Bringing different varieties of teas together to create a unique flavour and experience is what tea blending is all about. Tea blending is a quest to create a balance of flavours that you desire in the new blended version. You need to be careful with the proportions of each tea and the potency of the flavour they carry. You don’t want to end up with a sour tea that leaves a bitter after taste in your mouth.
Every blend has a hero
The tea whose flavour should stand out the most can be considered the hero, which means that the other teas you are looking to blend must be a little more subtle, so that they don’t take over the flavour completely. Every variety of tea has its own category and a part to play in a blending process. The key is to understand what you want to get from your blend and how to add ingredients to the base tea.
The foundation for your blend is known as the base tea, to which you can add herbs, spices, flowers and fruits for additional flavour. A base tea is classified by its origin and the profile that is attributed to it. For example, if you decided to make a blend with Assam tea as a base, you will want to compliment its briskness, body and malty flavour with something appropriate.
The ideal ingredient for the novice blender, spices are great because they add flavour quite easily to tea, making it easy to assess the difference between the base tea and the newly blended flavour. Commonly used spices in tea blending are cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger.
A natural ally to most teas, herbs infuse well when blended with the base tea. Herbs like mint and lemongrass provide a strong aromatic flavour to tea that will compliment your base tea well when balanced in the right quantities. Generally, herbs provide a tone of refreshment to a blend and like spices, they are easy to perceive when used in a blend.
This is where you begin to earn your keep as a blender. Fruits can bring an overwhelming flavour to the palate, and if you do not add them in the right balance, your blend will end up tasting too sour. Certain fruits are easier to use than others, like apple, orange and pineapple.
Extremely delicate in flavour, it takes a true connoisseur to understand the subtle yet moving effect flowers can add to a blend. Paired with a powerful flavour, flowers can be lost in translation. Some flowers often used in blending are Rose, Jasmine, Lavender and Hibiscus.
Taking all of the above in, try and make a custom blend of your own. Remember to try and pair bold teas with bold flavours and delicate teas with delicate flavours. The key is to use the character of every ingredient to achieve a balanced taste on your palate with your favourite flavours.