Some Common (and Uncommon) Tea Terms
Tea, like wine, has its own vocabulary. You may wish to practice using one of these terms each day, until you can blend them easily into the flow of your conversation.
Aroma – The fragrance of tea liquor and the infused leaf.
Astringency – Creates a feeling of dryness in the mouth.
Balance – All flavor elements in harmony.
Body – The weight of tea liquor as felt on the tongue.
Botanicals – Caffeine free herbal ingredients that include leaves, roots, barks, berries, grasses, seeds and peels.
Bright – Teas with sparkling color and crisp fresh flavor.
Biscuity – A pleasant, almost fresh-baked aroma present in some black teas.
BOP1 – Broken Orange Pekoe, Grade #1. Typically medium sized particles of leaf (“brokens”), which fall through the first screen in the grading process. In Ceylon, however, denotes a leaf size similar to that of an Assam OP.
Brew – Not really a tea term, but often used to describe the steeping process when making teas, as in “fresh-brewed tea.”
Brisk – The clean, assertive “bite” in black teas — a flavor in many high grown teas.
Character – The aroma and flavor qualities that are characteristic of a tea from a specific region
Chewy – Tea with a dense, viscous liquor and complex flavor.
Colory – A tea that exhibits great cup color. Not necessarily an indicator of quality.
Common – Tea with plain, thin liquor that has no distinctive qualities.
Cowbell – The security system at Smith. Also a general measure of oomph.
CTC – A grade of tea. Cut, Tear and Curl (CTC) is an alternative manufacturing style to the orthodox leaf styles, and yields a thick liquor and full body. Leaf is granular, with more surface exposed. Often used in chai blends.