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General Tea Glossary
Black Tea - tea that has been fired or dried after the fermentation or oxidation period of manufacture.

Blend - a mixture of teas from different growths, or growths from different areas.

Blender - tea taster who decides on the proportions of each different tea required to produce the flavour of a given blend.

Break - an amount of tea, comprising a given number of chests or sacks of tea.

Broker - a tea taster who negotiates the selling of tea from producers, or the buying of tea for packers or dealers, for a brokerage fee from the party on whose behalf the broker is working.

Caddy - the name given to a tin or jar of tea which takes its name from the Chinese or
Malayan word 'catty' - a term used to describe the weight of one pound of tea. In the past, tea caddies were equipped with a lock and key.

Ceylon - blends grown on the island of Sri Lanka.

Cha - the word for tea derived from the Chinese and Indian languages.

Cloning - cuttings taken from old tea bushes to produce new tea bushes. Today, most tea bushes are grown from clones or cuttings taken from older bushes.

Dimbula - a tea growing district just above Dickoya, which gives its name to a blend of Ceylon teas from this area and is also used in Ceylon blends. Dimbula teas are black and characterised by their full-bodied flavour.

Earl Grey - a black China tea treated with the oil of bergamot, which gives the tea a scented aroma and taste. It was said to have been blended for, and named after the 2nd Earl Grey, by a Chinese mandarin after the success of a British diplomatic mission to China.

English Breakfast Tea - a name for the tea blend which originally applied to China Congou tea in the United States of America. In Britain it was a name applied to a blend of teas from India and Sri Lanka; today it is used to include blends of black teas producing a full-bodied, strong-flavoured, colourful tea.

Estate - a tea growing property or holding that may include more than one garden under the same management or ownership.

Garden - the name originally given to tea growing plantations or estates. The Japanese originally cultivated 'tea gardens' within their temples and palace grounds and had copied this idea from the Chinese.

Grade - term used to describe a tea leaf or particle size of leaf.

Green Tea - tea that is withered, immediately steamed or heated to kill the enzymes, then rolled or dried. It has a light appearance and flavour.

Gunpowder - normally a China tea, but today could be any young tea, which is rolled into a small pellet-size ball then dried. The finished tea has a greyish appearance, not unlike gunpowder in colour, which is how the tea gets its name.

Pan-fired - a kind of Japanese tea that is steamed, then rolled in iron pans over charcoal fires.

Plucking Plateau - the flat top of the tea bush from which the top two leaf and bud sprouts on sprigs are plucked.

Pruning - selective cutting back of the tea bush, so that it maintains its shape and helps to keep it productive.

Scented Tea - green, semi-fermented or black teas that have been flavoured by the addition of flowers, flower petals, fruits, spices or natural oils. Examples of these are
Jasmine Tea, Rose Puchong, Orange Tea, Cinnamon Tea or Earl Grey.

Semi-fermented Tea - tea that has been partially fermented before being fired or dried. The tea has the qualities and appearance halfway between a green and black tea.

Single Estate Tea - a blend of teas from one particular estate or garden.

Smoky Tea - a black tea from China of Formosa that has been smoked over a wood fire such as in the case of Lapsang Souchong.

Speciality Tea - a blend of teas that takes its name from the area in which it is grown;
a blend of tea blended for a particular person or event, or a blend of teas for a particular time of day.

Souchong - a large leaf black tea. Originating in China, Souchong tea was made from a small bush whose leaves were allowed to develop to a very large size.

Tannin - the name the tea trade worldwide gives to polyphenols contained in tea. Polyphenols are responsible for the pungency of tea and give its taste.

Tea Factory - factory where the plucked leaf is made or manufactured into black or green tea.

Tea Taster - an expert and involved in all stages of production, brokerage, buying, blending and final packaging.

Tip - the bud leaves on a tea bush.

Twankay - a low grade China green tea. This word was corrupted to Twanky, which was applied to the men manning the ships bringing the tea back from China. These ships often foundered on reaching the British coast and the bodies of the Twankys would be washed ashore, to be found by their widows - hence the name given to the Aladdin character 'Widow Twanky' by a Victorian impresario.

Uva - a tea growing district in Sri Lanka which produces a tea of great subtlety.

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