Never trust your boss! Tea tasting tales

I started in tea as a wide eyed, naïve and trusting trainee.  We would spend hours tasting alongside the senior tasters absorbing every morsel of wisdom they had to offer.  One day we were summoned to taste the Malawi auction samples, teas that would be sold the following week. The sample packets were turned upside down so we couldn’t tell which gardens we were tasting.  This was sometimes done to demonstrate to trainees the dangers of our unconscious bias - evaluating a cup on its reputation not its actual taste. 

6 cups into the counter of 50, our mentor paused and said, “Hmmm, I am pretty sure that is one of the Eastern Produce factories.  In fact, I wouldn’t mind betting it is from the Thyolo region.”  We dove back in for a second slurp to reveal the clue that was eluding us.  “Makwasa!”, he exclaimed, “Yes I can picture the factory gates now”.  He nodded to me to turn over the packet and sure enough, printed in biro within the ink-stamped label was the name “Makwasa”.  If we had held our boss with great respect before, we were now in awe.  What a taster!  It was masterful.

Later that day, our tasting guru called across the office, “Has anyone seen my glasses?”  The secretary piped up without looking up from her screen, “You left them on the tasting counter this morning when you were inspecting all those Malawi packets…”