Focusing on Taste


Today on Talking Tea we focus on the nuances of flavor, and how to fully appreciate the taste of tea by engaging all of our senses. Guiding us through this exploration of tasting is Billy Dietz, a tea development specialist based in Montreal. We chat with Billy via Skype as he shares a little of his own remarkable tea journey and then takes us through two methods of preparing a tea he selected for this episode, a Muzha Tie Kwan Yin oolong from Taiwan provided by Naivetea.

We compare the preparation of this tea in the traditional Chinese covered cup known as a gaiwan with the professional tasting method known as “cupping”. (In the image here the gaiwan is in the left foreground, the cupping set to its right.) Billy explains the purpose of each of these brewing methods, gives us details on brewing tips in each style and discusses how these details of preparation affect the taste. We chat about how the other senses come into play as well – the visual aspects of the dry and infused leaf and the brewed tea, the aroma, the tactile sensations of the tea after we sip it, and even how we breathe before and after taking a sip – how to fully engage with all of these to allow a fuller discovery of the tea. Throughout,  Billy emphasizes the need for playful experimentation with our tea, so that our tea drinking becomes an art of discovery, an opportunity for mindfulness and self-awareness.

You can follow Billy on Twitter and Instagram at @sirwillotleaf. You can find his blogsite at


Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   

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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.

This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” ( by mpgiiiBEATS ( available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( Adapted from original.

Episode photo courtesy of Billy Dietz

Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.



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