Tasting Tea

tea tasting trayPeople generally know what they love even though they cannot describe it.  Our job, as tea professionals, is to provide language to convey the complexities and nuances of tea. Even though all Assams are robust, they are not all malty.  Even though Darjeelings are mild, they are not all astringent.  When we taste teas professionally, we look at the distinct characteristics of the dry leaf, the look and aroma of the infused leaf, the appearance of the liquor and finally the taste. Here are some of the more interesting descriptions associated with tea:
  • Self-drinking:  A tea with sufficient good characteristics such as body, flavor, color and aroma that it can be enjoyed without blending it with other teas.
  • Thick:  A richly colored infusion.
  • Winey:  A desirable quality in some teas, particularly Darjeeling.
  • Toasty:  A desirable characteristic of fine Keemuns and other highly fired teas.
  • Astringency:  The quality of the tea's liquor that gives a bite or sharpness to the taste.
  • Biscuity:  Often associated with Assam teas and denotes a pleasant quality reminiscent of freshly baked bread.
  • Woody:  Associated with a sawdust taste, not pleasant, but not to be mistaken with woodsy which is a pleasant note associated with some white teas.
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