Samley Teas - A Glimpse at Ceylon Tea


Only a highly skilled ‘Tea Taster’, commanding extensive experience and exposure can carry out the assessment & valuation of tea. The tea is generally assessed by the Appearance, Infusion & Liquor. A taster will look for Aroma by slurping the tea in, evaluating the subtle notes using a complex terminology.".


  • Black - Leaf black in colour, a descriptive term usually applied to low-country teas and those made from high jat leaf. Most teas are black, but unsatisfactory ‘withering’, ‘under- rolling’ and excessive handling reduces the degree of blackness.
  • Brownish — Mainly describes teas made from low jat leaf which are never really black. The term may be used in the case of teas which have become brownish as the result of faulty methods of manufacture and bad plucking. See 'choppy, flaky, grey and stalk'.
  • Choppy — Leaf chopped in a breaker or cutter rather than broken in the roller.
  • Even — Leaf true to grade and consisting of pieces of roughly equal size.
  • Flaky — Leaf not twisted, but in flakes. Results from poor withers under-rolling and excessive breaking or cutting of the made tea and also from the manufacture of hard leaf. Insufficient 'winnowing' is also a contributor,' cause. Flaky teas do not appear as black as well twisted leaf.


  • Bakey – An over- fired tea.
  • Brassy – A term seldom use for teas made by orthodox methods. May refer to a liquor with a bitter taste. A possible cause is un-withered leaf.
  • Brisk – Having a ‘live’ characteristic. A tea properly fermented, correctly fired and well preserved, opposite of ‘soft’.
  • Bright – Bright in colour and clear, as opposed to 'dull' with some briskness. Character— Prominence of some special characteristic which may be pungency, quality or flavour peculiar to the district from which the tea comes.
  • Coarse — A liquor which may have some strength but is deficient in quality. Some low- country teas are supposed to have a 'coarse' character.
  • Coloury — This term is used to describe a tea which possesses sufficient colour to bring it into a special category. As a rule, teas from low jat leaf are less coloury than those from high jat leaf. Colour can be improved by extension of the withering period, hard rolling and long periods of fermentation.

INFUSION (The infused leaf)

  • Bright – A good colour and need not necessarily be coppery. A favourable characteristic, generally denoting a good tea.
  • Coppery – Describes the infusion of a tea which is copper coloured. It is more an inherent character than one developed in the process of manufacture.
  • Dark or Dull — Dark brown or dull green in colour as opposed to 'bright'. A derogatory characteristic rarely associated with a good liquor and may at times be a natural property of leaf. Manufacturing conditions which bring about it are heat, over- fermentation and bacterial infection.
  • Greenish — Mainly an inherent character unless it has been the result of under- rolling and under- fermentation. A bright greenish infusion is not favourable.
  • Mixed or Uneven — An infusion of different colours. Results from mixed jat, coarse plucking and under- rolling. Hard rolling and the use of small roll- breaker mesh would bring about an improvement.