The taster's glossary lists the vocabulary used by tasters and allows the sensations felt during the drinking of tea to be described.

Basic Concepts

Aroma: In the technical language of tasting, aroma should be reserved for the olfactory sensations felt in the mouth during retro-olfaction. The word is also often used to describe smells in general.

In the mouth: The group of characteristics perceived in the mouth, comprising smell, touch and taste.

Bouquet: All the characteristics of smell that are perceived through the nose when one sniffs the tea, then in the mouth known as aromas.

Infusion: Refers both to the act of infusion and to the soaked leaves which one then retrieves. For tea it is never used to describe the liquid that is obtained by infusion, this is called the liqueur.

Liqueur: Same as infusion

In the nose: Same as bouquet

Scent: smell

Smell: perceived directly by the nose, as opposed to the aromas that are felt in the mouth

Flavour: sensation (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, glutinous) perceived on the tongue

Scents & Aromas

Hesperian notes
Refers to citrus fruit aromas: Orangey, Lemony, Zesty

Fruity notes
Bitter almond, Green almond, Ripe fruit, Black fruit, Red fruit, Dried fruit, Fruity, Muscat grape, Peach, Green apple, Ripe grape

Floral notes
All flowery notes: Freesia, Iris, Jasmin, Narcissus, Orchid, Rose

Spicy notes
Aniseed, Cocoa, Malt, Nutmeg, Menthol, Honey, Pepper, Liquorice

Vegetable & Woodland notes
Refers to woody, balsamic, musty notes: Dry wood, Green wood, Bark, Chestnut, Peat, Herb, Moss, Rocky, Undergrowth, Damp earth after a Storm, Woody

Empyreal notes
Caramelising, Burnt, Grilled, Smoked

A-Z of Teas

▪ Aromatic: A liqueur that is strong and high in flavour

▪ Astringent: Harsh and rough quality in the mouth, caused by tannins

▪ Biting: A tea which is both astringent and sour leaving a strong and lasting impression

▪ Bitter: one of the five flavours. Normal for teas high in tannin. Bitterness has the tendency to develop if the tea is left to infuse for too long.

▪ Body: A beverage that marries a good constitution (robust) with warm aromas

▪ Complex: A very rich mix of aromas, of great subtlety

▪ Creamy: Same as mellow

▪ Delicacy: Quality of a delicate liqueur with many, subtle aromas

▪ Flavourful: A liqueur with strong, rich flavours

▪ Flowing: A smooth, pleasant beverage, with no harshness. Used to refer to teas with a low tannin content.

▪ Frank: Teas whose characteristics (colour, scent, flavours, aromas) are well defined and express themselves unfailingly and without ambiguity

▪ Fresh: Slightly sour teas that give a feeling of freshness

▪ Frivolous: Teas that are both rich in aromas and short in the mouth that give a feeling of fleetingness

▪ Full in the mouth: Gives a very pleasant sensation and filling the mouth well

▪ Full-bodied: A beverage that has body

▪ Generous: Rich in aromas, while not being tiring, which can be the case with heady teas

▪ Glutinous: One of the five flavours, never found in tea. It can be detected above all in a majority of Asian dishes since it is associated with the presence of glutamates in food

▪ Greenness: A fresh and green quality

▪ Harsh: a biting sensation, a little rough, caused by tannins

▪ Heady: A beverage that is high in spicy and flowery aromas

▪ Invigorating: A young, green tea, where there is a pronounced sour note

▪ Iodised: A note found in certain teas such as Japanese green teas

▪ Light: A tea that is not very full-bodied, with a low tannin content

▪ Lively: A tea whose characteristics are well defined, with a slight hint of sourness

▪ Long in the mouth: A tea in which the aromas leave a pleasant and long-lasting impression in the front and the back of the mouth after tasting

▪ Mellow: A tea that is both round in the mouth and slightly sour.

▪ Mild: Flavour is slightly sweet, punctured perhaps by a hint of acidity, but which have no astringency

▪ Odorous: A beverage or an infusion with many strong scents

▪ Pointed: Same as sharp

▪ Powerful: A full-bodied, long-lasting liqueur

▪ Raw: Green and sourer than the average

▪ Refined: A tea whose scents, flavours and aromas are both delicate and subtle

▪ Robust: A predominantly tannic beverage, which fills the mouth well

▪ Rough: Very astringent, often of bad quality or else has been infused for far too long

▪ Round: A liqueur in which the smoothness and mellowness give an impression of roundness in the mouth

▪ Roundness: The quality of a liqueur that fills the mouth in a spherical way

▪ Salted: One of the five senses. Non-existent in tea that contains absolutely no sodium

▪ Sharp: A very lively beverage, which has an obvious fresh and sour note, almost spicy, and in which each aroma is delicately expressed

▪ Short in the mouth: Leaving few traces in the front or the back of the mouth after tasting

▪ Silky: Aa smooth and mellow tea, with a touch of harmony, bringing to mind the smoothness of silk

▪ Slippery: Same as flowing

▪ Smooth: A beverage without harshness, owing to the lack of tannins

▪ Sour: One of the five flavours. Found in some green teas, Oolong & spring Darjeeling, which gives freshness and liveliness

▪ Strong: A rather vague term, which usually denotes a full-bodied, highly coloured liqueur

▪ Sturdy: A tea whose constitution is very robust, a quality that can be softened with milk

▪ Supple: A liqueur where the mellowness overcomes the astringency.

▪ Sustained: An aroma that stays in the mouth for a long time

▪ Sweet: One of the five flavours, detected in certain very light, green teas from China. Rather rare, except in Ama Cha

▪ Tannic: A liqueur with a high tannin content

▪ Velvety: A smooth, velvety liqueur, almost sweet

▪ Vigorous: A tea that is both astringent and lively, whose presence is immediately felt in the mouth

▪ Vivacious: A fresh, light beverage with a hint of sourness that is slightly dominant. All in all very pleasant

▪ Voluptuous: A beverage that is full, round and long-lasting in the mouth

▪ Warm: Spicy, woody aromas married to flavour that is totally lacking in acidity

▪ Young: Teas that were plucked early and which have a green, slightly sour character