Tea Terms

Assam: A black tea grown in the Northeast section of India

Aroma: An important consideration in cupping teas is the smell which is given off.

Autumnal: Describes the liquor from teas grown in Autumn, in cool weather.

Astringent: A term which describes a liquor which is pungent but inclined to be acidic.

Body: Describes a tea liquor possessing fullness and strength.

Bright: A tea, usually with a red liquor.

Brisk: Describes a live taste as opposed to flat or soft.

Broken Orange Pekoe: A size of tea leaf comprising the smaller leaves and tips.

Burnt: A degree worse than bakey.

Caffeine: A component of tea which stimulates the nervous system. A cup of tea averages 40 milligrams of caffeine versus approximately 110 in a cup of  coffee.

Chai: A blend of black tea with various spices and steamed milk as commonly drunk in India.

China Oolong: A select blend of large leaf teas from China.

Creaming Down: A high quality tea, which turns cloudy to be caused by the precipitation of tannins.

Darjeeling: A very high quality black tea grown in the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India. Called the champagne of teas.

Earthy: An unfavorable characteristic generally caused by storing tea under damp conditions.

Fannings: A very small size of tea leaf, although larger than dust.

Fermentation: A term used to describe the processing of Oolong and Black teas. The actual chemical transformation which takes place is actually oxidation.

Fibrous: A term used to identify pieces of stem in tea. Fine: Teas of exceptional quality and flavor.

Flavor: Very characteristic taste and aroma of fine teas, usually associated with high grown teas.

Flowery Orange Pekoe: A large leaf size containing an abundance of tip. Flush: The new growth on a tea plant consisting of a full complement of leaves. It takes about 40 days for a new bud to blossom into a flush.

Green tea: Tea which undergoes minimal processing and most resembles the original green leaf.

Gunpowder: A type of Green tea which has been rolled into pellets.

Instant Tea: Developed in the 1930's and commercialized in the 50's, instant tea sacrifices nuances in fragrance and flavor for convenience.

Light: Describes a liquor which is rather thin and lacking depth of color but which may be flavoury or pungent or both.

Nose: A term used to connote a good aroma of tea.

Orange Pekoe: Is used to identify a large leaf size. The tea is characterized by long, thin, wiry leaves which sometimes contain the white or yellow tip of the leaf bud.

Pungent: Describes a tea liquor having marked briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without bitterness.

Rich: A mellow liquor which is abounding in quality and thickness.

Roughness: A term used to connote harshness.

Sappy: Describes a tea liquor which has a full juicy flavor.

Strength; strong: Describes a liquor with powerful tea characteristics, but not necessarily thick. A very desirable characteristic, but not essential in certain flavoury teas.

Tannin: The chemical component of tea thought to be responsible for its presumed health benefits. One of the major components which contributes to the taste and pungency of tea.

Tea Taster: An expert judge of the beverage. A person who uses organoleptic means to discern various characteristics and qualities of tea.

Tip: The leaf bud of the Camellia sinensis plant. Thick: Describes tea liquor having substance, but not necessarily strength.

Well twisted: A tea leaf which is tightly rolled or twisted, indicative of good withering.