How do you explain the taste of tea?

It is difficult with anything you taste – to try and explain to someone else what your taste buds experience and we probably all differ on what we taste. Age is a big factor and we perhaps had experiences of our parents insisting we eat our sprouts that for youngsters with acute fresh taste buds found too overpowering.

With tea it is easy to explain that a flavored mango tea tastes like mango, but to describe say a first flush Darjeeling is far more difficult. Darjeelings according to many tea books have a muscatel flavor. I think I tasted muscatel wine many years ago but could not describe the taste in the Darjeeling!

So as a result of discussing this at many tea tastings I have come up with a list of around 40 words that may help you describe the tea. For most people it is easier to have the words to choose from in front of them to help register the tastes. When we had been open for around 12 months we had 2 male high school seniors who came in the Café 3 or 4 times a week and were the first to experience this concept. One word is bamboo that one of them took a liking to and subsequently everything had a bamboo taste. So be careful not to only link to a few words. Here is our word set so give it a try and let me know if it helps and let me have suggestions for words to add.

Sometimes you can’t really define the taste BUT you know you like and who cares if you friends don’t


Tea descriptive words
aftertaste honey like BASIC COLORS
aromatic light amber
astringent malty black
bamboo mellow emerald green
bitter mild pale green
bold nutty tan
burnt refreshing
complex rich LEAF
creamy ripe fruit rolled
crisp sea weedy flat
delicate sharp tippy
earthy smoky multi colored
fishy smooth
flowery sour COMMENTS
fresh strong changes in cup
grassy sweet multi flavors
hay like vegetal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s