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Tea Terms Glossary


Berry Like - fruity and tart tasting
Biscuity - sweet, malted flavor with a velvety body, reminiscent of baked bread; often a character in black teas
Bitter - intense and boldly appalling flavor; sometimes offensive
Citrusy - tangy, tart; citrus fruit flavor such as orange, lemon, grapefruit, or tangerine
Creamy - milky, vanilla-tasting
Earthy - woodsy, soil-tasting, nature-inspired taste and aroma
Grassy - vegetal, fresh cut lawn taste
Malty - biscuity with a velvety body, wheat and barley-tasting; often used to describe Assam black teas
Meaty - hearty, heavy-tasting, full, thick texture, often desribes high quality Indian black teas
Metallic - low, unpleasant quality and taste; often found in poor quality green and black teas
Nutty - toasted, malty flavors reminiscent of a nut such as an almond, hazelnut or walnut
Plain - having very minimal flavor; mellow, dull, bland, simple
Salty - mineral-like, sour, peppery
Smoky - burnt-tasting, reminiscent of ash and fire
Vanilla - creamy, sweet, milky
Vegetal - often a great tea characteristic; grassy, vegetable-tasting; reminiscent of a freshly cut lawn
Winey - vinegary, grape-tasting, sour, astringent
Sour - tart, acidic, citrusy
Tart - sour, tangy, astringent 
Spicy - flavorful with a bite; fiery, peppery, tangy
Sweet- often fruity, sometimes creamy; having candy-like characteristics
Savory - pleasant, aromatic; bold yet balanced flavors



Acidic - sour, tart, vinegary
Astringent - bold, pungent sensation that lingers on the tongue and sides of the mouth caused by tannins
Balanced - well-rounded, tasting equal proportions of flavors
Body - texture of the tea on the palate during tasting, which is largely determined by tannins and amino acids within the tea
Character - smell, taste and presentation of the tea
Clean - crisp, fresh, pure flavor notes
Cloudy - result when the tea is prepared iced, also known as condensation. When the ice hits the hot tea, the ice or solid slowly turns into liquid and forms cloudiness in the tea
Complex - having multi-dimensional flavors that unfold layer by layer; complicated
Crisp - clean, fresh, sharp
Delicate - soft, subtle, lightly flavored
Dull - uninspiring, mellow, lack of character
Finish - lasting impression on your tongue after swallowing
Flat - plain, dull, mellow, without higher or lower notes in tastes
Hard - aggressive, bold, sharp, higher in mineral content
Intense - strong, bold concentration of flavor and aroma

Facts courtesy of:

Tea for Good Health