Rooibos—or red bush—tea. This Rooibos Supreme is available at





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March 2005
Last Updated March 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages


Types Of Gourmet Tea & Tea Terminology

Tea Glossary Page 12: Terms Q & R


This is Page 12 of a 15-page glossary about gourmet tea and other tea types. Click on the links below to visit other pages. This Tea Glossary is one of our many food glossaries: see them all!

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

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Short for “cup quality,” this refers to a combination of the most desirable liquor qualities.

An uneven badly manufactured and graded tea.

A very coarse and harsh liquor.

A bitter, unpleasant taste.

See rooibos, below.

Red clover has been a valued medicine since ancient times as a detoxification herb or “blood cleanser.” In the 19th century it was valued for treating respiratory problems, colds, flues and infections. The tea, like that of licorice root, is used to treat gastrointestinal problems as a hydrocortisone cream replacement for alleviating skin inflammations and psoriasis.

Red Robe, or Da Hong Pao, is a famous oolong. It was named after an emperor sought to protect the tea plants with his red royal robes from a frost, after his ailing mother was supposedly healed by the tea’s medical powers. Learn more about oolong tea.

Tea (or coffee) with depth and complexity of flavor, full body, and an overall satisfying taste.

Black tea produced in Rize Province on the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey. It is mahogany in color. Prepared in a samovar, it can be served strong or weak in small glasses with cubed sugar.

The process of crushing the leaves to initiate fermentation and impart twist. Rolling helps to dry the tea leaves, and gives them their characteristic needle-like shape. The next and final step is finishing.

An herbal tea from Africa, pronounced roy-bus. Rooibos is an African slang word of Dutch origin meaning “red bush” because of the red color of the liquor; the tea is also called red tea or red bush tea. Rooibos leaves are harvested during the summer, then bruised and cut using tobacco cutting machines. At this stage, rooibos is still green tea. While some green rooibos is available, most is fermented in mounds of cut leaves, to enhance the flavor of the tea, then spread out to dry in the sunlight. Fermentation turns the tea red. Thus, the name “red bush” does not apply to the live plant since it the leaves are green until they are fermented.
  Rooibos Tea
A cup of brewed rooibos, showing its red liquor. Photo courtesy See the photo at the top of the page for rooibos leaves.

Rooibos can be found with a variety of infused flavors, including chai, citrus and Earl Grey. Like most herbals, it should be infused for five to seven minutes. See also honeybush tea.

While this term can refer to the heavier, Russian-style teas such as Russian Caravan Tea, it generally refers to the Russian way of taking tea in a glass, rather than a cup, with a slice of lemon instead of milk. It is classically served with a spoonful of cherry preserves to sweeten the tea, although sugar or honey can be used to sweeten it as well.

An African tea-growing nation, whose teas are largely used for blending purposes. Rwandan tea has a bright coppery color and brisk taste.


Continue To Page 13: Tea Terms Beginning With S

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