Understanding the Meaning of Body in Tea Terms

As a tea connoisseur, you may have come across the term “body” while exploring various tea descriptions. But what does “body” mean when it comes to tea? In this article, we will delve into the concept of body and its significance in tea terminology. By understanding this aspect, you will be able to appreciate and choose teas that suit your preferences and taste.

What is Body?

Body, in the context of tea, refers to the texture, weight, and overall mouthfeel of the brewed tea. It is an essential characteristic that determines the thickness and fullness of the tea on your palate. Just like wine enthusiasts talk about the body of a wine, tea lovers express similar considerations when describing the body of a tea.

When exploring the body of tea, we consider several factors:

  1. Astringency
  2. Viscosity
  3. Tactile sensations
  4. Weight
  5. Texture

Each of these elements contributes to the overall perception of body in tea. Let’s explore these subtopics in detail:


Astringency is a crucial element in determining the body of a tea. It refers to the dry, puckering sensation experienced in the mouth when tasting tea. Astringency can range from mild to strong, with some teas exhibiting a crisp and refreshing astringency, while others offer a more intense and mouth-drying experience.

Factors that influence astringency include:

  • Tea type: Different tea types, such as black, green, or oolong, have varying levels of astringency.
  • Processing: The oxidation and drying methods applied to the tea leaves contribute to the level of astringency.
  • Brewing technique: Factors like water temperature and steeping time affect the astringency of the brewed tea.

By considering astringency, you can assess the body of a tea and determine whether it aligns with your preferences.


Viscosity refers to the thickness or “stickiness” of tea on the palate. It influences how the tea coats your mouth and tongue. While some teas may have a watery consistency, others possess a thicker, syrup-like texture, offering a more substantial body.

Factors affecting viscosity include:

  • Tea leaves: The size and shape of the tea leaves can impact the viscosity of the brewed tea.
  • Processing: The way tea leaves are processed, including techniques like rolling and bruising, can influence viscosity.

By paying attention to viscosity, you gain insight into the body of the tea and its perceived richness during consumption.

Tactile Sensations

The tactile sensations produced by tea in your mouth contribute to its body. These sensations involve aspects like smoothness, roughness, or even a velvety feel. The way a tea feels on your tongue and the lingering aftertaste are significant in assessing its body.

Key tactile sensations to consider include:

  • Smoothness
  • Creaminess
  • Roughness
  • Astringency (as mentioned earlier)

By evaluating the tactile sensations, you can further understand the body of a tea and its impact on your overall tea-drinking experience.


The weight of a tea refers to how heavy or light it feels in your mouth. Some teas have a lighter, delicate body, while others have a heavier, more substantial presence.

Factors contributing to the weight of a tea include:

  • Tea type: Different tea types naturally possess varying levels of weight.
  • Origin: The region where the tea is grown can influence its weight.

Assessing the weight of a tea gives you insights into how it occupies your mouth and contributes to its overall body.


Texture refers to the physical sensations experienced when drinking tea. These can include aspects like thickness, graininess, or silkiness. Each texture adds to the overall body of the tea and enhances the overall drinking experience.

Significant textures to consider are:

  • Grainy
  • Velvety
  • Silky
  • Crisp

Understanding the texture of a tea helps to uncover its body and how it interacts with your senses while indulging in a cup.

In conclusion, when exploring tea terminology, understanding the concept of body is essential. Becoming familiar with the factors that contribute to body, such as astringency, viscosity, tactile sensations, weight, and texture, allows you to appreciate and choose teas that align with your preferences. Next time you sip a cup of tea, pay attention to its body and savor the rich tapestry of flavors and sensations that it offers.