Tea Glossary

This comprehensive tea glossary contains information to answer some of the most common tea related questions about types, regions, accessories, and processes used to make tea. Once you’ve got your tea glossary terms down, learn even more about tea in our Tea Knowledge section.

A-E    F-J    K-O    P-T    U-Z

A

Assam \æsæm\:

(n.) A black tea grown in the Northeast region of India. Assam is known for being strong and full-bodied with a robust flavor

Astringent \əˈstrɪndʒənt\:

(adj.) A tea tasting term indicating a pungent flavor caused by the presence of tannins

B

Black Tea:

(n.) Tea derived from the plant Camellia sinensis, most often sourced from China, East Asia, India and Sri Lanka. Black tea is characterized by the process of withering, rolling, oxidation and drying. It typically has the deepest color liquor and considered to have a higher caffeine content compared to white or green tea. Mighty Leaf's best selling black teas include Organic Breakfast, Organic Earl Grey, and Vanilla Bean

Blend:

(n.) A mixture of teas, flowers, herbs and spices, combined to achieve a specific flavor profile or taste

Body:

(adj.) A descriptive term indicating a tea that possesses the feeling of fullness in the mouth

Bright:

(adj.) A tea tasting term that indicates a lively flavor

Broken Orange Pekoe \ˈpiːkəʊ\:

An industry term used to describe a grade of tea where the leaves are broken to achieve a bolder flavor. Most often seen in Breakfast blends. (Orange, in this system, does not refer to the flavor nor the fruit)

B
C

Camellia sinensis \kəˈmiːlɪə\:

(n.) A special kind of evergreen tree or bush whose leaves and buds are used to produce tea. There are two principal varieties that are used in modern tea cultivation, Camellia sinensis sinensis, and Camellia sinensis assamica

Caffeine:

(n.) Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. The average cup of tea contains approximately 40mg of caffeine

Ceylon Tea \sɪˈlɒn\:

(n.) Tea grown in Sri Lanka

Chai \tʃaɪ\:

(n.) Chai is the Indian word for tea, however it is commonly used around the world to indicate a blend of black tea and spices. Chai tea often includes a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other spices, such as the Mighty Leaf Bombay Chai tea

D

Darjeeling Tea \dɑːˈdʒiːlɪŋ\:

(n.) Tea sourced from the Darjeeling region in India. The region is located at the base of the Himalayan Mountains, just to the west of Assam. Darjeeling tea is frequently called the “champagne of teas” and is characterized by its delicate hue and flavor. Darjeeling historically produces black teas, but has recently begun producing small lots of green and oolong teas as well

Dragonwell Tea:

(n.) Dragon well tea, a literal translation from the Mandarin name longjing, is one of the most popular Chinese teas. It is known for its high quality, so much so that during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912) it was given the status of “imperial tea”. It is characterized by a signature chestnut aroma and long-lasting aftertaste

Dull:

(adj.) A term used for describing a tea liquor color that is not clear or bright

Dust:

(n.) The lowest grade of tea, consisting of the smallest particles of tea left over after the sorting process

E

English Breakfast:

(n.) One of the most popular black tea blends, English Breakfast typically consists of tea from Assam and Sri Lanka. Mighty Leaf Organic Breakfast is aromatic and brisk, with a robust, hearty finish

Estate:

(n.) A plantation or garden where tea is grown

English Breakfast
f

Fannings:

(n.) A low grade of tea consisting of small pieces of tea that are left over from the sorting process. Fannings are a slightly higher grade than tea dust, but are still considered one of the lowest grades of tea

Fermentation:

A chemical transformation which alters the chemistry of tea leaves by exposing them to microbes. Fermentation typically mellows the taste of tea and reduces astringency and bitterness. The most famous type of fermented tea is pu’er, however some oolong teas are also fermented

Fine:

(adj.) Very high quality tea

Flavor:

(n.) Characteristic taste and aroma of tea

Flowery Orange Pekoe \ˈpiːkəʊ\:

(n.) An industry term used to describe a high quality grade of tea where the leaves are left whole and have few tips. One of the highest grades of tea, consisting of a large leaf size and few tips (Orange, in this system, does not refer to the flavor nor the fruit)

Flush:

(n.) Refers to the harvest season for teas. There are four major flushes (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter). The first flush is defined as the very first plucking of a tea plants harvest season, and is considered to be the optimal production time when the leaves are the youngest and most tender

Formosa Tea \fɔːˈməʊsə\:

(n.) Tea grown on the island of Taiwan

full:

(adj.) A strong tea with good color and no bitterness

G

Green Tea:

(n.) Tea derived from the plant Camellia sinensis, most often sourced from China and Japan. Green tea is characterized by a process where heat is applied to stop oxidation so the leaf retains its green color. Mighty Leaf is known for our whole leaf green teas, including Green Tea Tropical, Organic Spring Jasmine, and Organic Hojicha Green Tea

Gunpowder Tea:

(n.) A form of Chinese green tea that has been rolled into a small round pellet

H

Herbal Tea:

(n.) Also known as tisanes, herbal “teas” consistent of an infusion of herbs, spices, fruits, flowers, or other plants in hot or boiling water. Herbal teas are naturally usually caffeine free and do not contain any actual tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. Popular Mighty Leaf herbal teas include Organic African Nectar, Chamomile Citrus, and Ginger Twist

J

Jasmine Tea:

(n.) Jasmine tea is scented using jasmine blossoms. Green tea is typically used as the base for Jasmine scented teas, such as Mighty Leaf’s Organic Spring Jasmine, Jasmine Downy Pearls, and Jasmine Fancy

K

Keemun:

(n.) A fine grade of black tea from China, Keemun is a popular Chinese tea and is used in a number of classic blends

Jasmine Tea
L

Lapsang Souchong \ˈlæpsæŋ suːˈʃɒŋ\:

(n.) Black tea from China, Lapsang Souchong is a rich black tea made in the age-old tradition of slowly drying the leaves over burning pine that. It produces a unique, intensely smoky flavor

Light:

(adj.) Describes the color of tea liquor, which lacks depth of color. It may also refer to the taste of the tea

Liquor:

(n.) The liquid resulting from steeping tea leaves in water

Lot:

(n.) Teas offered under a single mark or serial number at any tea auction. Single or micro-lot teas from high end producers allow us to achieve distinctive, precise, and unique flavor profiles in our tea, such as the Tea & Company Fine Tea Collection of reserve lot teas by Mighty Leaf

M

Matcha \mat.tɕa\:

(n.) Matcha is an elegant powdered Japanese green tea commonly used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. It is popular for its distinctive vegetal flavor and health benefits

Muscatel \mʌskəˈtɛl\:

(adj.) A tea tasting term used to describe a flavor characteristic reminiscent of muscat grapes. It is considered a highly favorable characteristic, uniquely found in some Darjeeling teas

Matcha
N

Nose:

(n.) Connotes the aroma experienced when tea tasting

O

Oolong \ˈuːˌlɒŋ\:

(n.) Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea, which undergoes a withering and oxidation process. Oolongs oxidation level sits between green and black teas, being anywhere from 10%-80% oxidized. Can vary widely in flavor

Orange Pekoe \ˈpiːkəʊ\:

(n.) An industry term used to describe the main grade of tea where the leaves are left whole and have no tips. (Orange, in this system, does not refer to the flavor nor the fruit)

P

Pan-fired:

(n.) The process most widely utilized in China where the teas are heated and rolled in iron pans to stop the oxidation process

Pu’er (or Pu’erh):

(n.) A fermented Chinese black tea, also known as Hei Cha, produced in the Yunnan province of china. The leaves may be pressed into a unique discs or bricks. The Mighty Leaf Organic Ancient Trees Pu’er is pressed into shapes called Tuo Cha, or "bowl tea“. Puerh can be aged and enjoyed for years

Pungent:

(adj.) A tea tasting term describing a tea liquor with a marked briskness and an astringent effect, but without bitterness

Q

Quality:

(n.) In the tea industry, teas are graded according to the quality and condition of the tea leaves. The quality is evaluated based on the size, appearance, and wholeness of the leaves

 

R

Rich:

(adj.) A tea tasting term that describes a tea with a high quality, thick liquor

Russian Caravan:

(n.) Russian Caravan tea is not of Russian origin, but is a blend in the tradition of the 19th century Russian tea trade. Our Russian Caravan tea is a blend of Chinese and Indian black teas with a smooth, smoky flavor

S

Scented Tea:

(n.) Unlike flavoring or blending, scenting is a process where a scent is imparted into the tea leaves using smoke or flowers such as Jasmine, Rose, Mint, Lotus, Citrus, Smoke, and more. The flowers are removed at the end of the process and the tea retains an intoxicating aroma

Sencha:

(n.) The most popular type of Japanese green tea, Sencha is a whole leaf green tea characterized by a vegetal, almost grassy flavor

Smoky:

(adj.) A tea tasting term that describes an aroma or flavor of smoke

Strength/Strong:

(adj.) A tea tasting term that describes an intensity of flavor, color and aroma

Chamomile Citrus
T

Tannin \ˈtænɪn\:

(n.) Chemical compound frequently found in many species of plants, including tea. Tannins are known for their beneficial health properties and contribute to flavors of astringency in tea

Tea:

(n.) An aromatic beverage derived from the infusion of tea leaves (from the plant Camellia sinensis) usually using hot or boiling water

Tip:

(n.) The leaf bud of the plant Camellia sinensis, visually striking because of the fine downy hairs that cover it

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe:

(n.) An industry term used to describe a high quality grade of tea where the leaves are left whole with the highest proportion of tips

Tisane \tɪˈzæn\:

(n.) Also known as herbal “tea”, tisanes consistent of an infusion of herbs, spices, fruits, or other plans usually in hot or boiling water. Herbal tisanes are usually naturally caffeine free and do not contain any actual tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant

W

White Tea:

(n.) A style of tea that traditionally utilizes the buds (youngest growth) and has the least amount of processing. The term for White Tea has developed over time to include any tea that is plucked and dried with no rolling or oxidation process, though some oxidation may occur naturally. Mighty Leaf white teas include White Orchard and Tea & Company White Lotus

Withering:

(n.) A step in the processing of tea where the leaves are allowed to wilt after plucking to make it more malleable. The tea is then easier to roll, twist, and curl without completely breaking the leaves