Translation:This tea tastes bad.
In informal settings like to family or close friends, this would okay to say. However, just as you said, in a more formal setting like in a restaurant, you wouldn't want to upset the chef/cook and so you would leave the sentence open so that what you are trying to say, is implied.
In that sense, it would mean the same thing but in order to differentiate it, the sentence is written differently. Saying "This tea is bad" in comparison to "This is bad tea" is not the same as to how you are presenting the sentence. Regardless, the japanese sentence is literally saying Kono (this) ocha (tea) wa (particle) mazui (tastes bad) desu (to be) so it would have to translate into "This tea tastes bad."
Well, that would require you to write the japanese sentence differently.
I don't know if this construction has a grammatical name in English or Japanese, in the German course there were two ways of separating adjectives.
The predicative adjectives: Subject is/are adjective.
And the nominal adjectives: Subject1 is/are adjective+subject2 Or: Adjective1+Subject is/are adjective2
In German, and I think also in Japanese, the adjectives may change form according to this separation.
Any native that can clarify this? どういたしまして in advance.
Have a good day.
Here is a helpful lesson on the KSAD rule. http://www.japaneseprofessor.com/lessons/beginning/demonstratives-the-ko-so-a-do-series/
これ (kore) means this and it's independent pronoun, you use it to point at things
この (kono) means this thing, you can't use it alone, it's dependent pronoun, you always must put something with it
for example: kore wa nan desu ka?? what is this? - independent
kono ocha wa... this (thing) tea is... - dependent
That's how I understand it...
I am reaching my limit, as far as the strait jacket imposed on translations into English! You guys have got to expand the range of synonyms the software will accept! Even the simplest, most logical variations on how to say something are summarily rejected. What's worse, sometimes in favor of positively ninny-sounding "correct" answers!
I realize it takes a lot of work, and I'm grateful for what you have done already, but please, please do something to soothe the nerves of those of us who don't have all day to try to figure out the byzantine mysteries of what someone has decided is THE ONLY valid translation for something that, clearly, has many more translations.
Then suggest them; that's what the flag button is for. And remember, the course is still in beta, so instead of berating the course developers, you might be better off having a go at other users for not flagging and suggesting enough alternatives for you.
Also, synonyms though some words may be, "bad", "disgusting", "gross", "undrinkable", etc. have subtly different nuances which don't necessarily correspond to the usage of まずい in Japanese. This is all a learning exercise, so maybe the course developers want you to learn some Japanese synonyms too, and that would be made easier by restricting the translation of one word to the one nearest English equivalent.