Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chakabuki, tea tasting competition

How confident are you with your sense of taste?  Can you tell different teas by blind tasting?  I attended a chakabuki event this weekend.  Chakabuki is a competition or game of blind tea tasting.  The game originated in China.  It got popular in Japan about 700 years ago.

You blind-taste 5 different kinds of tea and tell what they are.  You repeat it 5 times.  We tally the points and whoever got the most correct answers after 5 rounds wins.  (We actually did 4 rounds only, instead of 5.)  In this game, we had sencha, deep-steamed sencha, gyokuro, kabusecha and roasted tamaryokucha.

One of the most difficult parts is that you don’t taste and compare all five at once before answering.  You've got to give the answer one at each tea.  For example, you have to answer right after you taste the first tea even if you haven’t tasted the other four yet.   
Another is the tea preparing method.  In this game, all tea was brewed with boiling water for one minute, which is not ordinary way of preparing.  The tastes differ from what you usually have at home.  Have you ever tasted gyokuro brewed with boiling water? 

At the end of the contest, the result was announced.  You know what?  I got the best score among all 12 contestants and won the first prize!  Yes!!  Is it because of my talent or was I just lucky?  I hope I did not spend all the luck for my whole life, hahaha.

Small cups are used

You can take a memo and check how you did on each round.

Before the game starts, you have a quick chance to observe dry leaves.  Each tea is passed around on a tray one by one, and you don’t see the 5 at one time.

In the game, tea is served in random orders and you smell and taste it.

You have five chips with symbols, which represent each tea.

You drop one of the chips for your answer into the ballot box.  After answering, the next tea is served.


  1. Hey,congratulations,Kohei!This must have been a really difficult task to do,wow!

  2. Lionel-san, Arigato! (Thanks!)

  3. Thanks, Adriano-san. It's difficult but funヽ(^。^)ノ

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