Talking tea: Q&A With Tea Taster, Dan
With tea reigning high as the nation’s favourite drink, it’s hard to think of a better job than official tea taster! Here at Ringtons our team of master tea tasters not only taste up to 300 teas every single day, but they also travel the world visiting tea estates and gardens to learn all they can and go great lengths to make sure our team can always deliver your favourite brew exactly as you like it.
We caught up with our Tea Buyer and Blender & fifth-generation family member Daniel Smith to find out exactly what it takes to make a Ringtons noticeably nicer cup of tea!
Not just tasting… my job is to source, buy and blend teas as well, always focussing on quality and flavour. Central to this is tea tasting and we’re lucky enough to taste teas from all over the world.
An important part of our tea buying process is to grow strong relationships with producers, so travelling to tea growing regions and meeting the tea growers face-to-face is paramount, and always exciting.
I joined Ringtons almost 10 years ago for a year’s work experience. Starting in our production facility in Newcastle I spent time in Quality Assurance and Blending before moving to the Tasting department. When I began tea tasting professionally it became a true passion for me. Since then I’ve tasted every batch I could and enjoyed every moment of it.
Tea tasting is a surprisingly complicated activity and it takes between 5 and 7 years to become a true tea taster. Although there are no formal qualifications, trainees are constantly tested by mixing teas up and then tasting them ‘blind’ to ensure characteristics and qualities are picked out without prior knowledge of what the tea might be, it’s quite a skill!
Most people are usually surprised how much goes into their tea bag behind the scenes and how complicated it all is. The most common question is ‘which is the best tea?’, I’m also frequently asked if I get to taste the biscuits as well, sadly not.
It has to be working for a company that strong values that I share, for quality, people, the environment and communities, and working with colleagues throughout the business that also share these values. There are the daily things I enjoy in tasting teas made with passion, skill and effort, travelling to tea growing regions in exotic places and drinking tea.
Ringtons Gold. It’s the perfect balance of sweet flavour and smooth character with a beautiful bright golden colour. I drink at least 8 cups a day and it never gets old #LeafLock.