Up to 300 cups a day

The Dallmayr tea expert: Rudolf Krapf

Just like our coffee, our tea range reflects the highest quality standards and an unconditional passion for detail. Wolfgang Wille, managing director of Alois Dallmayr Kaffee oHG, is a self-taught tea trader. In the Dallmayr tea manufactory, our employees weigh the individual varieties with great care by hand. Rudolf Krapf is chief buyer and has been responsible for the tea business for over two decades.

He began his career at Dallmayr in 1973 by completing an apprenticeship in wholesale and retail trade. Today, Rudolf Krapf is one of the most distinguished experts on tea and is in demand as a guest for radio and television interviews. As a renowned tea taster, he travels through the world’s tea gardens, sampling up to 300 cups a day and selecting the very finest varieties for the Dallmayr blends.

Observing the tea tasting process

It is said that early Chinese tea masters could tell whether a cup of tea had been made using water close to the river bank, from the middle of the river or from a well. Much, too, is demanded from our tea master, Rudolf Krapf.  

By carrying out regular tastings, he ensures that the quality and taste profile of Dallmayr’s 115 tea varieties are always top quality. Alongside a certain predisposition and talent for tasting, above all it is daily training that is crucial. Rudolf Krapf and his colleagues examine not only the individual Dallmayr varieties, but other tea offerings from around the world, always on the look out for something special.

Tea tasting

Tea tasting follows the same standardized procedure around the world. The tea samples are weighed, mixed with hot water and then judged using all the senses. Standardized tasting pots and cups make the work easier. In the end, it makes no difference whether the tea is tasted in Darjeeling or in Munich – the procedure is exactly the same.

According to English tradition, exactly 2.86 grams – the weight of an old English sixpence – are weighed out using hand-held scales for each sample.

150 ml of boiling water is poured onto each tea sample in a standardised pot and then covered with a lid. After exactly five minutes, the tea is poured into the sample cup.

While waiting for the tea to cool to about 45 degrees before sampling, the colour and texture of the dry and brewed tea leaves are scrutinised.

The aroma of tea is not completely released until boiling water has been poured over it. Before tasting, the damp, swollen tea leaves, known as infusions, are tested for their smell.

Tea is tasted with a standardized tasting spoon. Every Dallmayr tea taster has their own. Here, the rule of thumb is "sip, slurp, spit". Slurping is not only allowed, but is incredibly important: the tasters slurp the tea from the spoon with as much oxygen as possible. Then the tea is rolled around the tongue and palate. This brings out all the flavours: bitter, sweet, as well as different aromas such as citrus, fruit, nut or spice – everything that makes the individual tea what it is.

Finally, the taster spits out the tea. As with coffee and wine, spitting out the tea makes perfect sense: the professionals taste countless samples, often up to 300 cups per day. If they didn't spit out the tea, they would consume too much caffeine.