Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tea History and Tea Etiquette Glossary

Depiction of an afternoon tea, circa 1890s

AFTERNOON TEA
A traditional British snack taken during the late afternoon, at which tea, cakes, and biscuits are consumed. Afternoon tea is characterized by fine china, good manners, and polite conversation. The tradition is believed to have been started by the Duchess of Bedford during the first half of the nineteenth century.

AROMA
An important consideration in cupping teas is the smell that is given off. A favourable aroma is most often associated with a flavourful taste.

ASSAM
A black tea grown in the Northeast section of India. A strong full-bodied tea with a rich, robust flavour. Chosen by many tea lovers to be a wake-up tea to be consumed in the morning. Often used in blends because of its strong taste.

BANCHA
A Japanese tea made from coarse leaves, usually from the last plucking. This tea is generally consumed domestically.

BEDFORD, ANNA, 7TH DUCHESS OF
(see Duchess of Bedford)

BERGAMOT
A four-metre high citrus tree (Citrus bergamia) grown in southern Italy that produces a bitter, orange-like fruit. The fruit is not eaten fresh, but can be made into marmalades and liqueurs. Bergamot oil is the key aromatic ingredient of the famous Earl Grey blend of tea.

BILLY TEA
A style of tea originally brewed by the early Australian settlers, so named after the billy (can) in which the beverage is made.

BLACK TEA
The world's most commonly produced tea, originally developed in China. Black tea is processed in four stages: withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. Of the three major tea types (black, oolong, and green), black tea undergoes the longest process of oxidation.

BLECHYNDEN, RICHARD
The man who inadvertently invented iced tea. Blechynden was an expatriate Englishman with a tea stall at the 1904 St Louis World Fair. His hot tea was not selling in the hot weather, so he added ice cubes as a last resort.

BODHIDHARMA
Sixth century Indian Buddhist monk who, according to Indian and Japanese myth, discovered tea. Bodhidharma was born near Madras and traveled to China in 520, where he met the emperor.
Depiction of the "Boston Tea Party"

BOSTON TEA PARTY
An act of defiance by American patriots against the Tea Act of 1773. In December of that year, a group of colonists boarded British ships in Boston harbour and tossed 342 chests of East India Company tea into the water. Their action hastened the approach of the American War of Independence.

BRAGANZA, CATHERINE OF
(see Catherine of Braganza)

BRICK TEA
(see compressed tea)

BRUCE, CHARLES
Charles Bruce and his brother, Robert, were employees of the East India Company. They persuaded the Company to grow the native variety of tea plant, Camellia sinensis var assamica, in India instead of the Chinese variety, Camellia sinensis. The trials were a success which launched the Indian tea industry.

BRUCE, ROBERT
(see Bruce, Charles)

CADDY
A lidded receptacle for storing tea in the home. A corruption of the Malay word 'kati' which was adopted (originally as 'catty') by the East India Company as a standard weight of tea (roughly 0.6kg). When tea was at its most expensive, caddies included a lock, for which there was only one key entrusted to the lady of the house.

CAFFEINE
A component of tea, which stimulates the nervous system. A cup of tea averages 40 milligrams of caffeine versus approximately 110 in a cup of coffee.

CAMELLIA SINENSIS
An evergreen plant, native to China and formerly known as Thea sinensis. Both green and black teas come from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, although Europeans were not aware of the botanical connection until the mid-nineteenth century.

CAMELLIA SINENSIS VAR ASSAMICA
A subspecies of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, which is native to north-eastern India. The Indian tea industry is based on Camellia sinensis var assamica.

CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA (1638-1705)
Wife of Charles II and daughter of the Duke of Braganza, who later became King John IV of Portugal. Catherine married Charles II in 1662 and brought the Portuguese custom of drinking tea to the English Court. She bore no children and returned to Portugal after Charles' death.

CEYLON
The common name of teas grown in Sri Lanka.

CHAI
A blend of black tea with various spices and steamed milk as commonly drunk in India. Also, a common name for 'tea'.

CHARLES II (1630-85)
King of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1660-85). Although his wife, Catherine of Braganza introduced tea-drinking to the English Court, Charles was monarch when Parliament first introduced the tea taxes that eventually reached 119%.

CHEST
Traditional way of packing bulk teas. Usually made of wood with an aluminum lining.

CHINA OOLONG
A select blend of large leaf teas from China.

CHOP
From the Hindi; means to stamp. A chop of tea means a certain number of chests all carrying the same brand. Each chop of tea should have the same characteristics rather than the same brand. The teas would be from the same batch of manufacture.

CLIPPER
(see tea clipper)

 
Clotted cream is an essential ingredient of a cream tea.

CLOTTED CREAM
A type of thick cream with a yellowish crust from the English counties of Devon and Cornwall. Clotted cream is an essential ingredient of a cream tea. It contains an average fat content of 63% (the minimum is 55%) and is produced by cooking full-fat milk over a bain-marie.

COFFEE HOUSE
Coffee houses were popular places for drinking and socializing in England during the second half of the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth centuries. Competition between them was fierce. Many coffee houses prospered by catering for a specific clientele; some of them developed into important City institutions. Custom forbade women to enter the masculine world of the coffee house.

COMMUTATION ACT 1784
An Act of Parliament that ended 100 years of punitive tea taxes. William Pitt, acting on the advice of Richard Twining, introduced the Act to counter the evils of tea-smuggling and to generate increased revenues through legitimate sales of tea.

COMPRESSED TEA
Solid cakes of tea, first produced in China during the Tang Dynasty. Compressed teas take many shapes, including bricks and balls. Modern tea bricks are made by the hydraulic compression of tea dust.
The indulgence of tea, scones and clotted cream.

CREAM TEA
A popular feature of British social life, combining the gentility of afternoon tea with the indulgence of scones and clotted cream.

D'AETH, THOMAS
A wealthy merchant of the East India Company who employed Thomas Twining and introduced him to tea and coffee, the new drinks from the East.

DARJEELING
A very high quality black tea grown in the Himalayan Mountains in North India. It is most often referred to as the champagne of teas.

DENGYO DAISHI
A Japanese Buddhist monk who spent two years (803-5) in China. He returned to Japan with tea seeds which he planted at his monastery. It is said that he later served the new drink to the Emperor Saga, who ordered tea to be grown more widely.

DEVEREUX COURT
The site of Tom's Coffee House, Thomas Twining's original coffee house. Devereux Court was situated just off London's Strand. The location no longer exists, although adjacent buildings eventually became Twinings shop at 216 Strand.
Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford

DUCHESS OF BEDFORD
It is said that Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford invented afternoon tea sometime during the 1840s. Although her simple pot of tea with a light snack was originally introduced to counteract her hunger pangs, it soon developed into a popular social occasion among the fashionable classes.

EARL GREY (1764-1845)
Charles, 2nd Earl Grey was Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. He was a great reformer, but best-known for the blend of tea that still bears his name. The blend was a gift from a grateful Chinese mandarin. When his original supply ran out, Earl Grey asked his tea merchants, Twinings, to recreate it for him.

EAST INDIA COMPANY
A private company that had a monopoly over British trade with the East. The Company was granted its exclusive charter in 1600 by Elizabeth I, and was dissolved in 1858. The East India Company had a profound effect on the history of tea, initially through its control of the Anglo-Chinese tea trade, latterly by introducing tea-production to India..

GARRAWAYS
A London coffee house owned by Thomas Garway from which tea was sold in 1660.

GARWAY, THOMAS
An early dealer in tea, based in London. In 1658, he advertised tea at a London coffee house known as the Sultaness Head. Two years later, he was selling tea at his own coffee house, Garraways.

GEORGE III (1738-1820)
George III was a king who liked to govern as well as reign. His determination not to grant concessions to North American colonists led Lord North to introduce the Tea Act of 1773. The Boston Tea Party was a response to the Tea Act. American Independence followed a few years later.

GOLDEN LYON
A symbol erected by Thomas Twining over his dry tea and coffee shop at 216 Strand. The lion, which became a timeless emblem of the Twinings company, still sits today above the shop at 216 Strand.

GREEN TEA
A type of tea in which the leaves are withered, rolled, and fired but, unlike black or oolong, are not subject to a process of oxidation. Green tea most resembles the original green leaf. Green tea originated in China. Production is still confined to a few

GREY, CHARLES, 2ND EARL
(see Earl Grey)

GUNPOWDER
A type of green tea which had been rolled into pellets.

GYOKORU TEA
A prized Japanese green tea considered to be Japan’s finest grade of green tea, usually reserved for special occasions. The tea undergoes special handling at every stage of its growth where leaves are picked after a period of shading that concentrates the chlorophyll to provide a deep green colour and a sweeter taste. These teas are hand-fired resulting in tea which is rich to the taste and pleasing to the eye.

HIGH TEA
A heavier version of afternoon tea, first developed as a grander, three-course meal. Whereas afternoon tea retained an aura of middle-class gentility, high tea became 'tea', the main cooked meal of the day for the working classes, eaten when the breadwinner returned from work.

HOGARTH, WILLIAM (1697-1764)
An influential British artist who trained as an engraver. His depiction of the effects of cheap gin, for instance, led to immediate legislation. Hogarth was a customer of Thomas Twining and, during his early career, found that he could not meet his bills. The solution was to paint a portrait in oils of Thomas Twining.

HORNIMAN, JOHN
The man who, in 1826, introduced pre-packaged tea. Horniman's presealed, lead-lined tea packets did not immediately find favour with grocers, so he sold his tea to pharmacists and apothecaries.

HYSON, YOUNG HYSON
A Chinese green tea named for the East India merchant who first sold it in England. Young Hyson is generally preferred to Hyson.
Iced tea is believed to be invented at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair by expatriate Englishman, Richard Blechynden.

ICED TEA
Fresh-brewed tea served in a tall glass with ice cubes, a slice of lemon slotted to the rim, and a long spoon for stirring in sugar or honey. Iced tea was invented at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair by an expatriate Englishman called Richard Blechynden. It is the most popular way of drinking tea in America.

ILEX PARAGUARIENSIS
(see maté)

INFUSION
Infusion is a common name used for herbal teas, but it is also used in tea tasting to refer to the 'infused' tea leaves after brewing.

INSTANT TEA
Developed in the 1930s and commercialized in the 1950s, instant tea sacrifices nuances in fragrance and flavour for convenience.

JASMINE
The Chinese use green tea as the base to which Jasmine flowers are used to scent tea. The finest Chinese Jasmine is called Yin Hao and Chun Hao. Fromosa Jasmines use Pouchong teas as a base. Pouchong is allowed to wither for a longer period of time (than Green) before it is fired which places it between Green and Oolong.

LONDON TEA AUCTION
A daily tea auction held in London until 1998. The first tea auctions were held quarterly under the control of the East India Company. Independence from the Company came in 1834. The sales ended because tea was increasingly auctioned offshore or in the producer countries.

LONDON TEA DEALERS
An eighteenth-century trade association of tea dealers. Richard Twining was Chairman of the association when William Pitt came to power. He persuaded Pitt to introduce the Commutation Act of 1784.

LORD NORTH (1732-92)
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford was Prime Minister from 1770 to 1782. His approach to the American colonies matched that of his king, George III. It was Lord North who imposed the Tea Act of 1773 that led to the Boston Tea Party.

MATCHA TEA
A powdered green tea drunk in Japan, especially at the Tea Ceremony where it is whisked into a frothy green liquor. Matcha, which has a short shelf-life, is produced by milling tencha tea.
Maté is drunk through a bombilla straw/strainer,  from a gourd-shaped drinking vessel.

MATÉ
A tea-like drink enjoyed by the gauchos of Argentina. Maté is an infusion of Ilex paraguariensis, a South American species of holly. It is drunk through a straw from a gourd-shaped drinking vessel.

NAVIGATION ACTS
A series of Acts of Parliament that regulated navigation and controlled commerce at British ports. The Acts ensured that only British ships landed imported goods. Their repeal in 1849 brought foreign competition into the British tea trade.

NORWICH CASTLE MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
(see Twinings Teapot Gallery).

OOLONG TEA
A less common type of tea produced in four stages: withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. Of the two tea types that are oxidized (black and oolong), oolong undergoes the shortest process of oxidation. Oolong is sometimes known as semi-fermented brown tea. The term is of Chinese origins and means Black Dragon.

ORANGE PEKOE
Is used to identify a large leaf size. The tea is characterized by long, thin, wiry leaves, which sometimes contain the white or yellow tip of the leaf bud.

ORGANOLEPTIC
The process used by most tea tasters to evaluate the quality of a tea using all the senses.

POUCHONG
Some of the finest quality and high priced teas. A very fragrant tea, which is also used as a base for making jasmine tea.

RANELAGH GARDENS
A popular tea garden which opened in 1742 and remained fashionable throughout the eighteenth century. In 1765, the nine-year-old Mozart performed there. The site is now home to the annual Chelsea Flower Show.

ROOIBOS
A red-coloured, tea-like infusion drunk in South Africa. Rooibos (pronounced 'roy-boss') is made from the leaves of Aspalathus linearis, a low-growing bush from the Cedarberg Mountains of the Western Cape. The plant was first identified in 1772 by the Swedish botanist, Carl Thunberg.

RUSSIAN CARAVAN
A blend of China Black Teas. Although there is little consistency between available blends in the marketplace.

SABI
Tranquillity; one of the principles established by Sen Rikyú that underpin the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
 

The Samovar Tradition

Since the 17th century, when the custom of drinking tea migrated to Russia from China, Russians have taken the tradition of enjoying tea to heart, focusing on the samovar.  A samovar is a large metal urn that heats water with burning charcoal or wood, or, more recently, electricity. On top rests a teapot in which a strong tea is brewed.  Each cup is served by diluting this concentrate with hot water from the samovar’s spigot, then sweetening it with honey, sugar or jam.  Supremely functional and almost ubiquitous (in homes, offices and restaurants, aboard trains, even on street corners), samovars are beloved works of art.  A samovar in the center of the table symbolizes home, comfort and good times. Families traditionally gathered around their tables on Sunday afternoons to share strong tea, a meal and news of their week.

SAMOVAR
An ornately decorated Russian tea urn that supplies hot tea throughout the day. Samovars consist of a metal urn containing water, topped by a cradle that holds a teapot. Heat comes from an internal charcoal-burning pipe. Modern samovars are heated electrically.

SCONE
A traditional type of flour-based baked bun, with a sweet and crumbly texture halfway between bread and cake. The scone (pronounced 'skon') is an essential ingredient of cream tea. Recipes vary and may include currants or sultanas.

SELF-DRINKING
Describes an original tea which is palatable in itself and does not necessarily require blending before being consumed by the public.

SEN RIKYÚ (1522-1591)
The greatest exponent of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Sen Rikyú took the ritual back to the simple modesty of its founders. He established the principles of wabi and sabi that underpin the ceremony.

SERICA
A tea clipper built in Greenock by Robert Steele in 1863. The Serica competed in the famous clipper race of 1866, taking 99 days to travel from Foochow to London. The Serica came third, a couple of hours behind the Taeping and the Ariel.

SHENNONG
(see Shen Nung)

SHEN NUNG, EMPEROR
Chinese legend attributes the discovery of tea to the Emperor Shen Nung (pronounced 'Shay-Nung' and sometimes written 'Shennong') in 2737 BC. Although Shen Nung is widely regarded as a scholar and a herbalist, it was imperial etiquette that gave him credit for the discovery. In those days all good ideas were attributed to the Emperor.

SILVER TIP PEKOE
A very costly tea from China made from full-grown buds of a special bush. This is also referred to as White Tea.

STRAND, 216
The site of Twinings dry tea and coffee shop since 1717. After three centuries, the shop (together with the associated Twinings Museum) remains as fascinating and lively as ever.

STRENGTH METER
A row of leaves found on Twinings teas that indicates the expected flavour strength of the tea inside the box ranging from one-two leaves as light, three as medium, four as robust and five as strong.

SUEZ CANAL
A 169km canal linking the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. The Canal was built between 1859 and 1869 by the Suez Canal Company under the supervision of the French engineer, Ferdinand de Lesseps. Unreliable winds in the Red Sea forced the tea clippers to take the long route round southern Africa, while steamships took full advantage of the newly-opened shortcut.

SULLIVAN, THOMAS
A New York tea importer who sent samples of tea to his customers in small silk bags. His customers were soon asking to buy their tea in bags.
The earliest-recorded advertisement for tea was posted in 1658 by Thomas Garway.

SULTANESS HEAD
A London coffee house at which the earliest-recorded advertisement for tea was posted in 1658 by Thomas Garway.

SUMATRA
Tea grown on the island of Sumatra. Gradings and characteristics are similar to Java teas.

SUN TEA
A late twentieth-century version of iced tea that originated in the southern states of the US. Cold water and tea bags are placed in a glass-capped pitcher and left to infuse in direct sunlight for a couple of hours.

TAEPING
One of the most successful British tea clippers, built at Greenock by Robert Steele in 1863. The Taeping won the famous five-ship clipper race of 1866, taking 99 days to travel from Foochow to London, and docking just half an hour ahead of the Ariel.

TAYLOR, JAMES
A Scotsman who first experimented with tea planting in Sri Lanka in 1867. By 1872 he had established a tea factory and, a year later, was selling Ceylon tea in London. Taylor's pioneering efforts contributed to the early success of the Ceylon tea industry

TEA
The leaf and extracted liquor of the shrub Camellia sinensis. No other beverage merits the unqualified term tea.

TEA ACT 1773
An ill-advised piece of legislation devised by Lord North to ensure that American colonists paid taxes to Britain on the tea they consumed. It led directly to the Boston Tea Party.

TEA BAG
A sealed paper bag containing finely-divided, quick-brewing tea. Tea bags are the most popular way of brewing tea in Britain and the US. They were invented by accident by a New York tea importer named Thomas Sullivan. Twinings teas are blended for the same quality in loose as in tea bag.

TEA CHEST
A foil-lined wooden box for transporting tea. The original lining was lead foil; nowadays aluminium foil is used. These days most tea is shipped in foil-lined paper sacks; only the finest teas still travel in wooden chests.


TEA CLIPPER
A type of sailing ship that was built for speed, so called because they could 'clip' the journey time. The distinctive features of a tea clipper were a sharply-raked bow, an overhanging stern, and acres of sail. Their brief period of pre-eminence on the seas ended with the opening of the Suez Canal.

TEA DANCE
An irresistible mix of afternoon tea and dancing that began in the 1910s, and which is still popular today.

TEA GARDEN
A feature of eighteenth-century social life at which men and women of all classes could gather. The tea gardens included tree-lined avenues, lantern-lit walks, music, dancing, fireworks, good food, and fine tea. The most famous were Ranelagh Gardens and Vauxhall Gardens.

TEA HOUSE (CHINA)
A public place where Chinese people go to appreciate tea for its flavour, aroma, and appearance, rather than to quench their thirsts. Tea houses (the Chinese term means 'tea art house') have reopened in China following many years of repression.

 
A tea house in Nanjing, Japan

TEA HOUSE (JAPAN)
A special building in which the Japanese Tea Ceremony is performed. Every element of the tea house is arranged according to strict rules of design.


TEAPOT COLLECTION
(see Twinings Teapot Gallery)

TEA ROOM
A public place where Britons can relax and enjoy afternoon tea or cream tea. Tea rooms sometimes referred to as 'tea shops' have been a popular feature of British social life since 1864.

TEA ROSE
A popular garden rose with a scent that was said to resemble that of tea. The tea rose is a hybrid derived from Rosa odorata.

TEA SOURCING PARTNERSHIP (TSP) NOW THE ETHICAL TEA PARTNERSHIP
An organization dedicated to improving the conditions under which tea is produced through credible, independent monitoring. The TSP represents most of the major UK tea companies. Twinings is a founding member. Visit the TSP website.

TEA TASTER
An expert judge of the beverage. A person who uses organoleptic means to discern various characteristics and qualities of tea. Twinings tea experts are unsurpassed in the skill of their trade.

TEA TREE
A native Australian evergreen shrub (Melaleuca alternifolia) with well-known antiseptic properties. The tea tree has nothing to do with tea. The name allegedly arose because in 1770, the explorer, Thomas Cook, made an infusion of the leaves which his crew drank to prevent scurvy.

TENCHA TEA
A type of green tea that is ground down to make the famous matcha powdered tea used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

THÉ DANSANT
(see tea dance)

TOM'S COFFEE HOUSE
A coffee house situated in Devereux Court just off London's Strand. Thomas Twining bought Tom's Coffee House in 1706. The location was perfect: it straddled the border between Westminster and the City of London, an area that was newly-populated with aristocracy displaced by the Great Fire of London.

TSP - HAS BEEN RE-NAMED ETP - ETHICAL TEA PARTNERSHIP
(see Tea Sourcing Partnership)

Twinings should be pronounced with a long 'i' like in the word 'mine'.

TWININGS PRONUNCIATION
Twinings should be pronounced with a long 'i' like in the word 'mine'.

TWININGS TEAPOT GALLERY
A gallery at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery that permanently houses a representative selection of the world's largest collection of British ceramic teapots.

TWININGS MUSEUM
A delightful and intriguing museum situated to the rear of Twinings shop at 216 Strand. The Museum features stories and artefacts from the history of Twinings and of tea.

TWYNING
A Gloucestershire village situated between the Rivers Severn and Avon, roughly two miles North of Tewkesbury. The village has ancient connections with the Twining family. Both names come from an old Saxon expression meaning 'between two streams'.
 
A portion of the flamboyant sentimentalist, Nikolai Karamzin (Letters of a Russian Traveller 1789-1790), description of Vauxhall: "The London Vauxhall brings together people of every social standing - lords and lackeys, fine ladies and harlots. Some come here as actors, others as spectators. I visited all the galleries and looked at all the pictures, whose themes have been taken either from Shakespeare's dramas or from recent English history. The walls of the large rotunda, where music is given in rainy weather, are covered with mirrors from floor to ceiling. Wherever you look, you see ten living portraits of yourself.
At about twelve o'clock supper was served in the pavilions, and horns sounded in the groves. Never in my life have I seen so many people seated at table. It looked like some kind of magnificent feast. We chose a pavilion, too, and ordered chicken, anchovies, cheese, butter, and a bottle of claret. This cost about six rubles.
Vauxhall is two miles from London, and in summer is open every evening. One pays forty kopecks to enter. I returned home at dawn, completely satisfied with the whole day."

VAUXHALL GARDENS
The most successful and long-lasting of London's tea gardens, lasting from 1660 to 1859. The gardens were situated on the southern bank of the River Thames on a site opposite where the Tate Gallery now stands. Handel regularly performed there.

WABI
A deliberate simplicity in daily life; one of the principles established by Sen Rikyú that underpin the Japanese Tea Ceremony.



Tea Glossary from TWININGS TEA



TWININGS HISTORY
Thomas Twining had a vision in 1706 to import the finest teas for London’s most discerning tea drinkers. More than 300 years later, Twinings has upheld that vision, delivering a collection of the finest teas enjoyed by tea drinkers around the world.


Etiquette Enthusiast Maura J Graber is the Site Moderator and Editor for you Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia