Tea Terms

Type Definition
Agony of the leaves The unfurling of tea leaves during steeping. Certain teas provide a show if steeped in a glass teapot
Antioxidant Compound that retards oxidization
Aroma Also known as the nose, the odor of brewed tea
Assam Tea growing region in India
Astringency Dry mouth sensation caused by certain teas
Autumnal Tea produced late in the growing season – often used in reference to Darjeeling 4th flush teas
Bergamont A citrus oil from the bergamot orange used to flavor black tea to make Earl Grey tea
Black Tea Fully oxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. Also known as Red tea in China referring to the color of the Tea in the cup
Blend Method to establish consistency between lots of teas
Body Term to denote strength and viscosity of a brewed tea
Brick Tea Tea leaves that have been steamed and compressed into bricks
Caffeine An alkaloid which acts as a Central Nervous System stimulant and diuretic
Catechins The class of polyphenol found in tea which function as antioxidants
Ceylon tea Tea from Sri Lanka
Chai The word for tea on the Indian subcontinent. In the west it generally means a spiced black tea (masala chai)
Chest Traditional container made of wood with a metal lining used to ship tea from tea estates
Chesty A term for an odor in tea absorbed from the wood of a traditional storage chest
Congou Chinese Black, or Red, Tea
CTC Acronym for Cut, Tear, and Curl, a machine process which cuts the withered leaves into uniform particles for a complete oxidation
Darjeeling Tea Tea grown in the Darjeeling Hills of India. These teas are renowned for their muscatel flavor
Dust The smallest grade of tea, typically associated with lower quality. Dust is prized for its quick extraction and is commonly used in teabags
Fannings Small particles of tea one grade larger than Dust produced as a by product of the tea making process
Fermentation Also termed Oxidation. Describes the process of enzymic oxidation, where elements in the leaf react with air to the resulting tea
Firing The process where the tea leaves are dried to stop enzymic changes. This makes the tea fit for packing and storing
Flush Flush refers to the four separate plucking seasons throughout the year, each known for it’s distinctive flavor
Formosa Tea Tea produced in Taiwan, typically oolong teas
Genmaicha Green tea blended with roasted rice
Golden Refers to the orange colored tips present in high quality black tea
Gong Fu Meaning skill and patience. The style of brewing tea with a high proportion of leaf to water and repeated short infusions
Green Tea Un-oxidized, dried tea
Gunpowder Green tea rolled into pellets
Guywan A traditional Chinese lidded tea drinking vessel with accompanying saucer
Keemun Chinese Black Tea from Anhui Province and often used in English Breakfast blends
Lapsang Souchong Chinese Black Tea, leaves are smoked over pine fire giving strong smoked flavour
Muscatel A muscat grape like taste associated with many Darjeeling Teas
Nose Aroma of brewed tea
Oolong Derived from ‘wu long’ the Chinese term for black dragon. A type of tea that is semi-oxidized resulting in a brew that is between a Green and a Black Tea
Orange Pekoe The larger leaves of the tea bush
Pekoe A term used to describe the largest leaves used to produce whole leaf teas
Plucking The process of harvesting and collecting tea leaves
Polyphenols Antioxidant compounds present in tea
Pu-erh Tea A type of tea originally from the Yunnan province of China
Tippy Term for the tea leaf that contains white or golden tips, indicative of high quality
White Tea Similar to Green Tea. Identifiable by the presence of the white hairs on the leaf tips, and a light infusion
Withering The operation which removes moisture from the plucked leaves making them less brittle and preparing them for processing
Yunnana A province in southwestern China known as the birthplace of tea
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