For hundreds of years, Taiwan has been famous for its various specialty teas. The sensory features of these teas have been well specialized and standardized through sensory evaluations performed by tea experts in yearly competitions throughout history. However, the question arises of whether young Taiwanese consumers, whose dietary behaviors have become Westernized, agree with the conventional sensory standards and association/postprandial concepts in the traditional tea market of Taiwan. To study young Taiwanese consumers' ideas towards traditional specialty teas, this research recruited 109 respondents, younger than the age of 30, to taste seven Taiwanese specialty tea infusions of various degrees of fermentation, and their opinions were gathered by questionnaires composed of check-all-that-apply (CATA) questions and hedonic scales. Through statistical analyses, we found that several tea sensory attributes which were emphasized in experts' descriptive sensory evaluations were not appreciated by the young Taiwanese people. Instead, tea aroma and late sweetness/palatable/smooth/refreshing mouthfeels were the most important sensory attributes contributing to their tea preference. Overall, there would generally be no problem in serving young Taiwanese consumers lightly-fermented oolong teas that generate the highest digestive and lowest heartburn postprandial perceptions.
Keywords: CATA; association attributes; degrees of fermentation; postprandial perception attributes; sensory attributes; teas (Camellia sinensis).