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Tea Terminology

Are you new to the wonderfully wide world of loose leaf tea? Are you confused by some of the terminology you are hearing and seeing? Does it all seem to be overwhelming?

Let me help you with that. Tea time should be stress-free and a fun experience. Below are just a few of the terms you may come across as you visit tea shops, tea rooms, and read tea blogs and books.

This is not an exhaustive list of terms and it is in no particular order but will get you started. If you would like to see something added here just drop us a line!

  1. Infusion: The process of steeping tea leaves in hot water to extract flavor and aroma.

  2. Steep/Steeping: The act of letting tea leaves soak in hot water to brew.

  3. Tea Varieties: Different types of tea, such as black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and herbal tea.

  4. Tea Grades: Classification of tea based on factors like leaf size, appearance, and quality.

  5. Caffeine Content: The amount of caffeine naturally present in tea, which can vary depending on the type of tea, quality of tea, temperature of water, length of steeping time, and the amount of tea leaves used.

  6. Flavor Profile: The taste and aroma characteristics of a particular tea, including notes like floral, fruity, earthy, or nutty.

  7. Origin: The region where tea is grown and produced, which can influence its flavor and quality.

  8. Brewing Parameters: Factors such as water temperature, steeping time, and tea-to-water ratio that affect the flavor and strength of brewed tea.

  9. Tea Accessories: Tools and equipment used for brewing and enjoying tea, such as teapots, tea strainers, tea infusers, and teacups.

  10. Tea Bag: A small, porous bag containing tea leaves, typically used for brewing individual servings of tea.

  11. Tea Leaves: The processed and dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant used to make tea.

  12. Terroir: The environmental factors, including soil, climate, and altitude, that contribute to the unique characteristics of tea grown in a specific region.

  13. Health Benefits: Potential health-promoting properties associated with drinking tea, such as antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins.

  14. Tasting Notes: Descriptive terms used to describe the flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel of brewed tea, similar to those used for wine tasting.

  15. Single Origin vs. Blends: Distinction between teas made from leaves grown in a single location versus blends that combine leaves from multiple regions.

  16. Decaffeinated Tea: Tea that has undergone a process to remove or reduce its caffeine content.

  17. Tea Culture: Cultural practices, customs, and traditions related to the consumption of tea around the world.

  18. Tea Gardens/Estates: Plantations or farms where tea is cultivated and harvested.

  19. Tea Etiquette: Guidelines and norms governing the proper behavior and manners when drinking tea, often varying by culture.

  20. Tea Pairings: Recommendations for pairing specific teas with food items to enhance the dining experience.

  21. Sustainability: Practices and initiatives within the tea industry aimed at promoting environmental conservation, fair labor practices, and social responsibility.

  22. Loose Leaf Tea: Tea leaves that are sold loose rather than in tea bags, allowing for more control over the brewing process.

  23. Tea Infuser: A device used to hold loose tea leaves during steeping, often in the form of a mesh ball, basket, or spoon-shaped strainer.

  24. Tea Blend: A mixture of different types or varieties of tea leaves, herbs, spices, or botanicals, often created to achieve a specific flavor profile.

  25. Herbal Infusion/Tisane: A beverage made from steeping herbs, flowers, fruits, or other plant materials in hot water, distinct from true tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant.

  26. Tea Ceremony: A formal or ceremonial ritual involving the preparation, serving, and consumption of tea, often associated with traditional tea-drinking cultures such as Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu) or Chinese tea ceremony (gongfu cha).

  27. Tea Master: An expert in the art and techniques of tea cultivation, processing, brewing, and appreciation.

  28. Tea Merchant/Retailer: A business that specializes in selling tea, including loose leaf tea, tea bags, tea accessories, and related products.

  29. Tea Subscription: A service that delivers curated selections of tea to subscribers on a regular basis, often tailored to their preferences and interests.

  30. Tea Sampler: A collection of different teas in small quantities, allowing consumers to sample and explore a variety of flavors and types.

  31. Tea Drunk: A colloquial term used to describe the euphoric or intoxicated feeling some people experience after drinking a large quantity of tea, often attributed to caffeine or other compounds in tea.

  32. Tea Blog: A website or online platform dedicated to discussing, reviewing, and sharing information about tea, including topics such as brewing techniques, tea varieties, health benefits, and tea culture.

These terms cover a wide range of aspects related to tea, from its cultivation and processing to its cultural significance and consumption.

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