Tea Tasting terms: Tea acronyms
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TEA GLOSSARY, TEA TERMS AND TEA ACRONYMS: TEA TASTING TERMS

"Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world." - T'ien Yiheng
"A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water." - Chinese Proverb
"Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea." - Henry Fielding
Tea glossary - acronyms, terms, meanings

TEA TERMS and TEA ACRONYMS

Agony of the leaves:

This is a phrase associated with the unfurling of rolled and twisted tea leaves during steeping.


Aroma:


A fragrance or a sweet scent produced from the dry or infused leaf. Non-volatile matters are generally apt and suitably responsible for the test whilst the more volatile components constitute the aroma.


Assam :


A region situated on the northeastern frontier of India. The place is known for its strong, superior teas essentially known by their smooth round, malt like flavour.


Astringency:


The parched or drying effect in the mouth caused by teas high in unoxidized polyphenols. This is a common factor in most of classic graded Darjeeling First Flush tea.


Autumnal:


Teas harvested in the cooler weather of Sept-November and harvested during autumn season. This Autumnal season relates to the Autumn Flush tea season of Darjeeling Teas.


Bakey:


Over-fired teas; an expression used by the tea tasters


Bergamot:


Oil extract from the bergamot orange essentially used to flavor a black tea base to procure or make Earl Grey tea


Billy:


Australian expression for a tin pot with wire handles to hang over an open fire in which tea is boiled.


Biscuity:


Tea taster's term frequently used with Assam teas that have been well fired, but not overly so.


Black:


Is the most available type of tea worldwide eg. Darjeelings. This concoction is prepared from green tea leaves, from the plant 'Camellia sinensis', which have been permitted to oxidize or ferment.


Blend:


Many varieties of tea mixed in order to facilitate uniformity between growing seasons.


Bloom:


A sign of good production and sorting (where diminution of leaves have taken place prior to firing), a “luster” that has not been misplaced through excessive handling or extreme-sorting.


Body:


Full strength brew according to a tea taster's term.


Bold:


Large leaf cut tea.


Brassy:


Foul acidic bite from inappropriately withered tea.


Break:


Auction expression denoting a 'lot' for sale, approximately 18 chests or more.


Brick tea:


Tea leaves that have been condensed after being steamed into bricks. Tea characteristically shaved and boiled with butter and salt to prepare soup. This is commonly known as 'Tibetan Tea' or 'Bhote Chiya' (in Nepalese language) in Darjeeling.


Bright:


Refers to a bright red concoction or light leaf, in contrast to a dull brown or black color.


Brisk:


A tea high in its astringency.


Broken:


Miniature leaf style usually formed whilst manufacture by passing the leaf through a cutter


Caddy:


A tin or jar of tea, which acquires its term from the Chinese or Malayan word ‘catty’ – term used to elucidate the weight of one pound of tea. In the yester years, tea caddies were furnished with a lock and key.


Caffeine:


Stimulating and energizing component present in tea and coffee.


Cambric tea:


A very weak tea brew in a blend of excess of milk and sugar.


Catechins:


Class of polyphenol present in tea.


Ceylon :


Teas manufactured and produced in Sri Lanka.


Cha:


The indigenous and the native term exclusively used by Indians and Chinese


chai:


The word 'chai' is often used in India for tea. It often denotes “masala chai” or spiced tea - a strong black tea brewed with milk, sugar, and spices.


Chest:


A typical tea package, made of wood and aluminum foil lined inside and specially used to ship tea or transport tea from plantation. Some plantations now use huge and strong paper bags lined with aluminium foil inside instead of the chest.


Chesty:


Denotes off odor acquired in tea from the wooden tea chest - its a tea taster's term.


Coppery:


Bright brew or concoction of superior quality black teas such as Darjeeling teas.


CTC:


Refers to 'Crush, Tear and Curl' (CTC), a machine-oriented procedure which breaks the leaves by compressing through counter-rotating rollers to create a robust and coloury tea.


Darjeeling :


A tea growing area in the foothills of the Himalayas in north-eastern India. Teas grown here imbue their name from the area and are termed to be the 'Champagne of Teas'. Grown at altitudes up to 7,000 ft (1291 m) above sea level, Darjeeling tea is reputed as the most expensive and exclusive tea, radiant in colour with a soft and smooth muscatel flavour and aroma.


Dust:


the smallest and the lowest grade of tea, this is characteristically associated with inferior quality tea, but is prized for its quick extraction and strong brew. This is commonly used in teabags.


Earl Grey:


Black tea that is made fragrant with the essential oil of a citrus, bergamot.


Fannings:


Tiny, granular particles of leaf sieved out of superior graded teas.


Fermentation:


Is a procedure of making black and oolong tea, this process involves the natural browning enzymes present in tea leaf to oxidize fresh green tea leaves to give darker brown-red color and the typical aroma.


Fibrous:


Teas which has a large quantity of fannings.


Firing:


The process of continuous heating of tea leaf, either with hot air or in a wok, to swiftly curb fermentation and dry the leaf to its last product.


Flat:


Teas devoid of astringency or briskness.


Flowery:


Used in grading the size of tea, it characteristically shows a leaf style with greater quantity of the lighter colored tips.


Flush:


The freshly-picked tea leaves, having the bud and first two leaves of the tea shoot.


Formosa :


Typical oolong teas from Taiwan.


Full:


Strong tea without bitterness and comprising good color.


Genmaicha:


Green tea with toasted rice.


Golden:


Denotes the orange colored tip seen in exclusive and highly graded black teas.


Gong fu:


means performed with care and concern, this characteristically refers to a style of infusion with many repetitions of short brewing.


Grade:


Term used to define a tea leaf or size of leaf.


Grainy:


Term used to elucidate good quality CTC teas.


Green:


Unfermented, dried tea, generally found in China and Japan .


Gunpowder:


A green tea rolled into pellets which unfurls in hot water.


Gyokuro:


Japanese green tea procured from shaded plants, "Pearl Dew".


Harsh:


Bitter teas.


Heavy:


A thick colored infusion with little briskness or astringency.


Hyson:


Chinese green teas commonly used during the 18th century. "Flourishing spring".


Jasmine:


Black tea made fragrant with jasmine flowers, classically produced with green Pouchong tea.


Keemun:


Chinese black tea from central China, characteristically hand rolled and fired.


Lapsang Souchong:


Black tea from China which is fired (dried) over a smoky (pine wood) fire to give its typical smoky flavor.


Light:


Liquor devoid of body or thickness.


Matcha:


Japanese powdered green tea used in Tea Ceremonies.


Malty:


Slightly over-fired tea, sometimes pleasing and sought after.


Metallic:


Refers to coppery flavour of some teas - a tea taster's term.


Muddy:


Indicates tea taster's reference to a dull, blackish color of the infusion.


Nose:


The fragrance of the tea.


Oolong:


A type of tea typically showed by lesser infusion and larger leaf styles. This tea is characteristically understood as a lightly fermented tea, between green and black tea on a variety.


Orange Pekoe:


Refers to size of leaf and not quality or flavor, this term refers to a larger-size grade of whole leaf teas.


Orthodox:


Is made using a procedure which leads to larger leaf styles reflecting hand-produced teas. Darjeeling teas are orthodox teas.


Pan fired:


Tea that is steamed and then agitated in an iron wok over a fire.


Pekoe:


Whole leaf black tea created by a medium plucking of the second leaf on the tea bush. The word Pekoe is derived from China which means ‘white hair’ and was initially functional in the early tea pluckings; this was due to the white down on the backs of the young leaf tea.


Plain:


Tea taster's reference to dull liquor with tartly taste.


Plucking:


The method of harvesting the tea by desiccating the flush from the developing tea shrub. There are 4 Darjeeling Tea plucking seasons in Darjeeling, namely First Flush, Second Flush, Moonsoon and Autumn Flush


Polyphenols:


Astringent compounds found in tea.


Pungent:


Tea taster's reference to a very astringent tea.


Rawness:


Sour taste.


Rolling:


The procedure of compressing the leaves to augment fermentation and give a twist. One of the processes in tea manufacture.


Self drinking:


Tea that can be served unblended due to its rounded, well bodied nature.


Smoky:


Tea taster's term for teas that have been fired over smoky flames, bestowing a smoky flavor and an aroma.


Soft:


Tea taster's expression for teas that are under-fermented.


Sorting:


The fifth stage in tea production. The dried leaf is sorted by machine by sifting the unassorted leaf size granules or grades through various size meshes.


Souchong:


Term for large leaf teas procured from the third and fourth leaf of the tea shoot.


Stalk:


Illustrates teas with red stalk pieces as a result of cumbersome plucking.


Tannin:


Invalid term used in reference to the astringent polyphenols of tea, disparate to tannic acid polyphenols of other plants.


Tarry:


Tea taster's expression for teas that have been fired over smoky flames, producing a smoky flavor.


Tat:


Wire mesh shelf or burlap used to spread and separate the leaves out for withering and fermentation.


theaflavins:


orange red polyphenols exclusive to fermented teas such as black tea, and produced from the compression of two catechins.


theanine:


Exceptional and special amino acid in tea.


theine:


Another word for caffeine.


Tip:


The bud leaves on a tea bush


Tippy:


Teas with golden tips or white tips, showing superior quality.


Twist:


To initiate oxidation the leaves need to be crushed before fermentation. This gives the curled facade of the concluded leaf.


Two and a bud:


The idyllic plucked tea for manufacture, comprises of the fresh and new tea shoot and the initial two leaves.


White:


An unique and exception type of green tea revealed by the existence of the white hairs of the tea (baihao) and a translucent green, almost clear, concoction.


Winey:


Soft and delicate quality, classically of some Keemun teas which have been allowed time to mature.


Withering:


The primary process in tea production in the tea factory. This procedure incorporates allowance of the fresh leaves to wither for some duration of time after plucking to decrease moisture.


Woody:


Tea taster's expression indicating a disagreeable grass or hay flavor in black tea.

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