- Afternoon Tea - The name given to the
British meal taken mid-afternoon, comprising finger sandwiches,
scones cakes and pastries accompanied by tea. The 7th Duchess of
Bedford is reputed to have given birth to afternoon tea, early in
the 19th century, when she decided to take tea to stave off the
pangs of hunger she suffered between lunch and dinner.
- Amoy -Fulien oolong teas marketed at
- Anhwei, Anhui -One of the provinces in China
where tea is grown.
- Assam -A region in northeastern India, known
for its robust, high quality teas characterized by their smooth
round, malty flavour.
- Auction -Sale of tea in an auction room on a
stipulated date at a specific time. Tea auctions are held in India,
Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Kenya and Malawi- these auctions only sell
teas from their particular areas. The London Tea Auction, which was
held every Monday morning (barring public or bank holidays) in the
City of London until it's close in 1998 was the only true
international tea auction, where teas from all over the world were
- Autumnal -Teas harvested in autumn and touched
with cool weather. The term is normally applied to teas from India
- Ball tea -China tea compressed in a ball to
protect it against atmospheric changes.
- Basket-fired -Japan tea that has been cured in
baskets by firing or drying.
- Billy tea -Tea made by Australian bushmen in
- Bitter tea -Tea brewing method used in
Cashmere. Tea is boiled in a tinned copper vessel, red potash,
aniseed and salt are added before it is served from a brass or
copper, tin-lined teapot.
- Black tea -Tea that has been fired or dried
after the fermentation or oxidization period of
- Blender -Tea taster who decides on the
proportions of each different tea required to produce the flavour
of a given blend.
- Bohea -Tea from the Wu-i Hills in Fukien,
China. Originally was applied to black China tea and to tea from
Indonesia. In the 18th century Bohea (Bo-hee) was the name given to
the tea drink.
- Break -An amount of tea, comprising a given
number of chests or sacks of tea.
- Brick Tea -Common grades of China and Japan
tea mixed with stalk and dust and molded into bricks under high
pressure. Originally, these bricks were used by Asian travellers as
a convenient way of carrying the tea they needed to drink and the
bricks were also used to barter for other goods.
- Broker -A tea taster who negotiates the
selling of tea from producers, or the buying of tea for packers and
dealers, for a brokerage fee from the party on whose behalf the
broker is working.
- Butter Tea -Boiled tea mixed with salt and
soda, then strained into an urn containing butter and dried ground
cereal (often barley) and churned. Butter tea is served in a basin
and often a lump of butter is added when serving. It was served in
Tibet and then in India.
- Cachar -The most common variety of India tea,
produced in Cachar district of Assam.
- Caddy -The name given to a tin or jar of tea,
which takes its name from the Chinese or Malayan word 'catty'- a
term used to describe the weight of one pound of tea. In the past
tea caddies were equipped with a lock and key.
- Camellia sinensis -Today, the tea trade's
international botanical name for the tea plant.
- Caravan tea -Tea taken by camel from China to
Russia in the past.
- Ceylon -Blends of teas grown on the island of
Sri Lanka, which take their name from the colonial name for the
island. The traditional name of Sri Lanka was readopted by the
island when it became a Sovereign Republic in the Commonwealth in
- Cha -The word for tea derived from the Chinese
and Indian languages.
- Chanoyu -The word for tea derived from the
Chinese and Indian languages.
- Chest -Original tea package, normally made of
wood and lined with metal foil. Originally tea chests were lined
- Ching Wo -Black China tea from Fujien
Dry Tea Leaf
- Black -A black appearance is desirable
preferably with 'bloom'.
- Blackish -A satisfactory appearance for CTC
type teas. Denotes careful sorting.
- Bloom -A sign of good manufacture and sorting
(where reduction of leaf has taken place before firing) a 'sheen'
that has not been lost through over-handling or over-sorting.
- Bold -Particles of leaf which are too large
for the particular grade.
- Chunky -A very large broken-leaf tea.
- Clean -Leaf that is free from fibre, dirt and
all extraneous matter.
- Crepy -Leaf with a crimped appearance common
to larger grade broken-leaf teas such as BOP.
- Curly -Leaf appearance of whole leaf grade
teas such as OP, as distinct from 'wiry'.
- Even -Teas true to their grade, consisting of
pieces of leaf of fairly even size.
- Flaky -Flat open pieces of leaf often light in
- Grainy -Describes primary grades of well-made
CTC teas such as Pekoe dust.
- Leafy -A tea in which the tea tends to be on
the large or longish size.
- Light -Tea light in weight of poor density and
- Make -A term used to describe tea manufacture,
in tea-taster's terms a make that means a well-made tea or not true
to its grade.
- Mushy -Tea that has been packed or stored with
a high moisture content.
- Neat -A grade of tea having good make and
- Nose -Smell of the dry leaf.
- Powdery -Fine light dust as the tea people say
meaning a very fine light leaf particle.
- Stalk and Fiber -Bits of tea bush other than
the leaf which should be minimal in superior grades but are
unavoidable in lower-grade teas.
- Tip -A sign of fine plucking apparent in top
grades of tea.
- Wiry -Leaf appearance of a well-twisted, thin,
- Aroma -Smell or scent denoting 'inherent
character' usually in tea grown at high altitudes.
- Biscuity -A pleasant aroma often found in
- Bright -A lively bright appearance, which
usually indicates that the tea will produce a bright liquor.
- Coppery -Bright leaf that indicates a well
manufactured or make of tea.
- Mixed or Uneven -Leaf of varying colour.
- Tarry -A smoky aroma which should not be there
unless a Lapsang Souchong tea.
- Bitter -An unpleasant taste associated with
- Body -A liquor having both fullness and
strength as opposed to being thin.
- Bright -Denotes a lively fresh tea with good
- Brisk -The most 'live' characteristic. Results
from good manufacture.
- Character -An attractive taste, specific to
growth origin describing teas grown at high altitude.
- Coloury -Indicates useful depth of colour and
- Cream -A natural precipitate obtained as the
liquor cools down.
- Earthy -Normally caused by damp storage of tea
but can also describe a taste that is sometimes 'climatically
inherent' in teas from certain regions.
- Flat -Not fresh, usually due to age. Tea tends
to lose its characteristics and taste with age, unlike some wines
which mature with age.
- Flavour -A most desirable extension of
character caused by slow growth at high altitudes. Relatively
- Fruity -Can be due to over-fermenting during
manufacture and/or bacterial infection before firing or drying,
which gives the tea an over ripe taste. Unlike wines this is not a
desirable taste in tea.
- Full -A good combination of strength and
- Green -When referring to black tea liquor
denotes an immature 'raw' character. This is mostly due to under
fermenting and sometimes to under withering during
- Hard -A very pungent liquor, a desirable
quality in tea.
- Heavy -A thick, strong and coloured liquor
with limited briskness.
- High-Fired -Over fired or dried, but not bakey
- Light -Lacking strength and depth of
- Malty -Desirable character in some Assam teas.
A full, bright tea with a malty taste.
- Muscatel -Desirable character in Darjeeling
teas. A grapey taste.
- Point -A bright, acidic and penetrating
- Pungent -A stringent with a good combination
of briskness, brightness and strength.
- Quality -Refers to 'cup quality' and denotes a
combination of the most desirable liquoring qualities.
- Taint -Characteristic or taste that is foreign
to tea such as oil, garlic etc. Often due to the tea being stored
next to other commodities with strong characteristics of their
- Thick -Liquor with good colour and
- Woody -A grass or hay taste associated with
teas that have been under withered during manufacture and sometimes
referred to as 'woody.'
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