If you’re like me,
you’ve been trying many different kinds of teas for some time now. At first, differentiating between them may
have been as simple as “black tea, green tea, hibiscus flavor, etc...” As I’ve become more educated and so much more
discerning, it’s been more challenging to describe tea. Thankfully, there is actually a tea language
so to speak, or rather, the tea tasters’ terminology. Here are a few basics to help you navigate
the tea world. This abbreviated list,
far from complete, has been compiled from a several different sources including
The Tea Association of the USA.
Aroma - smell or fragrance.
Astringency - drying sensation in mouth caused by tannins
in the tea.
Bakey - unpleasant taste due to over-fired tea leaves
during drying process.
Biscuity - pleasant baked aroma due to skillfully fired
tea leaves during drying process.
Body - strength and fullness of flavor, ranging from
wispy, light, medium or full.
strong and bitter aftertaste.
Bright - sparkling liquor color and vibrant fresh
Brisk - lively and pleasant
taste, as opposed to flat or soft.
Character - attribute of the tea based on place of origin.
Clean - free of fiber, dust and any extraneous matter and free of character.
Coppery - the color of copper, indicating a good quality tea liquor.
Earthy - aroma or flavor of
grass or soil.
Grassy - raw, hay-like flavor.
Finish - flavors that linger
in the mouth.
Flat - tea lacking astringency or briskness.
Full-bodied - tea
rich in flavor, intense in aroma, and pleasant in color.
Hard - a
strong and astringent tea.
Liquor - brewed tea liquid.
Malty - sweet barley aroma or flavor found in certain
Muscatel - grape or fruit flavor found in certain
Pungent - astringent with a good mix of briskness,
brightness, and strength.
Smooth - tea without astringency that
is full-bodied and
Soft - smooth and subdued flavor.
aroma or flavor found in Lapsang Souchong teas.
Wondering what to do with your tea terminology? You might consider keeping a tea journal to document your experiences. It's a great way to broaden your knowledge and to be able to compare different teas without having them side-by-side. Her's a template my sister and I like to use. It's available for your use at this link: Tea Dreams Tasting Template.
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Sara and Andrea