Many tea drinkers miss what can be the best part of enjoying tea: the aromas. Mainly, this is due to time constraints. Using loose-leaf tea can bring this special aspect of tea enjoyment to you and takes only a little more of your time. Here’s how:
Some Info About Our Sense of Smell
- Humans can distinguish at least 1,000 different odor inducers.
- The sense of smell can be trained to distinguish even more odor inducers – as many as 10,000.
- Olfactants (with an extreme sense of smell) can naturally detect that many but have to learn what is causing which odor.
- Smell is done in two basic ways: sniffing and inhaling so the odor reaching the back of the throat (retronasal). And they stimulate different parts of the brain. An example of retronasal smell: if you eat two different flavored candies while holding your nose shut, you will detect sweetness but not know which flavor is which.
- Smell helps us tell if the liquid we are drinking is tea or coffee, not just hot (or iced).
- Odors trigger memories more than any other stimulus – a whiff of apple pie can bring up a day from childhood when mama was taking a fresh pie from the oven.
- Smells can also have emotional responses apart from those raised by memories; Limburger cheese to most people induces a reaction of disgust.
- Other aromas around you can interfere with your perception of a particular taste/smell. Thus, part of the training needs to be how to separate them out. But you also will want to minimize extraneous odors when you are enjoying a particular tea.
Be sure to get the most from your fine teas by implementing as many of these five ways as you can. Everyone may not be able to travel to a tea garden or tea factory to appreciate the raw tea leaves, but the rest are doable with only a little added time for achieving a more complete tea tasting experience.