Here you will find an ever-growing collection of terms related to various facets of tea: famous teas, production methods, growing regions, porcelatin manufacturing and more. We hope to expand our library and provide you with many interesting facts and topics all around tea culture.
Alishan (阿里山), a high-mountain area in Taiwan, is known for its stunning scenery, tea plantations and historic forest railway. The name "Alishan" means "Mount Ali" and is a popular travel destination in Taiwan. Alishan is best known for its spectacular sunrise views over a sea of clouds, its ancient towering trees and its unique Alishan Forest Railway. Due to the ideal climatic conditions in the mountains, some of the best oolong teas in the world are also produced here. Alishan is thus a perfect blend of natural beauty, heritage and culture, attracting both local and international tourists.
Hailing from Taiwan, Baozhong (包種) is a special variety of tea that is often prized for its floral and light flavor profile. Unlike typical oolong teas, which rank halfway between green and black tea in oxidation levels, baozhong is minimally oxidized, giving it characteristics more akin to green tea. Its name Baozhong translates to "the wrapped kind" and refers to the traditional practice of wrapping the tea leaves in paper during the drying process. This tea is often appreciated for its refreshing aroma and delicate flavor with notes of lilac and lily, making it a popular choice among tea lovers. For example, Wenshan Baozhong tea is a famous variety in this category.
Camellia assamica is a species of plant in the tea plant family native to the Assam region of India. It is known for its sturdy leaves and bold flavor, making it a top choice for black tea production. Unlike its relative, Camellia Sinensis (which is used for green and white teas), the Assamica variety thrives in lowland regions and warmer temperatures. Assam tea, known worldwide for its rich, malty flavor and bright color, is primarily derived from the camellia assamica. It is a fundamental part of Assam's economy and contributes significantly to India's position as the world's leading tea exporter.
Camellia Sinensis, commonly known as the tea plant, is the species responsible for the production of tea around the world. Native to East Asia, it is an evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy, green leaves and small white flowers. This plant is the source of green, black, white, oolong, and all other traditional caffeinated teas. The differences in taste, color and aroma of these teas are due to the fact that the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis are processed differently after harvesting. For example, black tea goes through a full oxidation process while green tea does not. This versatile plant is the cornerstone of the global tea industry.
Often translated as "The Way of Tea" (茶道), is a Chinese cultural activity that involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of tea. It is a traditional practice that encompasses the art, philosophy and spirituality of tea drinking and dates back to ancient China. The focus is on mindfulness, aesthetics and harmony. For example, every movement in Cha Dao is conscious and has a symbolic meaning, from selecting the tea leaves to pouring the water. It's not just about drinking tea, it's about appreciating the whole process. It is a way to cultivate patience, calmness and a deeper appreciation for the simple things in life.
Cha Hai / Gong Dao Bei
Cha Hai, also known as "Tea sea" or Gong Dao Bei "Fairness cup", is a relatively recent invention. It first appeared in Taiwan in the 1980s in the preparation of gongfu tea and quickly spread to the rest of the world. Its main function is to keep the tea after brewing in the teapot before serving and to ensure a consistent taste by mixing the different layers of the infusion. After the tea leaves have been brewed in the teapot, the tea is first poured into the Cha Hai and then from the Cha Hai into the teacups. This crucial step allows the flavor and aroma to balance and enrich the overall tea consumption experience. It is an essential tool for tea lovers who appreciate the art of tea making.
Cha Pan / Tea boat
The Cha Pan (茶盘) tea tray, often referred to as a tea table or tea boat, is an essential part of the traditional Chinese tea ceremony. This special table is designed to hold the tea set and catch spilled water and tea during brewing. It's usually made of bamboo, wood, or stone, and often has a built-in drain or bowl to catch excess liquid. The Cha Pan tea table not only provides a functional place to brew the tea, but also adds an aesthetic element to the tea ceremony that enhances the overall experience. A beautifully crafted bamboo Cha Pan tea table, for example, can be the centerpiece of a tranquil, traditional tea ceremony.
Chaozhou tea art
Chaozhou tea art (潮州茶藝) refes to the traditional Chinese tea ceremonies that originated in the Chaozhou region of Guangdong, China. Steeped in history and culture, this ritual practice showcases the meticulous art of tea preparation and presentation. At the ceremony, the tea, usually oolong tea, is brewed in a small clay pot and served in delicate china cups. This process is repeated several times, with each pass serving to bring out the different flavor profiles of the tea leaves. The Chaozhou tea ceremonies reflect not only the Chinese people's appreciation for tea, but also the cultural importance they place on hospitality and social bonding.
Dan Cong Oolong
Dan Cong Oolong (单枞烏龍) is a special variety of Chinese Oolong tea sourced from Phoenix Mountain in Guangdong Province. The name "Dan Cong" translates to "single bush" and refers to the tea's unique property of being harvested from individual tea trees, each with a unique flavor profile. The taste of Dan Cong Oolong is often described as incredibly complex, with a fragrant aroma and a natural fruity sweetness that can mimic flavors ranging from almonds to lychee. Tea connoisseurs value this tea for its ability to go through multiple infusions, each revealing a new later of its complex flavor.
Dong Ding (凍頂) is a highly revered oolong tea variety from Taiwan. Named after the Dong Ding Mountain in Nantou, Taiwan, this tea is known for its high quality and complex flavor profile. A unique combination of sun withering, tumbling, squeezing and repeated roasting is used in the processing of Dong Ding, resulting in a rich, full-bodied flavor with a sweet aftertaste. Flavor notes vary from floral to fruity, occasionally with hints of caramel or cream. Popular at tea ceremonies, Dong Ding is a testament to Taiwan's rich tea culture. It's more than just a drink; it is a symbol of tradition and craftsmanship.
Dongfang Meiren (東方美人), also known as "Oriental Beauty" or "Eastern Beauty", is a unique type of oolong tea from Taiwan. Known for its distinct flavor profile, this tea is characterized by a sweet, honey-like flavor and aroma that is achieved through the partial oxidation process it undergoes. For example, it attracts locusts that nibble on the tea leaves, starting a natural oxidation process that contributes to its unique flavor. The highest quality Dongfang Meiren tea leaves have a silvery appearance that signifies the high standard of this revered beverage. The Dongfang Meiren is a symbol of Taiwanese tea culture, which is appreciated by tea connoisseurs worldwide.
In the context of tea production, fixing is the process of stopping the enzymatic oxidation of the tea leaves, preserving their color and flavor profile. This is usually accomplished through the application of heat, either steaming (as in Japanese green tea making) or pan frying (as in Chinese green tea making). For example, the famous Longjing tea is pan-fried to fix its delicate, fresh character. Fixation is crucial to the final quality and nature of the tea as it halts the leaf's natural oxidation process, ensuring that the vitality and unique properties of the tea are preserved.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a naturally occurring amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain. It is primarily responsible for reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. In simpler terms, GABA acts as a sedative and helps manage stress, anxiety, and mood swings. For example, when the brain is plentiful in GABA, it helps offset the effects of adrenaline by promoting a sense of relaxation and calm. GABA is also essential for sleep because it helps the brain transition into a restful state. GABA supplements are widely used as a natural remedy to relieve anxiety symptoms and improve sleep quality.
A gaiwan (蓋碗) is a traditional Chinese tea brewing vessel consisting of a bowl, lid and saucer. The term "gaiwan" comes from the Ming Dynasty and means "lidded bowl." It is used for brewing and drinking tea, especially for delicate teas such as green or white tea. The lid serves to keep the tea warm and to strain the leaves while drinking. The saucer makes it easy to handle the hot tea. With the Gaiwan, tea lovers can enjoy the aroma, color and taste of tea in a refined and intimate way. In the world of tea connoisseurs, using a gaiwan shows a deep appreciation for the art of tea making.
Gongfu Cha (功夫茶) directly translating to "making tea with skill", is a traditional Chinese tea-brewing method that emphasizes precision and care in brewing the perfect cup. This ceremonial process uses special tea tools such as a Yixing teapot, porcelain cups and a tea tray to ensure the highest quality of the infusion. High-quality loose teas are generally used for the Gongfu Cha method, in particular Oolong or Pu'er. Every step, from the selection of the tea leaves to the brewing time, is meticulously controlled, so that Gongfu Cha reflects the Chinese philosophy of mindfulness and respect for nature.
Also known as dark tea, Hei Cha (黑茶) is a traditional fermented tea originally from China. The process, which can take several months to years, gives the tea its dark color and unique flavor profile. The most well-known variety of hei cha is pu-erh tea, praised for its rich, earthy flavor and potential health benefits. Other well-known varieties are Liu Bao and Liu An. The flavor of hei cha can vary significantly depending on the region in which it is made, the specific fermentation process, and the length of time it is aged. This makes Hei Cha a dynamic tea category with a depth and complexity appreciated by tea connoisseurs worldwide.
Highland oolong (高山烏龍) refers to a type of oolong tea grown in high altitude regions. The unique climatic and geographic conditions of these regions give the tea a distinctive flavor and aroma, often described as a rich, creamy texture with a complex bouquet of aromas. Taiwanese highland oolong, for example, which is one of the most well-known types of tea, offers sweet floral notes, hints of creaminess and a slightly woody undertone. The cultivation method in the highlands, where the plants thrive in cool, misty conditions, is a key factor that enhances the quality and flavor of this specialty tea.
Huigan (回甘) refers to the lingering sweetness, or aftertaste, felt after drinking certain types of tea, particularly high-quality Pu'er teas. With this Chinese term, tea connoisseurs can describe the unique feeling when the taste of the tea lingers on the palate and in the throat even after swallowing. For example, if a certain Pu'er tea leaves a sweet feeling that slowly wears off, it is said to be a good Huigan. It is a crucial factor when evaluating the quality of the tea; a good Huigan often indicates a well-made, mature tea. Likewise, the absence or a weak Huigan can indicate an inferior or poorly stored tea.
A Jianshui teapot (建水茶壺) is a special type of pottery originating from Jianshui in China. Known for their fine tone quality, Jianshui teapots are highly valued for their functionality and aesthetics. Rich in iron, the clay used to make these teapots is refined through a meticulous process that results in a finished product with a smooth, polished finish. Jianshui teapots are characterized by their unique, intricate design, which often incorporates elements of Chinese culture and nature. They are traditionally used in gongfu tea ceremonies to enrich the tea's flavor profile.
Jingdezhen (景德鎮), often referred to as the "Porcelain Capital," is a prefecture-level city in northeastern Jiangxi Province, China. Known for its 1,700-year history of fine porcelain manufacturing, Jingdezhen was named after the Jingde Dynasty (1004-1007 AD), during which the porcelain was first commissioned by the imperial court. Jingdezhen porcelain is known worldwide for its delicate, artistic designs and excellent quality. The city's ceramics can be found in museums, art galleries and private collections around the world, making Jingdezhen synonymous with exquisite porcelain art.
Kill-Green or sha-qing (杀青) is a term commonly used in the context of tea processing. It refers to the practice of rapidly heating fresh tea leaves to remove enzymes and stop oxidation in order to preserve the green color and fresh flavor of the leaves. This process can be accomplished by heating in a pan, by steaming, or in the oven. In the production of Chinese green tea, for example, the "kill green" process is of crucial importance in preserving the tea's special aroma and taste. It is a delicate process that requires precision and expertise to ensure the quality and characteristics of the final product.
L-Theanine is a natural compound commonly found in green tea and certain mushrooms. It is widely known for its calming effects on the brain as it promotes relaxation without causing drowsiness. This amino acid works by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in the brain that control emotions, mood, focus and sleep. For example, L-theanine is often taken as a dietary supplement to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and increase cognitive performance. Thanks to its unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, it can unleash these positive effects on mental and physical health.
Lishan (梨山), which translates to "pear mountain," is a high-altitude area in the Heping District of Taichung, Taiwan. Known for its magnificent beauty and cool climate, Lishan is famous for its impressive orchards of high quality fruits such as pears, peaches and apples. There are also tea plantations in the area that produce high-quality oolong tea. Besides agriculture, Lishan is also attracted by the breathtaking mountain views, natural hot springs and cultural attractions such as the Lishan Culture Museum. The quaint village offers a peaceful retreat and a glimpse of Taiwanese highland life.
Lu Yu or Lu Ji (陆疾), courtesy name Jici (季疵), often referred to as the "Tea Saint," was a Chinese scholar during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) famous for his significant contributions to Chinese tea culture. He wrote "The Classic of Tea", the first known comprehensive treatise on tea, its cultivation, its preparation and its consumption. His work not only codified the various methods of tea cultivation and tea preparation in China, but also elevated tea drinking to a ceremonial practice. As a result, he became an icon in the tea world, influencing generations of tea growers, sellers and drinkers alike.
Muzha (木栅) refers to a traditional Taiwanese area known for the production of Tie Guan Yin, a type of oolong tea. Muzha tea is characterized by its unique roasting process, which gives it a distinct, rich flavor. In this process, the tea leaves are alternately roasted and cooled, taking several days to weeks to perfect. The end result is a tea that harmoniously balances floral and toasted notes with a complex flavor. An example of Muzha's tea excellence is the Iron Goddess of Mercy (Tie Guan Yin) tea, which is highly coveted by tea connoisseurs worldwide.
Oolong (烏龍茶) is a traditional Chinese tea known for its rich complexity and unique processing method. Positioned between green and black tea, oolong is partially oxidized, giving it characteristics of both teas. The degree of oxidation can range from 8% to 85%, resulting in different flavors, from light and floral to dark and powerful. For example, the slightly oxidized \"Iron Goddess of Mercy\" has a floral, sweet taste, while the heavily oxidized \"Great Red Robe\" has bold, malty notes. Oolong tea is also valued for its potential health benefits, including boosting metabolism and reducing stress.
Pin Cha (品茶) is a Chinese term that translates to "tea tasting". It refers to the traditional Chinese practice of enjoying and judging tea. The aim is to understand its various aspects such as aroma, colour, taste and how the tea feels in the mouth. For example, in a Pin Cha session, participants sample a delicate white tea, noting its light color, floral aroma, light flavor, and smooth texture. This ritual is not just about drinking tea, but appreciating its complexity and nuances. It underscores the Chinese philosophy of finding joy in simple, everyday activities.
Pinglin (坪林) is a rural district in New Taipei City, Taiwan, known for its lush, green landscapes and tranquil setting. Pinglin is best known for its tea production, especially the world-famous Baozhong tea. Pinglin is home to the Pinglin Tea Museum, one of the largest tea museum in the world, which gives visitors an in-depth look at the intricate process of tea production. The district is also home to the scenic Feicui Reservoir, often referred to as the "Emerald of Taiwan." Pinglin's tranquility and rich tea culture make it a must-visit destination for tea lovers and anyone seeking a tranquil retreat.
Post-fermented tea, also known as dark tea (黑茶), refers to a category of tea that undergoes a unique fermentation and aging process after the leaves have been dried and rolled. Unlike other types of tea, post-fermented tea can be stored for many years to improve its flavor and nutritional properties. The most famous example of post-fermented tea is the Pu-erh, which is made in Yunnan, China. The fermentation process gives this tea its distinctive dark color, complex flavor profile, and potential health benefits. The taste of post-fermented tea can range from earthy and smooth to rich and dark, depending on the age of the tea and the fermentation process used.
Pu-erh (普洱茶) is a fermented type of tea produced in the Yunnan province of China. It is named after the city of Pu'er where it was first developed. This unique tea undergoes a natural fermentation process prior to aging, which sets it apart from other types of tea. The aging process can last anywhere from a few years to several decades and results in a deep, rich flavor and aroma. There are two types of pu-erh tea: "raw" sheng pu-erh 生普洱 or "ripened" shu pu-erh 熟普洱, each with different flavor profiles. Pu-erh is valued not only for its taste, but also for its potential health benefits, such as aiding digestion and weight loss.
Qinghua porcelain (青花), also known as blue and white porcelain, is a unique form of ceramic art that originated in China during the Yuan Dynasty. This type of porcelain is known for its distinctive blue and white patterns, made with cobalt oxide under a transparent layer of glaze. The designs often depict nature, mythical creatures or historical scenes and reflect traditional Chinese culture. For example, a typical Qinghua piece of porcelain features a beautiful intricate design of a dragon, symbolizing power and good fortune. Its timeless aesthetics and significant cultural value make Qinghua porcelain a popular collector's item around the world.
Sanxia (三峽區) is a district in New Taipei, Taiwan, known for its rich cultural history and scenic landscapes. It is most famous for Sanxia Old Street, a pedestrian street characterized by red brick buildings with ornate carvings and ornate facades. A highlight of cultural wealth is the Zushi Temple, a work of art that took over 200 years to complete and displays traditional Taiwanese craftsmanship. Yingge, Taiwan's pottery capital, is also located here, where you can visit numerous ceramic shops and workshops. The serene surroundings are enriched by the Sanxia River and numerous hiking trails and tea gardens, making it an attractive destination for locals and tourists alike.
Often referred to as the "Divine Farmer," Shen Nong (神農) is a legendary figure in Chinese mythology who is credited with discovering tea. According to ancient records, Shen Nong was a herbalist who tasted hundreds of herbs to examine their medicinal value. It was during these experiments that he discovered tea. He was said to have been poisoned over seventy times in one day, but each time he was revived by the tea leaf's restorative properties. Therefore, he is considered the "refiner of tea" who completed the path of tea from an unknown plant to a vital medicinal plant. In doing so, he laid the foundation for the widespread distribution of tea in China and eventually worldwide.
Si Ji Chun
Si Ji Chun (四季春) or Four Seasons Spring is a unique variety of oolong tea grown primarily in Taiwan. The name derives from its natural ability to produce year-round high-quality leaves that resemble a spring crop. Famed for its floral, orchid-like aroma and refreshing taste, Si Ji Chun is a popular choice among tea drinkers. The continuous growth of tea allows farmers to harvest it several times a year, ensuring a constant supply. This tea is a wonderful introduction to Taiwanese oolongs for those new to this type of tea.
Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) is a popular tourist destination in Nantou District of Taiwan and a well-known tea-growing area. Known as the largest natural body of water in Taiwan, it boasts an enchanting landscape that changes from sunrise to sunset, hence the name "Sun Moon Lake". The east side resembles a sun while the western part has a moon-like shape. The lake is famous for its crystal clear blue water, surrounding mountains and Wen Wu Temple.
The local tea is known worldwide for its distinctive taste and aroma, which is a result of the local climate and growing conditions. The most famous variety is the "Ruby" or "Red Jade", which is characterized by its strong, sweet taste and its reddish colour. This tea specialty is harvested only a few times a year and is therefore a coveted luxury among tea connoisseurs. Its complex aromas, which can also contain a hint of cinnamon and mint, make Soon Moon Lake tea a unique and unforgettable taste experience.
Tie Guan Yin
Tie Guan Yin (鐵觀音), often translated as "Iron Goddess of Mercy," is a popular type of oolong tea originally from China but now also made in Taiwan. This tea is characterized by its unique flavor profile - a delicate balance of floral and creamy with a lingering sweet aftertaste. The leaves are tightly rolled and undergo a meticulous process of withering, rolling and roasting that gives the tea its distinctive, complex flavor. In Taiwan, Tie Guan Yin is often lighter roasted to preserve the tea's natural floral notes. Known for its rejuvenating properties, it is prized by tea connoisseurs worldwide. }
Wilting is a term widely used in the tea industry to denote a specific step in tea processing. It refers to the withering of the tea leaves, a crucial stage in which the fresh tea leaves wither and naturally lose most of their water content. This process plays an important role in the final taste, aroma and quality of the tea.
Wu Wei (無為) is a fundamental concept in Taoism that can be translated as "not doing" or "effortless action". It is not about inaction, but rather about aligning one's actions with the flow of life and achieving goals with minimum effort and maximum efficiency. An example of Wu Wei might be a tree that grows naturally, without hurrying or hesitating, but simply following its natural course. In a business context, Wu Wei could mean capitalizing on current market trends rather than exerting force or control. This Taoist philosophy emphasizes harmony, balance and the wisdom to submit to the natural rhythms of life.
Yancha (岩茶), often referred to as "rock tea," is a highly prized oolong tea variety that is primarily grown and produced in the Wuyi Mountains of China's Fujian province. Priding itself on its complex flavor profile, Yancha undergoes a special roasting process that gives it a unique mineral flavor - a trait attributed to the tea bushes that thrive on the rocky soils of the mountainsides. The numerous Yancha strains, including the famous Da Hong Pao and the Shui Jin Gui, offer a wide range of flavor experiences, from rich, floral notes to deep, smoky undertones. The uniqueness of this tea makes it a valued commodity among tea connoisseurs worldwide.
A Yixing teapot (宜興茶壺) is a traditional Chinese brewing vessel commonly used to brew tea. Originating in the Yixing region of eastern China, these teapots are known for their unique properties. They are typically made from Yixing clay, also known as \"purple sand\" and known for its high quality and ability to enhance tea's flavors. Each Yixing teapot is often handcrafted, making it unique. The teapot absorbs a tiny amount of tea in the pot during brewing. Over time, this absorption results in a coating that preserves the tea's aroma and color, enhancing the flavor with each use.