Picking tea in the Wuyi Mountains of China’s Fujian province. Photo courtesy The Meaning Of Tea





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March 2005
Last Updated August 2017

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages


Tea Glossary

Types Of Tea & Tea Terminology

Tea Glossary Page 1: Terms Beginning With A


Looking for a term for tea? You don’t have to understand the symbols and patterns of tasseomancy (the art of reading tea leaves)to grasp the language. Study the terms in this tea glossary and, whether you like tea hot or on ice, you’ll have a much greater appreciation for what goes into every cup or glass. This Tea Glossary is one of many of THE NIBBLE’s food glossaries. We hope you enjoy the others, as well.


Click on a letter to go to the appropriate glossary page:

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

This glossary is protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in whole or part.


The British meal taken mid-afternoon, consisting of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, cakes and pastries, plus tea. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, introduced the concept in 1840. As the main meal was shifted from midday to evening, English high society didn’t dine until 8 p.m. She needed something to tide her over during the stretch between lunch and dinner, and ordered tea with small sandwiches. Over time, her friends joined her, and Afternoon Tea became an elaborate social and gustatory affair with sweet and savory delicacies, special “tea cakes,” and even tea gowns to bridge the fashion between casual afternoon and formal evening dress. Not to be confused with high tea, a working class supper. In a seemingly ironic reverse of terms, afternoon tea is sometimes called “low tea” after the late afternoon feeling of low energy.


  Tea and Tart
A table set for afternoon tea, with finery and a delectable fruit tart. Photo courtesy TeaForte.com.

The residual taste left in the mouth after swallowing. Characteristics can range from sweet or spicy, smoky, light, heavy or long lasting.


A colorful expression that describes the unfurling of rolled or twisted leaves during steeping.


One of the major black tea producing regions in China.


The fragrant scent of the brewed tea or liquor, consisting of the released essential oils of the tea.


A state in northeastern India, known for its robust, high-quality black teas characterized by their strong, full, bright, red infusions and smooth, round, malty flavor. Tea is indigenous to the Assam region as well as to some parts of China. More about Assam, also  known as Irish breakfast tea.


Assam—also called Irish breakfast tea—is available from Mighty Leaf Tea.


The acrid or drying sensation in the mouth caused by teas high in unoxidized polyphenols.


Harvested teas are sold at auctions held in the regions in which the tea is grown—India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Kenya and Malawi, e.g. The London Tea Auction, which was held every Monday morning until its close in 1998, was the only true international tea auction, featuring teas from all over the world.


Teas harvested late in the growing season, in the cooler autumn weather—generally teas from India and Taiwan. See spring tea and summer tea.


Continue To Page 2: Tea Terms Beginning With B

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