The Taste of Tea
Preliminary results from the World Tea Expo 2010
On May 19th and 20th, we were in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the World Tea Expo 2010, Booth 348. With the invaluable help of Scott Svihula and China Mist teas, we captured the attention of more than 140 of the attendees, who took precious time from touring the exhibits to sit down, take our survey,and taste the ready-to-drink teas provided by China Mist Brands®.
So far we have made a preliminary analysis of the 140 usable surveys, and the results are fascinating!
A few examples:
- As a group, the attendees at the World Tea Expo 2010 are very curious and eager to try new foods and experiences: the mean score of the group on a measure of neophilia (the term for enthusiasm for what is new) was 10.5 out of a possible 12.
- They were also inclined to have a strong response to visual experience, for example by being deeply moved by a sunset, or through being able to visualize scenes in their "mind's eye."
- For this study, we did not use the mint taste test, but rather simply asked whether participants got a strong cooling effect from mint. The results were the same as we had seen before using the mint taste test, namely that people who said they get a strong cooling effect of mint were more likely to say they could see scenes vividly in their "mind's eye" and could be moved by visual experiences.
- Black teas were the most popular teas, cited by 25% of the participants, oolong teas were the next most popular, appreciated by 20% of the participants, and green teas came in third, as the favorite of 17.5% of the participants. Interestingly, 9% of the participants said their favorite tea was one not made from the leaves of the the tea bush, Camellia sinensis.
- Tea knowledge had some bearing on which types of tea people preferred. People with all levels of tea knowledge liked black teas. However, people who considered themselves beginners or novices were more likely to prefer chai and green teas, while people who considered themselves experienced were more likely to choose oolongs, earl grey, and white teas.
- Participants in the study had 12 words to choose from to describe the tea they liked best—the more knowledgeable they were about tea the greater the number of words they chose to describe their favorite tea. Words like pungent and nutty were among those used more often by the more knowledgeable tea drinkers.
- While people at all different levels of tea knowledge chose the taste as something they liked about their favorite tea, people with more tea knowledge were more likely to also choose the tea's aroma and aftertaste as reasons to like their favorite tea.
Of course, we have to complete analyzing the data; there are many more findings waiting in the wings!
Please note that we will be preparing a special report with suggestions for the tea industry. Please contact us if you have questions about this or any other aspect of our work.