ISTA Category

Tasting Chinese Tea At TRA

Standards For Specialty Tea — Taste

Paradoxically, taste is both the least important and most important elementwhen it comes to establishing the quality of a specialty tea. Taste is the least important element in that taste is, after all, dependent on the individual. What tastes bad to some tastes good to others.


Yu Qian An Ji Bai Cha 2013

Standards For Specialty Tea — Color

Element 10 – Color The color of dry tea leaves, wet tea leaves, and the tea infusion itself offers clues about the processing the tea leaves went through, how they were stored, and their age. Both leaf and liquor color are indicators of the amount of oxidation and roasting that tea leaves have gone through. Even… // MORE


Organic Asssam Green Tea

Standards For Specialty Tea — Processing

Element 8 – Processing – Along with recognizing the tea maker as a person who is important in the valuation of a tea due to his or her skilled decisions in the tea’s manufacture, it reasonable that those decisions should be identified as well. This brings us to the element of processing. In looking at the… // MORE


Yancha Tea maker in the roasting room

Standards For Specialty Tea — Tea Maker

Element 7 – Tea Maker – Tea making is difficult and skilled work. So it follows that some tea makers are better than others, and variations between the products of two tea makers, even within the same factory, can be dramatic. This is because tea manufacture, especially when performed with traditional methods, involves tacit knowledge… // MORE


Leaves from a Qi Lan Wulong Tea Cultivar with notes

Standards For Specialty Tea — Cultivar

Element 6 – Cultivar  – It should seem obvious that the genetics of a tea bush have significant contributions to the final character of a tea, however, identifying bush’s cultivar (or lack thereof) is rare in the sales of tea. The influence of tea bush genetics is so underplayed that there is even the erroneous… // MORE


Plucking young tea leaves in China

Standards For Specialty Tea — Harvest Date

This post was authored by Austin Hodge as part of a series on defining standards for specialty tea. It was originally published by the International Specialty Tea Association. Element 5 – Harvest Date When was this tea plucked? The answer to this simple question tells us many things, not the least of which include:    The expected… // MORE


Yellow Tea Field Notes

Standards For Specialty Tea — Plucking and Leaf Uniformity

This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post, on the condition of the tea leaf, can be found here. Element… // MORE