Tea Tasting Terminology

Term Describing DRY LEAF

 

Attractive

Well made. Uniform in colour, size and texture

Black / Blackish

Tea which has been allowed to ferment as opposed to green tea: also describes colour

 

Blister

Blistering of leaf caused by too rapid removal of moisture

 

Bloom

Sheen or luster

 

Bold

Pieces of leaf that are too big for a grade

 

Broken

Broken by rolling or passing through a cutter

 

Bold Broken

Broken by rolling or passing through a cutter

Brown

Describes colour

 

Case Hardening

Applies mainly to orthodox teas. When outside casing becomes fully fired and prevents core from losing moisture. Bold grape-nutty CTCs are also susceptible to case-hardening

 

Chesty

Resinous smell / taste caused by immature or inferior panels or battens

 

Cheesy

Smell / taint caused by inferior glue of panels

 

Choppy

Chopped in a breaker mill or cutter rather than in the roller

 

Chunky

Brokens which are large. A desirable feature when applied to tip

 

Clean

Evenly sorted grade free from quantities of other grades, Stalk and Fibre

 

Creepy

Crimped appearance

 

Curly

Opposite to Wiry

 

Cut

Synonymous with Choppy

 

Common

Plain

Dis-coloured Leaf

(self-explanatory)

Dull

Lacking bloom DULL TIP opposed to bright

Dusty

Leaf tea containing smaller particles

Even

Consisting of pieces of roughly equal size

Fibrous

Presence of excessive fibre

 

Flaky

Flat, Open, Poorly made tea

 

Flat

Open and Flaky

Golden Tip

Denotes Colour of Tip

Grainy

Well-made Hard Leaf

Grape-nutty

Leaf Balled in the process of manufacture

Grey

Colour of leaf

 

Gritty

Leaf which feels hard to the touch

 

Hairy

Thin Fibre. Similar to Whiskery

 

Irregular

Uneven whole leaf grades

 

Keep

Well-manufactured tea with good keeping properties

 

Knobbly

Round Knobbly Souchong grades

Large

Large for market requirements

Leafy

Tea containing larger leaves than normal coupled with `useful', denotes a size in demand

Make

Good Style

Milled

Put through cutter or mill

Mixed

Exaggerated form of unevenness

Mushy

Tea that has been packed with a high moisture content

Neat

Good leaf of even appearance

Nose

Smell of the dry Leaf

Open

Opposed to twisted or rolled

Pale Tip

(self-explanatory)

Powdery

very fine light dust, the particles of which tend to cohere

Pulverised

dusts containing milled or pulverised fibre

Ragged

rough, shaggy and uneven

Red

(self-explanatory)

Rough

Irregular and Not well made

Sandy

Containing Sand

Shelly

Shell-like Appearance

Shotty

Well-made Souchong

Silvery Tip

(self-explanatory)

Small

Small size than normal

Spongy

Flat Flaky

Stalky

Excessive Stalk

Stylish

Superior Appearance

Tippy

Generous Tip

 

Twist

Imparted during Rolling

Uneven

Containing Uneven pieces

Useful

Possessing good Blending qualities

Well-made

Uniform in colour, size and texture

Well-Twisted

(self-explanatory)

Whiskery

Fine Hairy Fibre (see also hairy)

Wild

End season teas having Reddish Appearance

Wiry

Stylish, Well-twisted, Thin, Long Whole leaf

Term Describing INFUSED LEAF

Aroma

Smell or scent denoting 'inherent character' usually in tea grown at high altitudes

Biscuity

A Pleasant aroma often in well-fired Assam

Black Currant

Aroma emitted by black currant bushes; noticed in some Darjeelings

Bright

lively as opposed to dull

Coppery

(Self-explanatory) denotes good tea

Dull

opposed to bright

Dark

A dark or dull colour that usually indicates poorer leaf quality

Even

uniform colour

Green

Generally undesirable

Irregular

Mixed

Mixed or Uneven

Leaf of varying colour

Tarry

A smoky aroma unless a Lapsang Souchong tea which should not be there

Term Describing LIQUORS

Autumnal

(Self-explanatory)

Baggy

Taint from Hessian or Sacking

Bakey

Caused by High Temperature during Firing

Biscutty

Pleasant Characteristic

Bitter

An unpleasant taste associated with raw teas

 

Body

A Liquor having both Fullness and Strength as opposed to being Thin

 

Bouquet

Superlative Flavor

 

Brassy

Metallic Taste

Bright

Opposed to Dull

Brisk

Opposed to Flat or Soft

Burn

Fully Fired

Burnt

Subjected to extremely High Temperature

Character

Desirable quality. Also permits recognition of Origin

Clean

Lacking in character but No Unpleasant taint or taste

Coarse

Unpleasant taste

Cold Weather

Tea produces after monsoons

Colour

(Self-explanatory)

Coloury

Depth of Colour

Common

A very Plain, Light and Thin Liquor with no distinct flavour

Contamination

Foreign Taste

Creamy

A natural precipitate obtained as the liquor cools down

 

Dry

Slightly High-fired

 

Dull

Neither clear or bright, nor lively or brisk

 

Earthy

Taste due to storage under damp conditions

Empty

Lacking fullness and substance

Fine

Exceptional quality and flavour

Flat

Lifeless. Lacking briskness

Flavoury

(Self-explanatory)

Fruity

Unpleasant Overripe taste

Full

A good combination of Colour, Strength and Substance

Fully Fired

Slightly over-fired

Geranium

Reminiscent of aroma of geranium found in certain Darjeelings

 

Gone off

Past its time

 

Golden

(Self-explanatory)

 

Grassy

Teas without physical or chemical wither

Green/Greenish

Immature ‘raw’ character due to under fermenting and under withering during manufacture

Hard

Penetrating and Desirable strength

Harshness

Raw characteristics

Heavy

Thick Without briskness

High-fired

(Self-explanatory)

Lacking

Clean tasting without obvious characteristics

Light

Lacking depth of colour.

Malty

Desirable character

Mellow

Well matured. Opposed to raw.

Metallic

Bitter metallic taste.

Minty

Mint-like flavor.

Mouldy

Gone off through age or damaged by water.

Muddy

A dull, Opaque Liquor

Muscatel

Desirable character in Darjeeling teas. A grapey taste, reminiscent of vineyards

Mushy

Flat. Soggy.

Musty

A suspicion of Mold

New

Not having had sufficient time to mellow

Nose

Aroma

Out of Condition

(Self-explanatory)

Old

(see flat)

Pale

Lacking Colour except in GREEN teas where liquors should be Pale

Papery

Paper taint

Peachy

Flavor of certain fine Darjeelings

 

Pinky

Brighter more pink and delicate then coloury

 

Plain

A liquor that is ‘clean’ but lacking in desirable characteristics

Point

Most Desirable Brightness and Acidity

Pointy

Having good ‘Point’

Pre - Autumnal

(Self-explanatory)

Pungent

Ideal combination of briskness, brightness, strength and flavor

Quality

Essential characteristics of good tea

Rains/Rainy

North Indian teas produces during monsoons

 

Raspberry

Flavor akin to Raspberry

Rasping

A very coarse and harsh liquor

Raw

Immature

Red

(Self-explanatory)

 

Rich

Mellow liquor abundant in quality and thickness

 

Round

Full smooth liquor

 

Scorched

Associated with dryness

Self-drinking

Palatable in itself not requiring blending

 

Slatey

Describes colour

 

Smoky

(Self-explanatory)

 

Soggy

Heavy Dull liquor

 

Soft

Opposite of Brisk

 

Spicy

Character suggestive to Spice

 

Stale

(Self-explanatory)

 

Stewed /Stewy

Incorrectly fired

 

Strength/Strong

Substance in cup

 

Sweaty

Unpleasant taste

 

Taint

Foreign Characteristic

 

Thick

Opposed to Thin

 

Thin

Lacking Body

 

Tinny

(Self-explanatory)

 

Tired

Flat through Age

 

Toasty

Caused by Over Firing

 

Unsound

Tainted or lacking keeping properties

 

Weathery

Unpleasant taste on some rains teas

 

Wild

Autumnal teas past their prime

 

Woody

Sawdust-like character

 

Winey

Over Fermented under Sterile condition

 

Weedy

Thin. Cabbagy. A grassy or hay taste.

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