Tea Culture - Tasting and Evaluation


Tasting and Evaluation


Tea Evaluation

Here are general thoughts to ponder when evaluating tea.


Dry Leaf – Examine the dry leaf for shape, consistency, color, size and fragrance.  Touch a small amount to determine the “feel.”  


Infused Leaf – Smell the aroma of the wet leaf after the liquor is poured off.  Note the expanded shape of the leaf.  


Tea Liquor – Examine the color of the liquor in a white cup.  This is the best indication of the degree of leaf oxidation. Note the aroma of the liquor. Taste the flavor and experience the mouth feel.  Slurping is encouraged!  The aeration will help unfold subtle flavors that may otherwise go unnoticed.



Tea Tasting Terms

A handy list of terms used when describing the taste of tea.


Aroma: The scent that the steeped leaf and liquor releases, also known as the nose.


Astringency: A drying sensation in the mouth.


Bite: A tea liquor character that is described as very brisk and "alive". A desirable trait.


Body: Denotes the strength and viscosity of the steeped tea liquor.


Brassy:  A metallic taste left in the mouth.


Bright: Refers to the look of the liquor: a sparkling quality


Brisk: The lively character of a tea


Complex: Refers to the multiple dimensions of the tea flavor


Flat: A tea that lacks a lively character


Harsh: A bitter taste that remains on the palate


Malty: A malt taste and feel that remains on the palate.


Muscatel: a sweet wine flavor


Nose: The aroma of the tea and its liquor


Pungent: A positive astringency without bitterness


Self-drinking: A tea that can be enjoyed without the addition of milk or sugar; also refers to an unblended tea from a single garden worthy of drinking on it’s own merit


Smooth: A tea that carries a well-rounded taste and feel


Thin: A tea with little body, strength or character

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