Glossary of Tea and Tea Terms
of the 18th and 19th Centuries
Guest Blog Posted on
November 26, 2018
by Geri Walton of the United Kingdom
This tea from the Chinese Pai-hao, means white down or hair, because
it was picked from young spring leaf-buds that still contained down
A type of tea so called because of how it was packed.
SHARD OF TEA
Slang term used in Cornwall for a cup of tea.
Also called “Pi-cha,” or “skin tea,” it was the name of the mountain
range from where this particular leaf was cultivated.
Usually part of a tea service that allowed tea drinkers to pour cold
tea into them before refilling their cup with fresh, hot tea. They
also held the dregs of tea and any errant leaves left behind from
the bottom of a cup. For more on tea service and equipage, click
A reference to a light meal, dinner, or tea.
A dark tea from Seao-chug that means “little sprouts.” It was a
variety of teas that supposedly contained the finest flavor.
A slang word for tea.
A chemical component of tea responsible for its astringent and
An old pronunciation for tea when it first arrived in Britain.
TEA ACT 1773
An unpopular piece of legislation among American colonists that was
devised to ensure that they paid taxes on the tea they consumed. A
protest ensued by American colonists in what became known as the
Boston Tea Party and resulted in tea cargoes being destroyed and the
idea that it was unpatriotic for the colonists to drink tea.
An accidentally invention by a New York tea importer named Thomas
Sullivan whose bags began to appear commercially around 1904 but
prior to that had been shipping out his tea in silk bags around the
A device that held tea leaves with a chain attached thereby allowing
the tea to be suspended during the steeping process.
Crop damage caused by insects or fungoids. Some of the destructive
insects at the time were the caterpillar, “The Borer,” Orange
Beetle, grubs, spiders, and what was termed a “Tea Bug,” an insect
that when full grown was about the size of mosquito, had no jaws,
only a sucker with wing-cases that when folded formed an “x” and
when open were used to vibrate.
Chests that held fresh tea in homes. They were sometimes divided
into sections and usually locked to prevent unauthorized taking of
the tea, which was costly even into the late 1700s. Caddies were
made from such woods as mahogany, ebony, rosewood, coromandel,
fruitwood, or burr yew.
TEA CADDY SPOON
A spoon used to measure out tea leaves from a tea caddy before they
were put into the teapot.
Wooden chests that were originally lead-lined and used for shipping
and transporting tea.
The cup into which hot tea was poured and the cup from which people
drank their tea.
A retailer of tea who sold mostly coffee, tea, and groceries.
According to one British Trade book in 1872, “There are about
120,000 licensed tea dealers in the kingdom.
Popular gowns in the late 1800s that were half-way between a wrap
and a ball gown and were comfortable, flowing, and diaphanous.
Pleasure gardens designed for refreshments and strolling, such as
Ranelagh Gardens or Vauxhall Gardens.
A slang name for tea tasters or to indicate every available space
that was filled with tea.
Classified as mid-Yorkshire term for tea things.
A multi-use jacket in the late 1800s that could be worn to the
theatre, at home for dinner, and, of course, when pouring afternoon
A term used in Sheffield for a tea-urn.
The vessel with a handle for making and pouring tea.
An small ornamental pedestal table that was handy for tea because it
had a lifting top with two lidded compartments, one for storing tea
and the other for mixing dried tea.
Popular spots beginning in 1864 where people could share tea and be
A popular garden rose derived from Rosa Odorata that has
repeat-flowering roses and is named for its fragrance that said to
be reminiscent of Chinese black tea, although that is not always the
The stand on which the TEACUP was placed.
A spoon used for stirring tea.
A table that was small and round that tea was served on.
A teapot or urn with a gravity-fed tap at the bottom.
A slang term meaning in French “dancing tea” that was an invitation
to friends (both male and female) to take tea and have a dance
A genus of plants of camellia (camellieoe) in the family theaceae (Ternströmiaceoe)
that was so named from the slightly altered Chinese name of the
dried herb that formed the almost universal beverage of the British
Isle by the late 1800s. “It is differently named in different parts
of China, as Tcha, or Cha, also Tha, whence we have Tsia, The, and
Tea. In Persian works in use in India, tea is called Cha-Khutai, or
Tea of Cathay.”
He established and founded TWINING COMPANY in London. He initially
sold coffee but then included teas, and quickly garnered a
reputation for having some of the finest blends in London. Soon he
was selling more dry tea than brewed. He named his tea and coffee
house the Golden Lyon in 1717 and his shop was one of the first in
London where women could buy tea. His grandson, Richard Twining,
explained in 1784:
“In my grandfather’s time …
it was the custom for Ladies and Gentlemen to come to the shop,
ad to order their own Teas – the chests used to be spread out,
and when my grandfather had mixed some of them together, in the
presence of his customers, they were used to taste the Tea: and
mixing was varied till it suited the palates of the purchasers.”
All the various teas sold through Twinings that was established by
An old name for YOUNG HYSON TEA.
A tea tray.
YERBA MATE TEA
A beverage that was used in South America and also called PARAGUAY
YOUNG HYSON TEA
From Yu-chien meaning “before the rains” because it was picked early
in the season.
To add to your tea knowledge, read "The
Origin of Afternoon Tea."
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