A Glossary of Common Tea Terms

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Camellia Sinensis
The plant from which all teas originate. Black, white, oolong and green tea all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Black Tea
The tea that is consumed the most. Black tea makes up 80% of tea consumption. This is the tea that is most oxidized.

Green Tea
This tea undergoes minimal processing and as a result most resembles the leaf that it comes from. It is steamed or fired before oxidation can occur.

Oolong Tea
This tea is allowed to wither and is partially oxidized before drying. Oolong falls between green and black tea.

White Tea
Known for having a high level of antioxidants. White tea is the least processed of all teas. It is immediately fired before any oxidation can occur.

Assam
A strong, black tea from India, often considered to be a wake up tea that should be consumed in the morning.

Afternoon Tea
A meal eaten in mid afternoon, mostly in Britain, that consists of sandwiches, scones, pastries and tea.

Artisan Teas
Refers to full leaf green, white and black teas that have been sewn into blossoms and bloom when steeped. Also known as blooming tea.

Chai
Black tea that has been blended with spices and steamed milk.This popular tea originated in India.

Darjeeling
High quality black tea grown in Northern India.

English Breakfast
A strong flavored, full bodied tea blend. This kind of tea is often served with sugar and milk. This is a delicious tea offered my many tea brands as their breakfast tea of choice.

Fermentation
This term is used to describe the processing of tea. This is the process by which oxidation occurs.

Jasmine
A tea that is a mix of green tea and jasmine flowers that are used to scent the tea.

Orange Pekoe
Tea that has a large leaf size. This term does not refer to flavor or quality of the tea.

Bergomot
An essential oil that is used to give tea an orangey flavor. Most commonly used in Earl Grey Tea.

High Tea
A meal served in the evening that consists of tea and savory dinner foods.

Infusion
The process by which the flavors and properties of tea and herbs are extracted into boiling water.

Blend
Two are more teas that have been combined together.

Pu-erh
An aged tea with leaves that have been specially fermented to produce a particular, earthy characteristic.