those involved in making the fine teas that make it to the market.

Sample #5-A
Dry Leaf Appearance:

-  Choppy, mix of sizes. Small brown broken pieces, some long silver tips, some long stems.
- dark brown, some nice reds but lots of green
- dull, black-brown, rough, crude looking
- dark brown white tips
- Uniform in curl but not in length. Not unattractive
- Curled full leaf with mix of green, brown and gold
- Small some twisted variable size mostly brown/black with some olive drab/tan
-
- coarse brown leaves with stems, some green and sienna colors
- even sized leaf, even colour

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Toasty. Light sweetness. Bready with faint hints of spice.
- spicy sweetness and earthy
- cut grass
- herbal white flower (light)
- Slightly musty classic Darjeeling
- Earthy, sweet, fresh grass
- Faint hay hint of steamed artichoke
-
- baked squash, sharp cedar
- alfalfa, daisy, fresh grass

 Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Mix of colors from dark brown to dark green. Choppy.
- Broken leaf with a lot of stem. Most dark pieces
- brown with purple hue
- quite big pieces red brown dark green
- Well reconstituted green leaf
- Open full leaf with some broken chips
- Open olive drab with significant rufous highlights
-
- reddish brown, dark green and khaki colors, decent uniformity
- even colour bright, full

 Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Mild sweetness of currants with slight edge of savory. Baked apples without sugar.
- spicyness but thin
- oak
- buscuity with some fruit
- Fresh straw and peat with a hint of salt
- Fresh and pleasant with some pine undertones
- Faint steamed veggie
-
- dark rose, cedar, woodsy
- sweet, stone fruit, honey

 Liquor Color:
- Bright medium amber with reddish hints. Some sediment.
- orange-copper
- caramel, pale
- dark orange red
- Rich Amber, like a nice sherry
- gold, clear, bright
- Clear bright medium dark amber with red shift
-
- bright golden coppery
- yellow gold,bronze

 Flavor:
- Sweet and fruity. Hints of berries and citrus. Light but pleasant astringency. Some vegetal elements but well balanced.
- very little flavor - nothing lingering for aftertaste
- sweet, balanced
- biscuity some fruit (prune) sweet lightly pungent
- Fresh! Mildly Salty and soapy. Might have benefitted from a 30sec shorter steep but pleasant.
- Some astringency but a pleasant drinkable tea
- Medium body some viscosity medium linger clean finish touch of spice box
-
- woodsy, astringent, mild, vague
- honey, smooth, honeydew ,slight astringency, apricots, clean, refreshing

Comments:
- This sample has a slight but not offensive burnt/heavy fired overtone. Light initial flavor but complexity develops and finish lingers. Second infusion - aroma is pleasant but lacking in body. Retains some citrus peel flavor though thin. Finish is quite short. Still very drinkable.
- The thinness of the infusion did not inspire much comment. It seems very unremarkable.
- Liquor flavor especially appreciated
- an interesting liquor more biscuity than fruity not impressive at first taste but long lasting
- Nice without being spectacular
- Nice flavor, very enjoyable, very drinkable afternoon tea
- Not bad mouth feel but not much here.  Tried longer steep & hotter water with little change.
-
- The interesting aromas didn’t come through to the flavor
-

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing

1

2

3

4

5

Leaf Appearance

1

2

3

3

 

Leaf Aroma

1

4

3

1

 

Liquor Aroma

1

3

4

1

 

Liquor Flavor

3

3

1

1

1



Sample
#5-B   Over Withered
Dry Leaf Appearance:

- Large, whole, gently twisted, very dark brown leaves. Some but few buds. Wiry and fairly uniform.
- long, dark and wirey pieces mixed with many broken sizes and bits of stem. Lot of green pieces. Seems inconsistent. Not sure that I see what "over withered" means in this sample. Not what I expected.
- dull, cloudy, black-gray, charcoal
- long pieces twisted black
- Some green, some flat - all over the place
- brown, long and twisted
- Small highly variable shape & size color variable. Olive drab/brown/black/tan fines
-
- black/grey, sienna and green colors, irregular leaf sizes
- mixed leaves, uneven colour

 Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Musty. Dank. Fermented. Dried too slowly? Dusty. Dried compost.
- Sweet, metallic, vegetal
- cut grass and marigold
- wet hay paper
- Seaweed
- grassy
- Faint hay steamed bitter greens(mizuni?) wet musty herbs
-
- sour, stagnant lake water
- dusty,
musky, moss

Wet Leaf Appearance:
-
Bulky, large dark brown and green whole leaves. 70% open after 1st infusion. Nice looking and well shaped.
- mostly green
- chocolate, even, uniform
- dark brown long pieces not completely open
- Quite well reconstituted but brittle looking
- broken with some stark green pieces -- almost like live leaves
- Open variable color maybe 60/40 olive drab/rufous
-
- choppy appearance, irregular sizes olive green, muddy brown, reddish brown colors
- patchy, green. dull mixed colours

 Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Musty, Some sweet hints. Mold.
- nondescript - very little aroma
- camphor, oak leaves, molasses
- musty old musty paper
- Also like seawater
- aromaless
- Musty herbs, dank basement, wet concrete
-
- musty cedar, dank forest floor (not in a good way)
- moss, wet wood ,wet forest floor

 Liquor Color:
- Bright golden brown with faint yellow halo. Some sediment.
- thin, dirty yellow
- orange brown
- dark red brown
- Flat brown, like supermarket teas.
- light, some green in the color with a little lack of clarity
- Clear- Touch of opacity Light to medium light amber with brown shift
-
- dull copper with minor brownish tint
- golden green

Flavor:

- Dank but not as bad as the aroma. Dried, spoiled fruit. Some fruity notes. Medium body with some astringency.
- almost nothing
- acid, balanced, musty, minty
- musty flat pungent ++
- Like sucking seawater off the rubber foot of an old iron chair.
- Bland, tasteless, lacks all character
- Medium light body trace viscosity musty finish lingers resin/popsicle stick/metal
-
- astringent, as tea cools more of the dank forest floor flavor comes through
- watery, no flavour slight orange

Comments:
- Fermented aroma might have resulted from too long of a whither (leaves remained wet too long before firing). Uniform plucking. Well made but obviously ruined by lack of moisture removal at proper time. Second infusion - Still damp and earthy but not as strong and as unpleasant. Hint of citrus is not detectable. Finish is mild but lasting. Faint soapy aftertaste.
- I would very much like to know more about the over-withering and why that made the sample so uneven in leaf size and color.
- Surprisingly rich aromas, intriguing and enjoyable to tease apart
- the impression of opening an old chest full of wet and moisturizing old papers a smell of cellar but at the antipodes of Puer a strong pungency calling for a grimace
- Clearly a goodish tea ruined by poor processing
- Almost watery, lacks any definition
- More body than expected from liquor color. Aftertaste lingers unfortunately.
-
- surprising to me that over withering would create musty, dank results in aromas and flavors.
-

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing

1

2

3

4

5

Leaf Appearance

 

1

3

4

1

Leaf Aroma

 

1

1

3

4

Liquor Aroma

 

1

1

2

5

Liquor Flavor

 

 

1

1

7

 


Cupping Event Over-all Ranking (1 = the most preferred)

Name

Rank

Combined (ranks/8)

Final Rank

1-A

17

2.125

1

2-A

30

3.75

5

3-A

20

2.5

2

4-A

25

3.125

3

5-A

28

3.5

4


Final Comments:
- This was a very interesting experience and I feel I have a better understanding of the nature of these different defects. I also have a better idea of the effects of the different processing steps and what can happen if each step is not done properly. I think I will be better able to detect these defects in the regular teas. It was very good to have samples from one origin and I appreciate the tea makers for making these samples especially for this event. Thank you!
- In my final cupping I reduced the temperature of the water, infused the entire set of five teas for only 1 minute. Then, infused a second time for 3 minutes. I preferred the second infusion at the lower temperature for overall comparison. I think it brought out the sweetness and reduced astringency bringing out some of the more subtle differences between the teas. My personal preference for the deeper, more flowery flavor of the 1-A made me select it even though the comparison doesn't seem quite right with the others. It also had the most beautiful, full leaf and deep red liquor, infusing a strong second cup as well. For body and flavor, the 3-A was my second choice.
- A fascinating exercise, rare opportunity to taste and smell the consequences of mishandling the leaves in processing.
- The ranking is very subjective, all these teas were very good autumn flush, I prefer the 4 for its complexity but I was very pleased with the other ones even with the 5 that I found the more simple, Concerning the defective samples it was beyond my expectations and it confirm me that I have never really drunk bad teas (only not very interesting or not well prepared) they were all tasting bad but were all an experience of its own. In general I found that beyond prominent bad taste they were not complex and flat, and that even an ordinary blend in a bag is richer Thanks Rajiv and Dan this experience was very well planned offering the opportunity to compare the same lot with its defective counterpart and I was amazed by the huge difference that can arise from so small difference in the process. I feel more grateful to all the tea workers and retailers that allow us to get good teas and I'm more aware after this tasting that this calls for so much care from the planting of the tea tree to our cup. Last but not least, the deepest mystery is that even the defective samples have the taste of tea.
- The "A" samples were all wonderful teas. Doing the event over 3 weeks was interesting, I am thinking of repeating it in one sitting. A great learning experience.
- Excellent opportunity to taste some of the common(?) defects and tea, and help identify good teas from "bad" ones.  Two questions:  Can we get a better description of the teas so we can purchase them in the future (of course the A teas) and how did ITCC get the defect samples?  Were they prepared for the tasting, or did the manufacturer(s) actually make the mistakes and have them available.  the tasting also provided a methodology and terminology to describe what teas are  "off" and help understand the tea process, from rolling to aging.  Thank you.
- 1 & 3 were easy favorites with preference for 1 for complexity of aroma and longer finish.  5 was easy last for lack of much "there" there. 2 & 4 in the middle with 4 dropped for the disappointment in the mouth after teasing with some intriguing aromas.  Thanks to Dan for making this happen.
-
- We used this for staff training, It was a very helpful tool and the more they went on the more understanding of the process of cupping.

 

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danrobertson

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11

03 2014

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    From Robert Godden:
    I was part of this an loved it. If you are wondering about the anonymous comment on Sample 5B – “Like sucking seawater off the rubber foot of an old iron chair” , then of course that was me. Thanks to Rajiv Lochan and Dan Robertson for all their hard work in making this happen.

  2. 2

    From Dan Robertson:
    I immensely enjoyed reading your comments Robert. I haven’t seen the word “unctuous” used in a sentence for a while. A great and suitable word! Let’s keep the discussion going on this both on FB and the ITCC Community Board. There were several other interesting questions that arose from other Cuppers.



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