It is very difficult for humans to distinguish between two kinds of black tea obtained with similar processing technology. In this paper, an electronic tongue was used to discriminate samples of seven different grades of two types of Chinese Congou black tea. The type of black tea was identified by principal component analysis and discriminant analysis. The latter showed better results. The samples of the two types of black tea distributed on the two sides of the region graph were obtained from discriminant analysis, according to tea type. For grade discrimination, we determined grade prediction models for each tea type by partial least-squares analysis; the coefficients of determination of the prediction models were both above 0.95. Discriminant analysis separated each sample in region graph depending on its grade and displayed a classification accuracy of 98.20% by cross-validation. The back-propagation neural network showed that the grade prediction accuracy for all samples was 95.00%. Discriminant analysis could successfully distinguish tea types and grades. As a complement, the models of the biochemical components of tea and electronic tongue by support vector machine showed good prediction results. Therefore, the electronic tongue is a useful tool for Congou black tea classification.
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