Tea Glossary

July 10, 2008

The culture of tea is rife with terms that can be confusing to the layperson, especially when it comes to tasting terms such as “Biscuity” and “Dhool”. In this post there is a short glossary of some popular terms, while a more complete tea glossary can be found on our website. This glossary is by no means complete, and we are always adding to it and double-checking out definitions, so if there is something that you feel is wrong, or something that should be added to or expanded upon, do not hesitate to contact us!

Afternoon Tea – A British meal eaten in mid afternoon, consisting of sandwiches, scones,and pastries accompanied by tea.
Agony of the leaves – The unfurling of tea leaves during steeping.
Assam – A major tea growing region in India. These black teas are known for their strong malty flavor.
Biscuity – Tea taster’s expression, often used with Assam teas that have been fired well.
Brick Tea – Tea leaves that have been steamed and compressed into bricks. Pu-erh is a common brick tea.
Camellia sinensis – Botanical name of the tea bush.
Coppery – A term describing a reddish infusion, associated with black teas of high quality.
Dhool – A term describing the coppery, fermenting tea leaf.
Earl Grey – A Black Tea blend flavored with Bergamot Oil. –
Flush – Refers to the timing of the tea harvest. “first flush” is the early spring plucking of new shoots. “second flush” is harvested late spring through early summer, yielding more body and full flavor. Autumnal flush is the late season harvest.
High tea – A meal served late afternoon to early evening which is a mixture of afternoon tea and dinner.
Light – A term describing tea that produces a weak infusion.
Orange Pekoe – Referring to size of leaf, not quality or flavor, this term indicates a larger-size grade of whole leaf teas.
Orthodox – Traditional method for picking and processing teas in India without using CTC technology.
Pungent – A term describing highly astringent tea.
Smoky – A term describing teas fired over an open fire, resulting in exposure to wood smoke.
Tannin – A term referring to the astringent polyphenols of tea, producing a bitter flavor.
White Tea – Rare teas of fine quality. White teas are known for their high antioxidant content and subtle flavor.
Yixing – Pronounced Yee-shing, a region in China known for its purple clay, and the unglazed teapots produced from it.

These are just a few of the more than 130 terms that are defined in our tea glossary on our website. Be sure to visit it and increase your knowledge of tea culture!


White Tea – The “Gucci” of Brewed Beverages

June 26, 2008

White tea is a relative newcomer to the North American market place. It is the least processed of all the teas, and has the healthiest profile of all the teas. This tea is made from young leaves and new growth buds. When referring to white teas, it is said it is “two leaves and a bud”. This nickname is because when picked, the youngest and most tender leaves are picked – the top 2 leaves and the bud of the branch.

TeaFrog - Pai Mu Tan White TeaThe oxidization process for white tea is halted almost immediately in white teas, often right in the fields, through heating or steaming. This allows the leaves to retain high concentrations of catechins and other anti-oxidants. Some estates go so far as to shield the buds from the sun to reduce chlorophyll formation.

In recent studies, white tea has been shown to have additional calming and detoxifying effects on the skin, as well as showing the same cancer fighting and anti-oxidizing properties that other teas show. White teas have as much as 3 times as many anti-oxidant polyphenols as other teas, due to the lack of oxidizing that takes place in the processing of this tea. It is much more effective in cleaning up free radicals in the body, which cause skin to sag and age.

Because of the extra high concentrations of the anti-aging and anti-oxidant polyphenols found in white tea, many cosmetic companies are utilizing concentrated white tea in new anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products. Whether these products are effective or not has yet to be proven.

With cancer fighting properties, and anti-aging properties, the velvety smooth taste you get from a quality white tea is a surprising bonus to this extraordinary tea – who says that healthy has to taste bad!

Because the young leaves and buds are used for white tea, it is much more rare than any black or green teas, and is often more expensive. As the health benefits are more widely recognized however, it has become more mainstream, and more available to the western public. TeaFrog has started flavouring white teas to great success, as can be found in our Blueberry Flavoured White tea, Coconut Vanilla White tea and brand new Pink Grapefruit White tea.

So give it a try today. You can purchase a high quality white tea directly from the TeaFrog online store, and have it delivered right to your door!


Rooibos Tea – Different Types

March 21, 2008

The Rooibos Bush

As we have previously learned, Rooibos is not technically a proper tea, because it is not derived from the Camellia sinensis plant.  Rooibos however, is not usually referred to as a Tisane.  The Rooibos leaf comes from the plant , a member of the legume family of plants.  The Rooibos bush is a small and shrubby bush, with thin needle-like leaves.  The bush only grows between 1/2 to 1 meter tall.  On the bush, the leaves are green, but once processed they turn a deep red from the oxidization of the Rooibos leaves.

Green Rooibos

Rooibos is available in the market in several forms.  Typically, you will get the red leaved Rooibos either in it’s plain, unflavored form, or in a flavored
 or blended form.  Rooibos is now becoming more widely available in its “
green” form as well – as Green Rooibos.  Even more recently you are seeing Green Rooibos being flavored and blended like the typical Red Rooibos you find. The difference between the two is that the Green Rooibos is the un-oxidized form of the Rooibos bush.
 
As we have previously mentioned, the Rooibos bush has many different health benefits.  It is naturally decaffeinated, with no caffeine in it at all.  Rooibos tea is very low in tannins, so you will never get a bitter cup of Rooibos tea.  Rooibos is very high in antioxidants, which have health benefits ranging from anti-aging to cancer prevention.  Rooibos has been known to relieve stomach ulcers, nausea, constipation, and heartburn.  Rooibos has high concentrations of calcium, manganese and fluoride.  In addition to being internally used, Rooibos has been used externally to promote healthy skin, and has been shown to relieve itchy skin, eczema, sunburns, diaper rash and acne.

For thousands of years, Rooibos has been a herbal remedy for the tribes of South Africa.  It is only in the last 100 years or so that Rooibos has been available worldwide, and only in the last 5-6 years that it has really become popular and available in North America in sufficient quantities.

TeaFrog’s Gingerbread Orange Flavored Rooibos

Today, Rooibos is blended and flavored in many many different ways!  TeaFrog currently carries 6 different Rooibos blends, from Caramel Cream to Love Flavored, to Tiramisu.  We also carry Rooibos Original, the unflavored natural Rooibos leaves.  The typical flavor of Rooibos is a sweet, slightly nutty flavor, which needs no addition of milk or sugar, albeit that is traditionally how it is consumed in South Africa.  When combined with different flowers, herbs and flavors, Rooibos still retains its core sweetness, making an amazing tea that is both tasty and healthy – a combination that is not always easy to find!

As Rooibos becomes more and more popular in North America, you will continue to see studies released on the health benefits, scientifically proving what South African Tribes have known for hundreds of years, that Rooibos Tea is healthy, has a great flavor, and is a great alternative beverage for both adults and children alike!  So try Rooibos today from the TeaFrog online store, you will not be disappointed!

TeaFrog explores Rooibos Teas and their growing popularity in North America

March 13, 2008

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