Infusions, tisanes, orange pekoe, fannings,...it sounds as if we are talking a different language. Well, in a sense, we are. It's the language of tea.

Here are a few terms to help you expand your tea vocabulary.

 

BODY - referring to the weight of prepared tea on the tongue. Tea can have a light, medium, full or heavy body.

 

BROKEN ORANGE PEKOE - Tea is graded by leaf size. Broken orange pekoe consists of broken and similar sized leaves.

 

BUBBLE TEA - A novel beverage made by pouring hot tea over cooked and cooled tapioca pearls. Any hot tea can be used. Bubble tea is usually served in a tall glass with milk.

 

CARBON DIOXIDE DECAFFEINATION - In this process, water-soaked tea leaves are placed in a stainless steel container or extractor. The extractor is then sealed and liquid CO2 is injected. The CO2 acts as the solvent to dissolve and draw the caffeine from the leaves, leaving the larger-molecule flavor components behind. The caffeine laden CO2 is then transferred to another container where the pressure is released and the CO2 returns to the gaseous state, leaving the caffeine behind. The caffeine free CO2 gas is pumped back into a pressurized container for future reuse.

CO2 decaffeination produces the most flavorful decaffeinated tea.

There are no harmful chemicals or byproducts of the process.

 

FANNINGS - The very small broken tea leaves. Often used for teabags.

 

FLUSH - The sprouting of new leaves and buds on a tea bush. Higher, cooler regions have only one flush a year, while in places like Sumatra, the tea plants put out new leaves year round.

 

LUNG CHING - Another name for Dragonwell tea.

 

ORANGE PEKOE - A full leaf tea with no buds (tip).

 

PU-ERH TEA - A "composted" tea produced in the Yunnan province of China. The freshly picked tea is fired then placed in piles and monitered to maintain proper temperature and moisture during the aging process.  This is a specialty tea with a strong, earthy flavor.

 

SOUCHONG - Made from large tea leaves that are rolled lengthwise, which gives them a coarse appearance. Generally, these teas are smoked teas from China.

 

SUN TEA - One of my favorite teas! I can easily drink this by the gallon in the summer! This tea is brewed slowly by the sun, hence the name. To make it, put four teaspoons of tea per quart in a glass jar. (We use 5 tbsp. per gallon.) Fill the jar with cool water, stir and place in the sun for six hours. (Sun has to be out strong and hot to get tea to brew.)

Strain and enjoy!

 

TIPPY GOLDEN FLOWERY ORANGE PEKOE - A full leaf tea with many golden buds.

 

TISANE - Another name for herbal tea.

 

WU-LONG - The Chinese pinyin translation of Oolong.