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!