A Tea Shoppe Glossary

agony of the leaves: the unwinding of twisted leaves during steeping

anhui: a major black tea producing region in China

aroma: fragrance of brewed leaves. Tea contains about 300 components many of which have desirable aromas

assam: tea grown in Assam, India. These teas are known for their deep red infusions

astringency: the drying sensation in the mouth caused by teas high in unoxidized polyphenols

autumnal: tea produced late in the growing season

bakey: overfired teas

banking: retention on the drained leaves of considerable liquor which may only be squeezed out

basket-fired: japanese tea that has been cured in baskets by drying

bergamot: essential oil of the bergamot orange used to make Earl Grey tea

billy: Australian tea pot

biscuity:teas that have been fired well

bitter:An unpleasant taste associated with raw teas

black: tea that has been dried after the fermentation period

blend: mixture of teas, usually to promote consistency between growing seasons

blistered: leaf which is swollen and hollow inside. Blisters are formed during the firing of leaf which has been dried too quickly

bloom: sheen or lustre present to finished leaf

body:full strength brew

bold: large leaf cut tea

brassy: unpleasant acidic bite from improperly withered tea

brick tea: tea leaves that have been steamed and compressed into bricks

bright: sparkling clear liquor. Denotes a good tea which has life as opposed to a dull looking leaf or liquor.

brisk: a tea high in astringency

broken: smaller leaf style

brownish: leaf which is brown in colour rather than black

burnt: an unpleasent taste of burnt organic matter in the liquor and a similar smell in the infused leaf

caddy: tin or jar of tea

caffeine: stimulating compound present in tea

cambric: a very weak tea infusion in an excess of milk and sugar

camellia sinensis: botanical name given to the tea bush

catechins: class of polyphenol present in high concentrations in green tea

catty: one pound of tea

ceylon: teas made in Sri Lanka

chai: strong black tea infused with milk, sugar, and spices

chanoyu: japanese tea ceremony or ritual

character: attractive taste, specific to growth origin describing teas grown at high altitude

chesty: off odor in tea from the wood in the tea chest

choppy: leaf chopped after processing in the breaker or cutter rather than in the roller

chunky: broken types that are too large in size

chunmee: grade of Chinese tea with a curled shape

clean: leaf that is free from fiber, dirt and all extraneous matter

cloning: cuttings taken from old tea bushes which are allowed to root and then are planted to produce new tea bushes. Many tea bushes are grown from clones or cuttings taken from older bushes

common: plain light and thin liquor with no distinct favor

congou: general name for Chinese black tea

coppery: bright infusion of good quality black tea

course: tea liquor with undesirable characteristics resulting from coarse plucked leaf or irregular firing

creepy: the principle term used to describe tea which is crimped in appearance

ctc: stands for Crush, Tear, and Curl, a machine-based process which macerates the leaves by pressing through counter-rotating rollers to create a stronger, more coloury tea

curly: whole leaf grades

darjeeling: tea grown in the Darjeeling region, a mountainous area around the Himalayas, of India. generally black teas known for their crisp astringency

dark: colour of liquor denoting a poor tea

denaturalised: tea which has been deemed unfit for consumption

dhool: tea leaf during fermentation, noted for its coppery color

dry: slight over-firing or drying during manufacture

dull: tea liquor that is not clear and bright

dust: the smallest grade of tea, typically associated with lower quality, prized for its quick extraction and commonly used in teabags

earl grey: black tea scented with essential oil of bergamot citrus

earthy: unpleasent liquor taste found in tea stored under damp conditions

empty: liquor lacking fullness. No substance

english breakfast: blends of black teas producing a full-bodied strong flavored colorful tea regardless of origin

even: tea leaf which is true to its grade

fannings: small, grainy particles of leaf sifted out of better grade teas

fermentation: used in the process of preparing black and oolong tea, involves allowing the natural browning enzymes present in a tea leaf to oxidize and impart the darker brown-red color and aroma

fibrous: teas which contain a large percentage of fannings

firing: the process of rapidly heating the leaf to quickly halt fermentation and dry the leaf to its final product

flaky: flat open pieces of leaf often light in texture

flat: teas lacking astringency or briskness

flowery: used in grading the size of tea, typically indicates a leaf style with lighter colored tips

flush: freshly-picked tea leaves, typically comprising the bud and first two leaves of the growing tea shoot

formosa: tea produced in Taiwan

fruity: can be due to overfermenting during manufacture and/or bacterial infection before firing or drying, which gives the tea an over ripe taste

full: strong tea without bitterness and posessing good color

gaiwan: traditional Chinese lidded tea drinking vessel with accompanying saucer

garden: an estate unit

garden mark: mark put on tea chest by the estate to identify its particular product

golden: orange colored tip present in high quality black tea

gone off: tea that is moulded, tainted, out of condition or old

gong fu: a style of brewing with many repeated short infusions

grade: used to describe a tea leaf or particle size of leaf

grainy: high quality CTC teas

green: unfermented, dried tea

grey: unattractive colour characteristic of black leaf that has undergone too much rubbing during sorting and cutting

gunpowder: green tea which is rolled into pellets which unfurl in hot water

gyokuro: Japanese green tea produced from shaded plants

hard: pungent tea

harsh: bitter tea

heavy: a thick, colory infusion with little briskness or astringency

herbal: mixtures of herbs and do not contain any tea leaves

high: over dried, but not bakey or burned

hyson: chinese green teas

ichiban-cha: first tea or first plucking

imperial: type of rolled Ceylon, black tea

infusion: process of extracting elements from tea, herbs, fruits or berries by submersing in boiling water

jasmine: black tea scented with jasmine flowers

jat: type of tea bush normally applied to its origin.

keemun: black tea from central China, hand rolled and fired

lacking: a neutral liquor with no body or pronounced characteristics

lapsang souchong: Chinese black tea which is dried over a smoky fire

leafy: whole leaves found in broken grades

lie: chinese mixture of willow and other spurious leaf with genuine tea leaf, fraudulently sold as tea

liquor: liquid that results from infusing the leaves with hot water

light: liquor lacking body or thickness

make: tea manufacture, a well-made tea or not true to its grade

malty: slightly over-fired tea

match: powdered green tea from Japan used in the Japanese tea ceremony

mature: no flatness or rawness in the liquor

metallic: coppery taste

mixed: uneven Leaf of varying color

muddy: dull, blackish color of the infusion

muscatel: a grape taste

mushy: a soft tea that has been packed too moist

musty: Tea that has been attacked by mildew

neat: grade of tea having good make and size

new: tea which has not had time to mature. Usually denotes some rawness in the infusion which may disappear when the tea is kept

nilgiri: district in the hills of southern India that produces black teas

nose: aroma of the tea

nuwarah eliyah: ceylon tea, high mountain grown at altitudes above 4000 ft sea level

oolong: A form of tea characterized by lighter brews and larger leaf styles. lightly fermented tea, between green and black tea on a continuum

orange pekoe: size of leaf, not quality or flavor, a larger-size grade of whole leaf teas

orthodox: prepared using a technique which leads to larger leaf styles mirroring hand-produced teas

pan fired: tea that is steamed and then agitated in an iron wok

pekoe: derived from baihao, the white hairs of the new buds on the tea shrub,the smaller-size grade of whole leaf teas

plain: dull liquor with sour taste

plucking: harvesting the tea by cutting the flush from the growing tea shrub

point: attractive brightness and acidity of liquor

polyphenols: astringent compounds present in tea

pouchong: scented Chinese or Formosan tea derived from the Cantonese method of packing tea in smaller paper

powdery: fine light dust meaning a very fine light leaf particle

pruning: selectively cutting back of the tea brush, so that it maintains its shape and help increase yield

pu erh: a type of tea most notably from the Yunnan province of China. Damp green tea that has been fermented microbiologically to a black leaf

pungent: very astringent tea

ragged: uneven leaf in a grade

rasping: very coarse and harsh liquor

rawness: bitter taste

rolling: crushing the leaves to initiate fermentation and impart twist

rooibos: harvested in the wilds of South Africa

sappy: fully juicy liquor

scented: green semi fermented or black teas that have been flavored by adding flower petals, fruits spices and/or natural oils

self drinking: rounded, well bodied tea that can be served unblended

semi fermented: partially oxidized before being fired and dried

sencha: popular variety of green tea in Japan

silver tip: visible buds in the made tea, coloured silver

smoky: teas that have been fired over smoky flames

soft: underfermented teas

souchong:large leaf teas derived from the third and fourth leaf of the tea shoot

stalk: teas with presence of red stalk pieces from a hard plucking

stewed: soft liquor with undesirable taste that lacks point

strength: thick liquor, pungent and brisk

sweaty: disagreeable taste

sweet: light characteristics in a liquor

tannin: erroneous term referring to the astringent polyphenols of tea

tarry: teas that have been fired over smoky flames

tea: tender leaves, and bud of the plant Camellia Sinesis, prepared and cured by recognised methods of manufacture

tea tree: tea bush or plant which has been allowed to return to its wild state and grow back into a tree

theaflavins: orange red potyphenols unique to fermented teas such as black tea, and formed from the condensation of two catechins

theanine: unique amino acid in tea

theine: caffeine

thick: liquor with good color and strength

thin: insipid light liquor that lacks desirable characteristics

ti kuan yin: distinctive type of oolong tea typically longer-fermented and possessing a darker-colored

tip: ends of leaves on a tea bush

tippy: teas with white or golden tips, indicating high quality tisane

tisane: herbal tea

tuocha: a form of brick tea comprised of pu-erh tea pressed into a bowl shaped cake

twist: before fermentation, the leaves need to be crushed to initiate oxidation. This imparts the curled appearance of the finished leaf

two and a bud: the ideal plucked tea for production, consisting of the new tea shoot and the first two leaves

uneven: tea leaf composed of irregular shaped pieces indicating bad sorting

weak: a thin liquor. Often due to over withering or under fermenting

weedy: A grass taste associated with teas that have been under withered during manufacture

white: a special type of green tea. Distinguished by the presence of the white hairs of the tea flush (baihao) and a lighter green, almost clear, infusion. White teas are known for their high antioxidant content and subtle flavor.

winey: mellow quality, characteristic of some teas which have been given time to age

wiry: well twisted, thin leaf

withering: letting the fresh leaves wither after plucking to reduce moisture content. The operation which removes moisture from the recently plucked leaves making them less brittle and preparing them for further processing.

woody: undesirable grass flavor in black tea

yunnan: black teas are known for their spicy character