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Terminology Used in Tea- Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Terminology Used in Tea


Relative to Dry Tea Leaf


Blistered: with raised blisters on the surface due to firing at too high a temperature   initially. This characteristic has no connection with blister blight.

Bold: too large for the specified grade.

Choppy: subject to too much cutting in the dry condition.

Clean: free from dust, stalk, fiber etc.

Even: homogeneous in particle size and confirming to the grade specification.

Flaky: flat open leaf without twist and indicative of faulty withering, rolling or plucking, or a combination of these.

Grey: grey teas are produces by excessive handling and cutting in the sorting process.

Shotty or Grainy: small tightly twisted particles rather like grape-nuts, usually associated with pekoe grades. When applied to fannings the alternative term grainy is used.

High-Fired: fired at a high exhaust temperature but without burning. It is not regarded as an entirely derogatory characteristic.

Gone-Off: deteriorated usually on account of high moisture content conducive to moldiness.

Malty: a faint of aroma of malt which is a desirable feature associated with good firing in quality teas.

Tainted: contaminated with an extraneous flavor and aroma.


Relative to Infused Tea Leaf


Bright: used to describe color that is uniform and of reddish tinge.

Copperly: an especially desirable variant of the former.

Dull: the antithesis of bright in the sense defined.

Green: the result of under oxidation.

Mixed: containing leaf of diverse colors - red, green and dark brown; ascribable to uneven withering and fermentation.


Relative to Tea Liquor


Bakey: characteristic of an over-fired black tea in which too much moisture has been removed.

Biscuity: a pleasant aroma often used to describe quality Assams.

Brisk: lively on the palate with some degree of pungency; usually associated with a satisfactorily fired tea.

Bright: indicative of clarity and brightness of the liquor, this is generally a signature characteristic of quality tea.

Common: a plain, thin liquor that has no distinct flavor characteristics.

Dull: refers to the liquid's color, the opposite of bright. A dull tea produces a cloudy brew. May also denote lack of briskness.

Flat: lacking pungency and flavor, usually due to deterioration.

Full: describes a good combination of color and strength. May not indicate briskness but denotes a round, smooth mouth feel.

Hard: a pungent liquor related to greenness, accompanied by a harsh, bitter or rasping quality.

Harsh, Raw, Rasping: bitter, due to the presence of non-oxidized polyphenols; a common defect of under-wither teas.

Heavy: a thick, strong and darkly colored liquor with little "life" or briskness.

Light: liquor that lacks color and strength, often this tea will lack body and aroma as well.

Malty: a desirable quality commonly found in Assam teas.

Metallic: a sharp, coppery flavor found in some black teas.

Muscat: a flavor and aroma characteristic of fine Darjeelings, often associated with black currants.

Plain: lacking in the accepted desirable characteristics particularly pungency and quality.

Pungent: a bitter, harsh or rough characteristic that is felt along the gums rather than tasted on the tongue.

Quality: a general integration of desirable characteristics.

Round or Full: satisfactory in strength and color without harshness.

Smoky: a characteristic flavor and aroma of some Chinese teas, especially Lapsang Souchong. May also be found in other teas, in which case it is quite undesirable.

Smooth: similar to the preceding but less pronounced.

Soft: antithesis of brisk and indicating a badly fired tea.

Stale: faded aroma and a "dead" taste caused by excessive age and the subsequent loss of quality.

Thin: light liquor lacking any strong or desirable characteristics.

Toasty: describes the aroma of a fine Keemun and other highly fired teas.

Weedy: grassy or hay-like taste related to under-withering. May also refer to a woody taste. Green teas often have a distinct vegetal aroma and flavor.

Winy: relates to the aging of tea which normally does not enhance flavor. In a fine Keemun or Darjeeling, however, aging may bring out a mellow, pleasant characteristic.



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