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How to start a Tea Journal in 6 Steps: The Basics To Start a Tea Tasting Journal

In this article, we will discuss how to start a tea journal in 6 easy steps, so if you have a huge collection or are just starting in the tea world, this post will help you make the most of your tea tasting experience.

What is a Tea Journal?

A tea journal, simply put, is a way to keep track of your own personal journey with tea. It is especially useful for those who are new to the big wide world of tea. Hot water and leaves aren’t the only things that go into it; there’s a lot to discover and a tea journal is a perfect way to keep track of all that you learn! They can help you refine your palate, branch out of your comfort zone, refine your brewing techniques, track your changing tastes, and even help you assess the quality and value of tea. 

Tea journals are pretty easy to make yourself, all you need is a notebook or journal of your choosing and a little creativity, but you could also just buy one online or even from your local bookstore. When in doubt, get creative! Your tea journal doesn’t have to follow any set rules, but it’s always helpful to have a guide to get started. There are a lot of different types of tea journals, they can be simple daily records, travel-related, food-related, health and wellness, and MANY more!

How to start a Tea Journal in 6 Steps

1. Find, buy or make a notebook that you love for your new tea journal

Make sure you start off right by choosing a journal or notebook that fits your interests, personality, or personal taste! It could be your favorite color, have a fun pattern, or even have a decal of your favorite style of art (mine has water lilies reminiscent of Claude Monet). 

2. Decide the type of tea journal that you want to keep

There are many different types of tea journals: daily record journals, tea and food pairing journals, tea wishlist and collection journals, wellness tea journals, and SO many more. Pick one that resonates with you. 

3. Make a list of the things you want to make a note of when tasting your tea

You can note things like different taste aspects, the way it feels on the tongue, any foods that you think would pair well, or even the feelings or memories that it brings to mind. It all depends on what kind of journal you want to keep, and your own personal relationship with tea. 

4. Create your tea page layout/entry

Add the date at the top and decide how you want to divide up your page (if you want to at all), in columns, boxes, or even just labeled sections. Then simply label them with the categories you want to note when tasting your tea. 

5. Start writing!

Don’t be afraid to get right into it! It doesn’t have to be perfect, consistency is the key to a good tea journal. The more entries you write, the more you will learn about yourself and the teas you drink! 

6. Adjust 

If you find that you write less about a certain category that you chose, no problem! This is your journal, simply adjust the categories and layout to your tastes (haha… see what I did there?). 

Types of tea journals ideas

Daily pages to record the teas you drink with tasting notes

A daily record tea journal is pretty self-explanatory: you record your daily tea-drinking habits, and maybe throw a blurb or two about your day in there. Simply noting the type, taste, and smell of the tea and any daily food pairings is a good start.  If you want to improve your teamaking, though, be sure to keep track of how you brew your tea. Note the temperature, steeping time, amount of tea used, tools used, and brewing style (Western vs. Eastern). A daily record journal is a good option for those who aren’t quite sure what type of journal they’d like to keep, there’s a lot of wiggle room and much to learn. 

🍵 Related: Best Tasting Green Tea For Beginners

Tea food pairing Journal

A tea food pairing journal is great for those who love a good combo (I’m talking to you, wine and cheese fanatics!). It’s also a wonderful way to record your favorite recipes and the perfect tea to compliment them. Some things to note would be the similar and different qualities of the food and tea, as well as how they complement or don’t compliment, each other. Paying attention to the different flavors in the food and tea will also help you train your palate. 

Tea wishlist and collection journal

A tea wishlist and collection journal is almost like a tea bucket list. You might start the journal with a list of all the teas you’d like to try on the first page, and all the teas you’ve already tried on the last page. Then you can fill in the middle pages with new teas you’ve tried and note their qualities (pro tip: save the packet/label of the tea to tape into the pages like a scrapbook!). Some good things to note in this type of journal would be the flavor, brand, price, and place where you bought the tea. 

Wellness tea bullet journal

A wellness tea journal can be about teas specifically marketed for wellness (think herbal remedies) or about your own wellness in relation to the tea you drink, or a happy combo of both. Try noting the emotions you feel when drinking a certain type of tea, the mood you’re in that day and if the tea had a positive or negative impact on it, and even the positive physical sensations it may give (relieving a headache, stomach ache, nausea, etc.). You could even try having a small meditation session while you drink the tea, then note how you felt before vs. after

Sample entry example

Let’s say I wanted to start a tea food pairing journal, this is an example of how I’d set up my categories and entry: 

Date: 03/05/2022                              Tea: Bigelow brand Salted Caramel Black Tea

Food pairing: Buttered Popcorn

Complimentary tastes: sweet and salty, crunchy vs. a smooth, surprisingly sweet black tea

Non-Complimentary tastes: none to note 

I was surprised to see this combo actually work well together, the combination of the sweet and smooth black tea with the salty popcorn was heavenly! I might even pick up some caramel-covered popcorn to complement the tea even more. This tea is definitely a dessert tea, it could probably be paired just as well with a coffee cake, apple scones, cinnamon rolls, or even caramel apples. It would be good to buy some in the autumn to pair with all those spiced baked goodies. I’m going to make a note to ask my mom for grandma’s apple pie recipe, which would be PERFECT with this tea. 

(insert grandma’s pie recipe here) 

What is the Tea Aroma Wheel?

A tea flavor wheel is a tool for figuring out the different tastes in tea, this could be very useful to have in your journal. A quick Google search of “Tea flavor Wheel” might send a new tea lover reeling, but have no fear! 

Tea flavor wheels are simply a tool to help you identify the different notes of flavor in tea, it’s similar to wine or coffee tasting. They divide flavors into simple categories like spiced, sweet, nutty, earthy, fruity, etc., in the middle of the wheel, and then break them down into smaller categories at the outer edges. This helps you identify the more hidden, subtle flavors of tea. Try asking yourself the next time you drink spiced tea: which spice am I actually tasting? Then see if you can figure it out before checking the package or using a flavor wheel.

How to start journal a tea journal

Why Should I Keep a Tea Journal?

1. It will train your palate.

I know palate training sounds intimidating, but I promise it’s not as complicated as it sounds. You don’t have to be a world-renowned chef to taste the complexities of food and drinks, the art in it is simply about paying attention (something we could all use a little more of in the world of 8-second attention spans). Training your palate helps you to identify what makes you fall in love with certain teas, and what makes you turn your nose up at others. Keeping a tea flavor wheel in your journal will certainly help with this. 

2. It will help you track changing tastes.

We all have changing taste buds. I’m sure you don’t have all the same favorite foods now as you did when you were a kid, the same goes for tea. You might wake up one day and decide that English breakfast tea just doesn’t bring you the same satisfactory sip anymore, and that’s okay! Your tea journal can be a way to look back fondly on the teas you used to be obsessed with, while also looking forward to new flavors to try. 

3. It will improve your brewing techniques.

The more that you taste the tea you’ve brewed yourself, the more you will start to notice a pattern in the way it tastes and why. Maybe you left it to brew for too long and you notice more bitterness, or you brew it for less than the recommended time and notice it tastes weak. Different types of teas require different brewing techniques to make the “best” cup of tea (according to most people, anyway). Using your journal to keep track of how you brew your tea is a great way to start improving your tea-brewing skills. Keep track of things like water temperature, filtered vs. tap water, and brew time. 

4. It will help you assess quality and value.

Your journal will help you start to recognize what makes a great tea from one that’s just so-so. I’m a firm believer that any tea can taste wonderful when brewed correctly, but there are certain qualities that vary by brand and location that just can’t be ignored. Take jasmine tea, for example, some cheaper brands use jasmine extract instead of real jasmine flower petals. And let me tell you, I didn’t think there’d be much of a difference between the two until I tried tea with real jasmine petals in it. My mind was blown! Much like palate training, quality assessment can seem overwhelming at first. Keep in mind that the more teas you try, the more of a difference you will notice.

Where to get a tea tasting journal?

Order on amazon

Amazon has a wide range of tea journals ranging from tea-themed composition notebooks to detailed tea tasting journals with pre-selected categories; some even take on the form of a daily devotional journal with tea-related or spiritual quotes on the pages. This tea tasting journal has pre-selected categories, a rating system, and a place to write your own notes, and it even comes with a flavor wheel! 

You can easily find printable tea journals on Etsy for quite cheap. This one is much like the amazon version, with pre-selected categories and a flavor wheel, but you can print as many pages as you need right from home. 

And if you’re a tech-savvy, do-it-yourself type, creating your own template to print at home is a great way to customize your journal. This way, you can draft your page in GoogleDocs or Microsoft Word using any category you’d like to note and any type of journal you’d like to create. Get creative with fonts, formatting, and images! And best of all, this option is free (mostly, unless your journal is 100 pages long and uses up all the printer ink).  

DIY your own tea tasting journal

If you want to customize your journal but don’t want to spend hours printing out page by page, there are plenty of blank-lined notebooks and journals that will do the trick. All the customizing is in your hands, you can even choose a blank, unlined sketchbook to have even more creative freedom. Break up the page however you’d like, add different categories as you see fit, and throw in different fonts, drawings, and stickers; the possibilities are endless! 

At your local stationary store

A stationary store is a good place to look if you’d rather shop in person than online, or if you love to shop local. Barnes & Noble has a wide variety of tea journals and regular old journals alike, and you might even find some interesting books on tea or cookbooks for food pairings while you’re at it! 

Final Thoughts: You Need A Tea Journal

Whether you’re new to the tea world or as seasoned as a cup of chai, you NEED a tea journal. No matter what kind of tea journal it is, the value of knowing more about tea goes beyond preparing a good cup for a friend or loved one. Keeping a journal helps us feel a little more grounded in an ever-hectic world, and tea is also very grounding in nature. Combining the two was probably the best idea someone has ever had. I’m not saying that a tea journal will replace your therapist, but I have heard it said that a warm cup of tea is like the warmth of a friend. 

And not only is it a stress reliever, but it can primarily help you hone in on your tea skills and knowledge! Whether you want to improve your brewing techniques, palate, or breadth of expertise on tea types, a tea journal is the way to go. It’s the best way for tea lovers, new and old to reflect and improve. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start journaling!

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