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A Tea Scoring System
99-100 points: A spiritually uplifting experience- beyond what you would expect from leaf, liquor, and taste.
96-98 points: Excellent. A tea that consistently (2 or more infusions) reveals the best of its variety in body, aroma/flavor, and finish.
92-95 points: Superior. Teas that achieve greatness in one dimension, and embody high quality characteristics of their variety in other dimensions
90-91 points: High quality tea. Liquor retains its variety’s characteristics, and retains characteristic flavor for 2 or more infusions
85-89 points: Very good. Above average teas that lack that little something extra that makes them worthy of a 90-point score.
80-84 points: Tea that does not meet all standards for its class/variety, but has some redeeming features (e.g. good quality-to-price ratio).
70-79 points: Straightforward and unremarkable. Teas capable of quenching thirst but little else.
Why not just use a 5-star rating, or a 10-point scale?
For centuries, people have devoted themselves to growing, harvesting, and processing excellent teas, and a 5-star or 10 point system simply does not do justice to the fine art of tea production. These simpler rating scales have become more associated with inexperienced drinkers’ “like it vs. don’t like it” opinions, which may or may not be related to the actual quality and distinctiveness of fine teas. A more detailed scoring system helps capture the true distinctions between two different types of tea from multiple retailers over different time periods. Scoring should be about capturing quality that people recognize in their teas (just as people appreciate in wines).