Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tea Tasting Descriptions

I was running out of adjectives to describe the way certain teas taste until I came across this brillant book called "Tea: The Drink That Changed the World." In this book, author Laura C. Martin lists some terms that are used to describe the taste of teas. I thought this list of adjectives was perfect to use in my tea evaluations. Since some of you may not have this lovely book in your collection, I thought I would post this list to help you better understand my tea tasting descriptions.

"Like terms for describing wine, those for revealing the subtle flavors and nuances of tea may be a little vague until you have a lot of tea-tasting experience.


Aroma - This term refers to the way brewed tea smells.

Body - How the liquid feels on the tongue. This could be wispy, light, medium, or full. A full-bodied black tea such as Keemun lingers on the tongue, while a delicate white such as Silver Needles is wispy, seeming to evaporate immediately.

Brassy - A strong taste, usually a little bitter. This happens when leaves for processing black tea have not been withered long enough.

Burnt - Burnt tea tastes a little like burnt toast. Cause by overfiring, this is not a desirable characterist.

Coarse - Coarse tea has a decidedly acidic taste, also a little bitter.

Crisp - Disappears quickly on the tongue; a desirable quality.

Earthy - An earthy taste is a little moldy, which may be caused by improper firing.

Flowery - Flowery tea has a hint of floral sweetness, like chamomile.

Malty - A malty flavor tastes like steamed green vegetables, with a touch of honey and cirus - a desirable characteristic.

Mellow - Mellow tea is smooth and pleasant on the palate.

Muscatel - Tastes like the Muscat grape. This term is often associated with Darjeeling teas.

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 the heat for the drying process, giving the tea a distinctive smoky taste.

Sweet - A sweet taste is a pleasant, often smooth and fruity, flavor.

Vegetal - A desirable characteristic for green teas, a vegetal taste is grassy or similar to steamed asparagus."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll have to study up on the terms. I think I have been using terms somewhat differently than those you described. Hhhmmm... time to expand my tea vocabulary.