Tea Glossary

Tea Glossary

Tea Tasting Terms

The world of tea could not manage without Tea Tasters (sometimes referred to as Tea Blenders). They make significant contributions throughout the production process of tea and right up until marketing. Both the flavour and the body of the tea are important as is the appearance of the leaves both before and after brewing; both are imperative in helping to define the quality.

Taste is a combination of several complex sensations. It mainly involves two of our sensory systems olfactory receptors (the nose) and gustatory receptors (the tongue).

Taste is intimately linked to our experiences and our eating habits, it enables us to perceive consciously or not the entire range of flavours while creating direct links between our past and present. Taste is not an infallible sense as our perceptions can change according to the context and environment and we are also directed by our own library or reference (what we are familiar with) for tastes.

Tea Notes

The smells released by tea are not perceptible at the same time or in the same way. Their degree of volatility changes their persistence and tells us how the taste of tea evolves

Head Notes

Volatile notes that are often fleeting and us our first impression of the taste of a tea. We perceive them immediately

Body Notes

The notes we perceive when the liquid is in our moth. They structure the liquid and give it its character. Powerful and stable they are responsible for the overall impression we have of a tea.

Tail Notes

Remain in the mouth and linger in aromas after the liquid is swallowed

However you do not have to be a professional tea taster to try and identify the various flavours present in your own home brewed tea. With experience, you'll notice that the depth of taste expands. Probably the most critical aspect of tasting is simply does it taste good to you? Ultimately, unless you are looking to work for a Tea Company, the goal of tasting is to find the ideal cup to fit your palate. So scroll through glossary below and have some fun with trying to express what the taste of your tea is like.


Ample: Round texture, generous liquid quiet long in the mouth.

Aromatic: Rich in aroma, very fragment

Astringent: Pungent, hard or full bodied character creates a drying feeling in the mouth

Biting: Describes a feeling of astringency that is acidic and strong

Body: Describes a texture that has presence and coats the mouth

Bold: Possessing a well-defined, instantly discernible character

Brisk: Possessing a great liveliness with a touch of acidity

Complex: Very rich in aromas with many subtle qualities

Delicate: Light and refined

Fresh: A liquid that gives a feel of freshness and can be a little acidic

Full: Quality of a liquid that fills the mouth and has persistence

Full-bodied: Possessing body

Generous: Supported by a rich aromatic intensity

Heady: Rich and complex

Heavy: Fragrance that is felt in the back of the mouth and feels dense

Intense: Strong power presence

Light: Supple and without body

Long: With a long finish and quality of a well structured liquid

Mild: Silky supple velvety not astringent and sometimes associated with sweet

Opulent: Rich round heady fragrance

Powerful: With a lot of strength and full-bodied

Pungent: Creating a feeling of astringency that is harsh and coarse

Raw: Slightly acidic liquid

Refined: Possessing delicacy and subtlety

Robust: A strong constitution with a lot of body

Rough: A liquid that is too astringent and is unpleasant

Round: Describes a supple silk slightly tannic liquid that fills the mouth

Runny: A supple smooth liquid that has little body

Sharp: Brisk slight acidic character

Short: Possessing aromas that fade quickly

Silky: The liquid has a supple texture

Smooth: Light texture without roughness

Structured: Well–structured tannic liquid, full and strong, full bodied but not coarse or

Subtle: Refined yet complex

Sustained: An aroma that has a persisting presence

Tannic: Describes a liquid that has a pleasant feeling of astringency

Velvety: Thick and pleasantly heavy

Vigorous: Slightly acidic with no softness

Warm: Round comforting liquid with no acidity

Watery: With a texture like water

Young: Describes a rather green character immature sometimes a little acidic