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Tea 201 - Terminology - Common Tea Words

The Language of Tea
The Language of Tea

At this point, you should have a good grasp on the idea of tea…now we should take a few moments to give you a bank of words.  This should help you in speaking the language of tea:

Antioxidant: a compound that slows the process of oxidation.

Assam: A major tea growing region in India.

Astringency: a bite (or bitter taste) caused by some teas.

Autumnal: Tea created later in the season like Darjeeling.

Bergamot: Citrus oil from the Bergamot orange used in Earl Grey.

Black Tea: Fully oxidized Camellia sinensis plant.

Blend: Method that allows for consistency among teas.

Body: Term used to denote the strength of a brewed tea.

Brick Tea: Tea that have been steamed and compressed into bricks like Pu-erh.

Caffeine: An alkaloid that serves as a stimulant and diuretic in the Central Nervous System.

Catechins: A polyphenols found in tea that is also an antioxidant.

Cha: Romanized spelling of Japanese/Chinese character for tea.

Chai: The word for tea on the Indian subcontinent.

Chesty: a term that denotes the odor absorbed by tea from the wood of a traditional storage chest.

CTC: Acronym for Cut, Tear and Curl.  It’s a machine process that allows for complete oxidation.

Darjeeling Tea: Tea grown in the Darjeeling hills of India.

Fannings: Small particles of tea used in tea bags.

Fermentation: Oxidation.

Firing: The process where teas are dried to stop any further enzymic changes.

Flush: This refers to the four separate plucking seasons throughout the year.

Genmaicha: Green tea blended with roasted rice.

Gong fu: These words mean skill and patience.  It is a style of brewing tea.

Gunpowder: Green tea rolled into tight pellet.

Guywan: A traditional Chinese lidded tea cup that also has a saucer.

Pekoe: A term that describes that largest leaves used to produce tea.

Plucking: The process of harvesting and collecting tea.

Polyphenols: Antioxidant compounds found in tea.

Rolling: The process where withered leaves are rolled to initiate enzymic oxidation.

Tippy: Term that denotes tea with white or golden tips.

Winey: Mellow quality, characteristic of Keemun teas that aged between six months to a year.

Withering: Operation that removes water from the tea plants.

Yixing: A region of China noted for its purple clay, which was used to produce the distinctive unglazed teapots used for gung fu style of brewing tea.

This is a nice and quick reference guide into the language of tea.  Was this helpful?