The Secrets of Tea Tasting

Tasting tea is a joy, and those who do it, understand it well. Tea is a product of environment and is natural. Unlike others such as wine, chocolate or coffee, the experience of tasting tea is very different.

Teafloor Tea is unique in its own way due to its body, character and aroma (and health properties). If you know the proper steps then you can have an amazing tea tasting experience!

There are 4 key features of tasting tea: Appearance, Aroma, Flavor and Mouth feel.

Let us learn about each of this in detail.


This is one of the primary features which is taken into consideration while tasting tea. This is because appearance helps to make us understand the quality of the leaves. For example we should look at the following below aspects.

SHAPE – what are the bits of tea like? Small? Large?
COLOUR – is it all the same colour? Is it jet black? If it’s all different colours then it might be a blend
TEXTURE – is it finely ground like dust? Is it crumbly? Sticky?
TEA BUDS – can you see any?

So, what are the signs of a good tea?

In black tea, green tea and also white tea, whenever there are Gold or Bronze flecks, then these are called as the young leaves – better known as tippy. Another sign of a good tea is that it should get crunch between your fingers. This shows that it hasn’t absorbed any moisture from the air around it. One more sign of being a good tea is that tea leaves with more tips tend to be more nuanced and complex than those without them. Fresh teas almost always have a glossy sheen.
Another aspect which we look into for the sign of being a good tea is the look and opacity of the brewed tea. A darker brew shows that the tea has a fuller flavor while a sediment look means the tea is low quality. Always remember to use a tea cup which as a white interior or a clear teacup in order to know the proper colour of the brew. For Physical Appearance – Is it shiny, slightly oily and bright? It’s fine to have a little fragments floating around the bottom of the cup.


China was the place where tea was originated as said in history. In Chinese culture, the aroma of tea is considered very important. There are two techniques used to smell the aroma.

Deep inhalations – this is when you hold the brew as close to your nose as possible and take a deep breath.

Dog action – this is when you take rapid, shallow inhalations through the nose, rather like a panting dog.

The usage of cup is also important in smelling the aroma. Basically a narrow cup is being used as it helps to smell the brew better. Professional tea tasters actually press their noses into brewed leaves to smell them but for common people sniffing is enough and by this only you can enjoy the aroma of tea.


This is one of the steps which we all look forward to i.e. tasting the tea!

There are techniques involved even in tasting of the tea. The first thing is to slurp it as you would slurp wine in a wine tasting. This is done in order to spread the flavor of tea over the whole palate and back of throat. This lets us taste the tea in the best possible way. The initial perception of something can sometimes throw you off the taste, so that’s why it’s important to first take in the aroma.

Our taste buds send signals to brain to decide the taste of the food which we consume. The gustatory receptors and the Olfactory gland allow our brain to make a quick decision on whether or not we recognize and like the flavor of what we are about to ingest. So, once you have taken the tea in your mouth, you can roll it over your tongue or you can aerate it more by sucking more air into your mouth and through the tea. Either of the ways is fine.

Mouth feel

Observing the Mouth feel

This sounds a little crazy and complex but it is actually very funny and simple. We use the technique of taste wheel for this technique also. In observing the mouth feel, different sensations are being observed with different teas. Some tea may be smooth while others may be crispy or dry but eventually all of them help us to decide if the tea feels right. This is the best way to establish the connection between taste and smell – it’s what makes you want to taste the tea again.

One important thing to note is that you can feel the taste during the first sip if you want and the recommended method is to note the flavor first and then moving on to mouth feel later. There are various types of mouth feel being observed with various teas. You should observe the following things.

Does it leave a covering, like milk, or is it oily?

IS it like rich chowder or is it thin like lukewarm water?

How is the feeling in mouth? Is it puckering?

Does it leave your mouth feeling dehydrated, wet or caked?

Note the Aftertaste

Aftertastes can more enjoying than the normal taste of tea as it grizzles in the mouth for long even after sipping the tea. Majority of the teas taste same as like the first sip but some teas have very brief aftertastes while others (oolong tea) are known for aftertastes that can last for an hour or more. Some aftertastes are simple, while others are complex and evolving.

Now let us know how the after taste is being performed. First open your mouth slightly after you have swallowed a sip of tea and then allow air to flow between your mouth and nose. Observe not only the flavor but also the scent that develops.

Final thing to observe is the mental of physical effects of tea. It is said that different teas have completely different mental and physical effects on them. For example green tea gives more mental clarity while black tea gives more physical strength.

Final Verdict

This was all about tasting your tea. You don’t have to be a tea professional for tasting your tea and by these steps you can easily taste your tea and get the best ones for yourself.

2 Replies to “The Secrets of Tea Tasting”

  1. Hello. impressive job. I did not anticipate this.

  2. very interesting, I browsed to write an article on a tea taster, to get more inputs and an idea

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