In simple terms, ‘Tea Liquor’ describes the liquid yield achieved through the brewing process of dry/processed tea leaves. These tea leaves come from the 2 species of plants called Camellia Sinensis and Camellia Assamica.
There is no alcoholic content naturally produced or added to this liquid - it is simple, water steeped tea leaves. The term is commonly used by industry professionals, tea connoisseurs, and tea sommeliers.
A multitude of tea liquor varieties are achieved when taking into consideration the following factors: the method of growing and processing, the tea producer and their practices, the climatic conditions that the plants were exposed to and the quality of tea leaf produced based on location grown.
Identifying the characteristics of the liquor is one of the main steps in understanding what can be expected from the tea when it is brewed. No two tea liquors are the same - different results can be achieved by altering brewing technique, quantity, time and temperature.
4 Basics in selecting the best tea from tasting the ‘Tea Liquors’
- Visual Characteristics: Color/depth of color the tea yields when steeped to the appropriate temperature for the selected tea. A strong/deep/rich color doesn’t always result in a strong/deep/rich flavor. Look for clarity of the liquid after straining the brew and avoid teas that contain derbies and/or floating particles, which indicate lesser quality.
- Aroma: The most revealing characteristic of testing the tea liquors. Natural aromas are the key, sometimes very strong and even pungent. Stray away from aromas reminiscent of artificial scents.
- Flavor: The aromas of a high-quality tea will have already prepared your palate for what to expect on your first sip. Clean, balanced flavors with a smooth finish representative of the tea leaves, is what you are looking for.
- Aftertaste: Also called ‘finish’, each tea liquor is going to have its own unique distinguishable finish on your palate. Liquors that have a long, lingering, smooth after taste are the desired characteristics of a high-quality tea liquor.