White Tea Harvesting Harvesting white tea. Photo courtesy of Rishi Tea.





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August 2005
Updated January 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages


Information About Tea: Essential Tea Facts

Page 4: Tea Terminology


This is Page 4 of a 4-page article. Click the black links below to view the other pages.


Flavor and Aroma Terminology

Bakey: An unpleasant taste caused by firing leaf at too high a temperature. Not as strong a flavor as burnt.

Biscuity: A pleasant characteristic, often associated with Assam teas.  See also Malty.

Bite: The astringent pucker from tannins that is characteristic of black tea.

Body: The strength of the liquor combined with its viscosity (weight on the tongue). Body may be full, light, etc.

Brassy: An unpleasant tang caused by under-withering.

Bright: A clean, crisp, sparkling attribute characteristic of all fine teas. The opposite of dull.

Brisk: Lively, not flat.

Complex: The harmonious melange of different flavors characteristic of the very finest teas.

Dull: Muddy-looking liquor, the opposite of bright; flat-tasting.

Flat: Soft, flabby-bodied tea lacking bite and briskness.

Fruity: A piquant quality characteristic of good Oolongs, some Keemuns. Not meant to be descriptive of fruit teas.

Gone Off: Tea that’s been spoiled by improper storage or packing, is stale, or is simply past its prime.

Malty: A subtle underlying flavour often characteristic of Assam.

Peak: The high point of the tasting experience when, after the liquor has entered the mouth, its body, flavour and astringency make themselves fully felt. Green and Oolong teas do not peak: their qualities are fully revealed immediately.

Pointy: A liquor is said to have point if it shows a property, e.g., briskness or fine fragrance.

Pungent: Astringent. This is what gives a tea its bite.

Stewed or Stewy: A poorly fired tea that gives soft liquor without point. This is also descriptive of tea that has been brewed too long and has become bitter.

Tarry: A smoky flavor characteristic of Lapsang Souchong.

Thin: Lacking body and/or color.

Weedy: A pejorative term when descriptive of thin, cabbagey black teas. However, green teas with vegetal aromas and flavors may be called weedy in positive terms, which include simple herbaceousness to scents of new-mown hay.

Winey: A positive term when descriptive of a mellow quality that fine Darjeelings or Keemuns acquire when aged six months to a year or more. Also can be used pejoratively to describe over-fermented tea.

Glossary of Tea Terms
The History of Tea
Pairing Tea With Food

Brush Up On Your Tea Etiquette

Serendipitea Tea Companion Book of Green Tea
Serendipitea: A Guide to the Varieties, Origins, and Rituals of Tea, by Tomislav Podreka. Investigate how tea has pleased the world for 5,000 years. Click here for more information.

The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide, by Jane Pettibrew. This authoritative guide to understanding, purchasing and serving the world’s finest teas is beautifully illustrated with full-color photographs of a variety of tea leaves and herbs, as well as their countries of origin. Click here for more information.

The Book of Green Tea, by Diana Rosen. All there is to know about green tea: where it grows, how it’s processed, its history and lore, how to drink and cook with it, and how to use it for beauty and health purposes. Click here for more information.

Tea Is Served

Travel Mug Personal Tea Infuser Set Stainless Steel Tea Kettle

Travel Mug with Tea Infuser: Enjoy fresh brewed tea on the go. Simply put loose tea in filter basket and add hot water. Click here for more information.

Personal Tea Infuser Set: It’s all about the flavor—one cup at a time. Click here for more information. Stainless Steel Tea Kettle: Calphalon construction meets museum-quality design in this modern tea kettle. Click here for more information.



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