The (Non-Pretentious) Tea Tasting Guide If youâ€™re new to the world of tea, you may be overwhelmed by all of the adjectives used to describe a cup. Teas come in a wide variety of flavors. White teas like Silver Needle are light and smooth; Pu-erh tea is considered to have a deep, woody character.
The sensory exploration of taste focuses on subtleties that can be a bit hard to identify at first. You donâ€™t have to learn a whole new language to enjoy tea! Below, weâ€™ve compiled a glossary of tea tasting terms you might come across. It may come in handy when youâ€™re selecting your next favorite tea!
Acerbic: Sharp and severe
Acrid: Extremely bitter
Astringent: Sharp flavor that dries out the mouth (like the inside of an orange rind)
Bitter: Sharp and biting (like black coffee)
Body: Rich, thick sensation on the tongue (think â€œbuttery,â€ but only slightly)
Brisk: Refreshing and crisp
Buttery: Very rich and smooth. Not acrid, bitter, or sour
Character: Specific flavor that identifies a tea
Clean: Not bitter or astringent. Smooth
Crisp: Tastes fresh!
Dulcet: Sweet and honey-like
Earthy: Tastes woody (think beets without the sweet) Fine: Particularly good
Flat: Tastes old and stale
Floral: Bright and light. Tastes how a flower smells!
Flowery: See floral
Fruity: Has a natural sweetness
Full: Similar to body. Has a strong flavor and a heavy quality
Grassy: Tastes like chlorophyll! (Think dark leafy veg)
Green: A milder taste of chlorophyll. Only hints of grassiness
Heavy: Potent flavor
Light: Very mild flavor
Malty: Sweet, cereal-like flavor (think barley with a hint of molasses) Muscatel: A raisin-like sweetness (think muscat grapes! yum!)
Nose: Predominant smell and flavor character
Notes: Different layers of flavor
Nutty: Full-bodied and buttery flavor, usually reminiscent of chestnut
Pungent: A very strong combination of flavors (This is usually positive)
Rich: Full-bodied (See â€œfullâ€ or â€œbodyâ€ above for reference)