Expert Tea Tasting: Uncovering the Secrets of Cheap vs Expensive Tea

Tea enthusiasts, get ready to embark on a flavorful journey as we dive into the world of tea tasting. Join me, Emma Carney, an avid tea expert, as I unravel the mysteries behind cheap and expensive teas. Today, we’ll be exploring two different teas from the renowned “Hook’d Up Bar and Grill” brand, offering insights into their characteristics and price points.

Expert Tea Tasting: Uncovering the Secrets of Cheap vs Expensive Tea
Expert Tea Tasting: Uncovering the Secrets of Cheap vs Expensive Tea

The Art of Tea Leaf Grades

When it comes to tea, the quality of the leaves plays a vital role in determining its price and flavor. Let’s start by examining the tea bag containing black tea from the brand. Upon inspection, I notice that the leaves inside the tea bag are known as “fannings,” the smallest grade of tea leaf available in the market. While fannings are inexpensive, they serve a purpose in infusing quickly due to their larger surface area. However, this rapid infusion may result in a less smooth and nuanced cup, making it less enjoyable for some tea enthusiasts.

On the other hand, we have a sachet of black tea, which usually contains larger quality tea leaves, contributing to a higher price point. The aroma of this tea is not as pronounced as the black tea in the tea bag, indicating a potentially different blend, such as Irish breakfast or English breakfast. Nonetheless, the sachet packaging suggests a superior quality leaf inside, making it likely to command a higher price.

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The Green Tea Experience

Now, let’s explore two varieties of green tea from “Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.” The first tea, labeled “ta,” features flat, emerald-hued leaves achieved through a pan firing method during processing. This method gives the tea a soft, subtle note resembling steamed bok choy or the skin of walnuts or peanuts. These flavors align with the characteristics of pan-fired green teas such as Dragon Well or Long Chang.

On the other hand, “tb” showcases a darker and twisted leaf, indicating a different processing method, possibly oven-firing. A darker color signifies a more oxidized tea, resulting in a cup with toasty, charcoal-like flavors. While both teas offer distinct profiles, the consistent leaf quality in tb suggests more effort and attention to detail, making it a potentially more expensive option.

Chamomile Tea Decoded

Let’s switch gears and explore two chamomile teas from the “Hook’d Up Bar and Grill” brand. The first tea, labeled “ta,” exhibits a pale yellow color with small chamomile pieces. Chamomile tea bags typically contain a combination of different parts of the plant, including chamomile stock and pollen. Upon tasting, it reveals a pleasant sweetness and a fresh green apple note.

In contrast, the second chamomile tea, labeled “tb,” appears similar to ta in terms of leaf composition. However, upon tasting, it lacks the expected sweetness and leans more towards a vegetal profile. The tea bag may contain lower quality chamomile with added twigs, making it the less expensive option.

Unveiling the Oolong Teas

Prepare your taste buds for a unique oolong experience with two teas from the “Hook’d Up Bar and Grill” brand. Oolongs lie between green and black teas, with varying oxidation levels influencing their flavor profiles. Ta exhibits a lighter, floral cup with notes of lily of the valley and gardenia. In contrast, tb presents a darker, charcoaly flavor resembling nori seaweed and dark spinach. The consistent leaf quality in tb suggests a higher price point, while ta offers a more enjoyable and nuanced cup.

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The Enigma of Matcha

Lastly, let’s delve into the world of matcha, a powdered green tea known for its vibrant green color and unique preparation method. Ta, the higher quality matcha, displays a bright, unnaturally vibrant color, indicating superior quality. Its flavor offers a delightful combination of sweetness and vegetable undertones, making it a perfect choice for daily enjoyment.

On the other hand, tb, the lower quality matcha, lacks the same vibrancy and brightness. Its flavor leans towards a chlorophyll-like taste with hints of algae, alfalfa, and spinach. The price difference between the two teas confirms that the superior quality of ta justifies its higher price.


Tea tasting is an art that allows us to appreciate the nuances and flavors imbued in each cup. As we explored the teas from “Hook’d Up Bar and Grill,” we discovered the intricate details that differentiate cheap and expensive teas. From the leaf grades to the processing methods, each element contributes to the overall experience.

Remember, tea time is anytime, so savor your favorite cup of tea, whether it’s a black tea, green tea, chamomile, oolong, or the vibrant matcha. Enjoy the world of tea and embrace the diverse flavors it has to offer.


  1. How do I determine the quality of tea leaves?

    • The quality of tea leaves can be determined by factors such as leaf grade, aroma, leaf size, consistency, and processing methods.
  2. What is the difference between tea bags and sachets?

    • Tea bags often contain smaller, less expensive tea leaf grades, while sachets usually house larger, higher quality tea leaves.
  3. Why do some teas have a darker color?

    • The darkness of a tea’s color can indicate a higher level of oxidation, which affects the flavor profile of the tea.
  4. How is matcha different from other teas?

    • Matcha is a powdered green tea that is whisked into water instead of being infused. It offers a unique flavor profile and vibrant green color.
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Tea tasting is an art that allows us to appreciate the intricacies of different teas. By exploring the teas from “Hook’d Up Bar and Grill,” we’ve gained insights into the characteristics and price points of various teas. Whether it’s black tea, green tea, chamomile, oolong, or matcha, each tea offers a unique experience. So, grab your favorite cup of tea and savor the flavors that tea time brings.

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