20 TEA TASTING TERMS – DESCRIBE THE FLAVOUR OF YOUR TEA
Tea is our favorite beverage, we all love tea. But what terms would you use to define your favorite drink? Sweet, spicy, bitter will not be enough.
Like terms for describing wine, there are tea tasting terms for revealing flavors and nuances of tea.
Following are 20 tea tasting terms you can use to describe the taste of your tea.
1) Astringency : A sensation of drying felt throughout the mouth, similar to what mixologists refer to as “pull” (an essential quality in a great cocktail), this sensation is refreshing and satisfying, thirst-quenching, and stimulating all at the same time.
2) Baked or bakey : An overly fired leaf, not a positive toasty or smoky characteristic; a negative dry, overcooked taste.
3) Biscuity : An aromatic term used most frequently with black tea made from Assam bush, this is a positive attribute that indicates proper manufacture and the presence of the signature malty taste that Assam bush teas should possess.
4) Bright : Indicates a clean, clear style that refreshes the palate; the opposite term is muddy.
5) Brisk : Having an appropriate amount of astringency; a palate-stimulating infusion that is not heavy and will readily accept the addition of dairy (if desired). Brisk teas are of necessity well made. The opposite term is soft.
6) Clean – Indicates purity of flavor and an absence of any off-tastes; the opposite term is harsh.
7) Coppery : Specific to black tea, most commonly with orthodox leaf, a positive indicator of good pigmentation and general high-quality manufacture.
8) Cream, creamy, or creaming : Refers to the amino acid precipitate that forms when steeped hot tea cools. Some teas cream more readily than others; creaming is an important factor in the marketing of liquid RTD (Ready-to-Drink) tea beverages.
9) Earthy : A positive attribute in several premium varieties of green, oolong, and Pu-erh teas; however, the term can also negatively indicate improper storage.
10) Fruity or stone fruit : A negative term about black tea, as it indicates improper oxidation or firing; stone fruit is the customary positive descriptor for the aromatic quality of standard Formosa oolongs, as a familiar and engagingly enticing attribute.
11) Harsh : Generally negative indicates hurried manufacture or poor-quality leaf; also sometimes used as the description for tea that has bolted during steeping; the opposite term is clean.
12) Light : The most minimal heft of body.
13) Muddy : Showing an excess of particulate in the infusion; a generally negative opacity that tends to dullness; may also refer to the cult-brewing-style “tea latte” in which CTC tea is brewed “hard” with steam in an espresso machine.
14) Soft : Smooth, lush, and subsequently often (but not necessarily) timid in flavor; not a negative term; the opposite term is brisk.
15) Brassy : A strong taste, usually a little bitter. This happens when leaves for processing black tea have not been withered long enough.
16) Flowery : Flowery tea has a hint of floral sweetness, like chamomile, jasmine, rose, etc.
17) Malty : A malty flavor tastes like steamed green vegetables, with a touch of honey and citrus—a desirable characteristic.
18) Mellow : Mellow tea is smooth and pleasant on the palate
19) Smoky : A smoky flavor has a touch of smoke or tar. Lapsang souchong, for example, is made by burning pine logs and branches to create heat for the drying process, giving the tea a distinctive smoky taste.
20) Vegetal : A desirable characteristic for green teas, a vegetal taste is grassy or similar to steamed asparagus.