> I think what you all should do is to use a color key to identify color.
> The printing and graphics design industry has been using it to identify
> color for a long time, why not us?
> Just do a google search on color key. This is one of the websites
> offering color key:
It's a good idea, for people who want to be able to specify color more
objectively. If I may, a few suggestions and warnings:
1. The web site mentioned lists screen colors for emissive displays
(like a computer monitor). For a number of physical and cognitive
reasons, such cannot readily be mapped onto the color of a
light-absorbing physical object like tea. One key is the notation RGB,
which applies to additive colors (mixed lights). You need subtractive
colors (often listed as CMY, CMYK) for this. Google it if interested.
2. There are several standard sets of these, available at little or no
cost. Probably the two most common in the US are Pantone and Munsell.
Pantone is a standardized way of mixing standard printing inks to match
a wide range of colors, though tending more to strong tones
(technically, high saturation) than appropriate for tea. The Munsell
"chips" are likewise available in fan-out strips, have a very simple and
intuitive color-naming system, and usefully divide the needed color
range. I was surprised to find a septic engineer using Munsell chips to
describe the subtle colors of different layers of sand in my
percolation-test pits. Free color chips at paint stores aren't very
useful, since they have arbitrary, proprietary names.
3. In comparing tea with color chips, the illuminant is important. Color
can change dramatically under different lights, an extreme example being
the gem alexandrite going from red to green. (Google "metamerism" for
more.) For reasons having to do with the shape of absorption curves,
this is less of a problem with tea than with synthetically dyed clothes,
e.g., but it would still be best to match only under clear northern
light or some other smooth-spectrum standard.
4. Brewed-tea color terminology is often pretty sloppy. In describing
Pu-erhs, for example, people often confuse "depth of color" with
transparency - they are linked, but a nearly colorless brew can be
nearly opaque if it scatters a lot, and a perfectly "clear" solution can
appear quite opaque due to pure absorption. Similarly, the apparent
color of dry leaf can depend a lot of how sharp ("specular") or broad
("diffuse") the light source is, especially for shiny (waxy or wet) leaves.
More if anyone wants it, perhaps off-group. (I used to work in a color
lab and give talks on color theory to artists and engineers.)
Personally, I'm with Michael - for those not in the business, how much
precision is needed?