Different regions produce different teas with distinct flavor profiles. The most commonly consumed and most oxidized tea in the world is Black. It is grown in Northeast India, Ceylon, China, and South Africa, these are the most common.
Ceylon tea is grown on the hillsides of Sri Lanka and produce a rich golden liquor with excellent flavor. Assam teas are grown in the Northeast section of India and are strong full-bodied tea with rich and robust flavor. Many tea lovers consider it their wake-me-up tea. Darjeeling, produces, high quality tea grown in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in Northern India. Darjeeling tea is described as the "champagne of teas" and the second flush teas are well-known for their "Muscatel" flavor.
South Africa is known for its Rooibos or Red Tea. A naturally non-caffeinated tea high in antioxidants. It also has a soothing affect to calm our busy life-styles. The bushes are green and cut down to smaller pieces, laid out to dry. The intense sunlight turns the Rooibos to a rich dark red color.
Here are some terms the tea industry uses when tasting tea:
Autumnal - used to describe tea grown during the Autumn season & cool weather.
Aroma - the smell which is given off from infused tea leaves.
Astringent - a liquor that is pungent and creates a dry feeling in your mouth.
Baggy - an undesirable quality sometimes found in teas stored in stacks.
Bakey - a noticeably unpleasant characteristic in tea subjected to higher than desirable temperatures during processing.
Bite - a brisk and lively liquor.
Bright - a tea that steeps a red or yellow liquor.
Brisk - describes a live fresh taste as opposed to soft or flat.
Coppery - the liquor color, like a shinny penny.
Dull - a liquor that is not clear or bright.
Earthy - a characteristic used when tea is stored under damp conditions.
Full - a strong tea with good color and no bitterness.
Hard - a pungent quality usually applied to Assam teas.
Harsh - used to describe tea that is bitter.
Heavy - a tea that is thick in color, contains little briskness or astringency.
Muscatel - reminiscent of grapes and an exceptional characteristic in the finest second flush darjeeling teas.
Pungent - a liquor that has briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without bitterness.
So, the next time you steep a cup of tea, close your eyes, inhale the aroma, take a sip and let it linger on your pallet, open your eyes and look at the liquor, and you will be surprised how much you never really noticed in your tea cup.