Seven grades of black tea [high-quality black tea (grades 1-3) and low-quality black tea (grades 4-7)1 processed by CAYKUR Tea Processing Plant (Rize, Turkey), were compared for their differences in descriptive sensory analysis (DSA), aroma-active compounds (volatile compounds), and taste-active compounds (sugar, organic acid, and free amino acid compositions). Ten flavor attributes such as 'after taste', 'astringency', 'bitter', 'caramel-like', 'floral/sweet', 'green/grassy', 'hay-like', 'malty', 'roasty', and 'seaweed' were identified. Intensities for a number of flavor attributes (after taste', 'caramel-like', 'malty', and 'seaweed') were not significantly different (p > 0.05) among seven grades of black tea. A total of 57 compounds in seven grades of black tea (14 aldehydes, eight alcohols, eight ketones, two esters, four aromatic hydrocarbons, five aliphatic hydrocarbons, nine terpenes, two pyrazines, one furan, two acids, and two miscellaneous compounds) were tentatively identified. Of these, aldeyhdes comprised more than 50% to the total volatile compounds identified. In general, high-grade quality tea had more volatiles than low-grade quality tea. With respect to taste-active compounds, five sugars, six organic acids, and 18 free amino acids were positively identified in seven grades of black tea, of which fructose, tannic acid, and theanine predominated, respectively. Some variations (p < 0.05), albeit to different extents, were observed among volatile compounds, sugars, organic acids, and free amino acids in seven grades of black tea. The present study suggests that a certain flavor attributes correlate well with taste- and aroma-active compounds. High- and low-quality black teas should not be distinguished solely on the basis of their DSA and taste- and aroma-active compounds. The combination of taste-active compounds together with aroma-active compounds renders combination effects that provide the characteristic flavor of each grade of black tea.