If you are an avid tea lover, then there are some tea terms which you absolutely must have in your vocabulary. Understanding them can help you understand the nature and flavor of the tea. 


Acidic:  A sour and tart taste to the tea. 

Aroma: The odor of the tea. A complex aroma is often described as a bouquet.  

Astringent: A bold, pungent sensation due to the tannins in the tea that linger on the tongue.  

Baggy: An undesirable taint sometimes found in inferior teas which have been  stored in sacks.

Bakey: Another unpleasant characteristic noticeable in the liquors of teas which were heated to higher temperatures than mandated during processing.

Biscuity: A strong desirable trait which is used a lot to describe a good quality Assam tea.

Bite: Another desirable trait, this describes a tea which is very brisk and lively.

Body: The tactile aspect of tea’s weight, this could be light, medium, or full. It is also referred to as fullness. 

Bright: A style and refreshing flavor of tea for the palate.

Burnt: An undesirable trait, which is a degree worse than ‘bakey’. 

Character: The signature attributes of a tea. This could depend on its origin or flavor. 

Clean: Flavor that’s pure, there is an absence of any off-tastes. 

Coppery: A favorable attribute of tea liquor color, similar to a new penny.

Creaming Down: A high quality tea which turns cloudy. This is generally believed to be caused by the precipitation of tannins.

Finish: The final taste that lingers on your tongue after consuming the tea. 

Flowery: A floral flavor or scent which is mostly associated with high-grade teas. 

Malty: A sweet malt flavor in the tea which is characteristic of Assam black teas. 

Muscatel: A flavor similar to that of grapes, a characteristic found in the liquors of the finest Darjeeling tea. 

Smooth: A fine drinking tea that’s round-bodied.

Soft: A tea that is timid in flavor.

Thick: Tea that has substance, but not necessarily referring to the viscosity. 

Vegetal: A characteristic of green tea, this refers to taste that might be grassy, herby or marine.

Woody: A term used to describe the flavor of tea, reminiscent of freshly cut timber. 


Assam: A black tea grown and sourced from Assam in Northeast India. The tea is a full-bodied one, characterized by a rich, strong flavor.

Autumnal: The liquor from teas grown in cool Autumn weather.

Bancha: A Japanese tea made from coarse leaves, which is popularly consumed, but not top-notch quality. 

Black Tea: Most popular and common tea in the world, one of the three major types. They are the most processed of all teas which include oxidizing and fermenting the leaves.

Blend: A mixture of two or more teas from different origins to achieve a certain type of flavor which is unique.

Broken Orange Pekoe: A size of tea leaf which comprises of the smaller leaves and tips.

Ceylon Tea:  Teas that are cultivated in Sri Lanka.

ChaiA preparation of black tea with milk, the most common way of consuming tea in India.

China Oolong: A select blend of superior large leaf teas from China. 

Crush, Tear, Curl (CTC): These are the teas which are sent through rollers which tear and break the leaf after it has been withered. Typically, they are stronger and have a shorter steep time. 

Darjeeling: Superior teas grown in the Darjeeling region of India. 

English BreakfastType of tea, traditionally a blend of China Keemuns, but has now evolved to include Indian and Ceylon teas. 

Estate: A plantation or garden where tea is grown.

Golden tip: A desirable feature due to good harvesting practices.

Green tea: Tea that undergoes minimal processing, resembling the original green leaf.

OolongTea that is partially fermented withered and oxidized, originally native to China. 

Scented tea: Teas which are infused with aroma and taste of various flowers or spices under controlled conditions. 

Tip: The bud leaves on a tea bush. 

Tippy: Teas which have white or golden tips which are characteristic of high quality teas. 

Well-twisted: A team leaf which has been tightly rolled or twisted, which indicates good withering. 

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