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!

How to make Green Tea

April 8, 2008

Brew the Perfect Cup of Green TeaIt is surprising how many people give up on Green Tea after one bad experience.  While making Green Tea is not difficult in any way, at TeaFrog we have found that there is one overwhelming mistake that people make with brewing Green Tea, and that is water temperature.

Simply put, do not boil your water when making Green Tea.  If you pour the boiling water over the tea leaves, it will cook the leaves, releasing more tannins and making the tea bitter.  This is the number one reason why people give up on Green Tea!

The optimum temperature for Green Teas is between 80 to 90 degrees Celsius, or 140 – 185 degrees Fahrenheit.  At this temperature, the bulk of the tannins in the tea will not dissolve, leaving you with the natural sweetness of the leaf, and the pure flavor of the tea.  If you happen to boil your water, just give it a few minutes to cool before you infuse your leaves in it.

Another tip when preparing your tea is to ensure that the leaves have enough room to expand fully.  Japanese Green Tea in particular is generally tightly rolled, and as such needs plenty of room to allow the water to get into the inside of the leaf.  You can place the leaves directly in the water, or better yet, use an infuser that allows the tea to expand fully, such as the Finum Brewing Basket.

Step by Step Instructions for Brewing Green Tea.

  1. Heat water in a kettle or pot to a temperature of 80° to 90° C, or between 140° – 185° F.
  2. Place 1 teaspoon of tea into an infusing device that has enough room for the leaves to expand.
  3. Pour your water over the tea leaves.
  4. Allow the tea 2-3 minutes to infuse.
  5. Remove your tea leaves, and enjoy your cup of Green Tea for the first time!

Green Tea Brewing Tips

– you can infuse green tea many times.  Some teas do not fully release their flavor until the second or third infusion!  Use an infuser, such as the Finum Brewing Basket, to make second, third and fourth infusions easy.

– experiment with the infusion times for your Green Tea.  Some teas are best infused for only 1 or 2 minutes, some as much as 7 minutes.  Tea is a personal choice, so find the right brewing time just for you.

– water quality can affect the taste of tea.  If you have hard water out of the tap, try using filtered water to experience the true flavor of your Green Tea

Varieties of Teas

TeaFrog carries a few varieties of the most popular Green Teas.  We carry quality Japanese Teas such as:

Genmaicha Organic Green Tea – A blend of Sencha Tea and roasted brown rice is a staple in Japanese restaurants all over the world.  This tea produces a sweet nutty infusion that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Sencha Fukujyu – Long dark leaves and a light infusion, this popular Japanese Green Tea is rich in vitamin C as well as the other natural elements in Green Tea. Smooth and sweet tasting.

TeaFrog also carries a number of high quality Chinese Teas:

Dragon Well – Lung Ching – this rare wok roasted tea produces a refreshing yellow and orange infusion with a slightly nutty flavor.

Gunpowder – named for the look of the rolled leaves, this distinct tea has a light taste and is a conversation piece as well!

Jasmine Chung Hao – this top quality Chinese Green Tea is infused with the flavor of Jasmine Flowers by layering the tea over real Jasmine.  A soothing and relaxing cup of tea for any time of the day.

This is only a sampling of the Green Teas that TeaFrog has to offer, so visit our website and introduce them into your lifestyle!