Quality assurance is commonly described as a process to prevent mistakes or fix defects. From this perspective, QA is about defense, ensuring some set minimal threshold of quality. But, at Quince and Apple, we've developed a Quality Assurance program that is fundamentally about driving continuous improvement and making even great things always better. The work our QA team is doing to source a new tea for our Tart Cherry and White Tea preserve is a case in point.
Fine teas are like wines, with each vintage showing different flavor and aroma profiles based on the terrior and growing conditions of that year's season. Every so often, we need to bring in a new tea when our supply of a previous year's vintage runs out. Right now, our Quality Assurance team is taking this opportunity to deepen our knowledge of our ideal tea profile, with an eye to making this special preserve even better.
So far, we've tasted 27 different tea blends from 8 different tea growing regions and evaluated each using the International Tea Masters Association's flavor wheel in an effort to more perfectly define what our ideal tea blend is. We will use this knowledge not just for this sourcing project, but for future purchases as well, in an effort to make this special preserve even better.
Now, Tart Cherry and White Tea is already an award winning preserve, taking home a coveted Good Food Award this year, so it might not seem like the obvious choice candidate for improvement. But, that's where our QA team is a little different.
Instead of working to maintain a static quality standard, a sort of line in the sand, we are always striving to get closer and closer to that perfect jar, that perfect batch. We understand that perfection isn't truly attainable, but the constant drive to get as close as we can is what makes our QA team a true driver of value and continuous improvement.
And when you're cooking for people everyday and they invite your products to their table, you have a responsibility to try and make every batch better than the last.
When you acknowlege, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about. - Thomas Keller