Tea Glossary & Tea Terms

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Adaptogens: plants that help adjust hormone production and other responses to stress, helps keep the body in balance, so that stress does not heavily impact the immune system, energy and mood, and overall mental health.

ʻĀina: Hawaiian word for land.

Antioxidant: molecules or substances that fight off free radicals that cause harm to the body and health.

Aroma: the pleasant smell of tea.

Aromatherapy: the therapeutic effect caused by aroma.

Assam: a region in India known for producing robust and malty black teas.

Assam Tea: a black tea grown in the Assam region of India, known for its strong and malty flavor.

Astringency: sensation of dryness, puckering, or roughness in the mouth that is caused by tannins in tea.


Black Tea: Tea that is fully oxidized, resulting in a dark color and robust flavor. View Black Teas and Black Tea blends.

Blend or Blends: Tea made from mixing two or more ingredients together.

Borosilicate Glass: a heat resistant glass made of silicon and boron trioxide. 

Brew: the process of preparing tea by steeping it in hot water.

Breakfast Tea: a strong tea blend usually made with black tea enjoyed for it's robust flavor and caffeine boost. View Breakfast Teas 


Caffeine: a natural stimulant innate in camellia sinensis that can provide an energy boost and increase alertness.

Camellia Sinensis: the botanical name for the tea plant, from which white, green, oolong and black teas are derived.

Catechins: a type of polyphenol and antioxidant found in tea.

Ceylon Tea: A type of black tea grown in Sri Lanka, known for its bright and citrusy flavor. View Ceylon Teas

Chai: A black tea blend made with tea and spices originating from India. Spices commonly in chai include such as cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger.  As a drink, chai consists of a strong black tea blend mixed with milk and sweetener. There are regional variations and families recipes can be a tradition passed down for generations. View Chai Teas

Chamomile Tea: An herbal tea made from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant, known for its calming properties. View Chamomile Teas

Cinnamon Tea: tea blends with cinnamon. Cinnamon is used to give the drink a slightly sweet and spicy taste and aroma. Cinnamon is helpful for inflammation, balancing blood sugar and has antibacterial and antiviral properties. View Cinnamon Teas

Clean: when the tea tastes clear, pure and balanced without undesirable finish. 


Darjeeling: A region in India located in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains famous for its black teas.

Darjeeling Tea: High elevation black tea grown in the Darjeeling known for its muscatel flavor and aroma with a bright mouthfeel with pine and mint notes. View Darjeeling Teas

Decaffeinated: when caffeine has been removed from coffee or tea.

Decaffeinated Tea: Tea that has undergone a process to remove most of its caffeine content. View Decaffeinated Tea 

Dragon Pearl / Jasmine Pearls / Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls: Chinese green tea rolled into small, tightly rolled pearls or balls. The name "Dragon Pearl" is derived from the tea's appearance, as the rolled tea leaves resemble small pearls or dragon eyes. Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl is green tea pearls scented over 7 days with night blooming jasmine.

Drying: tea leaves are dried to remove moisture. This step in tea making is important for preserving the tea so that while packaged, bacteria and mold doesn’t start to grow. Drying can also increase a tea’s flavor and aroma. 

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Earl Grey: earl grey teas are black teas flavored with bergamot, a citrus fruit from Madagascar giving it a distinctive citrusy aroma and taste. View Earl Grey Teas

English Breakfast Tea: A robust black tea blend traditionally enjoyed with breakfast. 

Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG): a type of polyphenol and catechin in tea that is an antioxidant for heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.


Finish: the after taste of tea.

Firing: tea leaves are set to a high heat using methods such as pan firing or air drying. It is generally performed after withering and rolling. Its primary goal is to preserve the tea's color, lock in the desired flavors and aromas, and enhance the tea's overall quality.

Free Radicals: unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells in the body.

 Fruit Teas: Blends made with fruit or tea brewed using fruit. View Fruit Teas


Grassy: taste and/or aroma like freshly mowed grass.

Green Tea: a type of tea that is minimally processed, preserving its natural green color and delicate flavor. View Green Teas

Gunpowder Teas: a common green tea from China. The name gunpowder comes from the rolled tea leaves resembling small pellets or grains of gunpowder. This tea is also known as "Zhucha" in Chinese, which translates to "pearl tea" but is very different from Jasmine Pearls or Dragon Pearls.


Harvesting: the process of selectively picking tea leaves by hand or machine, usually at specific times to ensure the desired quality.

Hawaii Hibiscus: the hibiscus flower is the state flower of Hawaii which is not the same as the hibiscus used in hibiscus tea. 

Hawaii Teas: teas that are grown in Hawaii. View Hawaii Teas

Herbal Tea: a beverage made from herbs, fruits, or other plant materials, not containing leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, usually caffeine-free. View Herbal Teas

Herbalism Tea: a type of tea made from medicinal herbs and plants.

Hibiscus tea: a fragrant caffeine free herbal tea made from the dried calyces of the tropical Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers. Hibiscus sabdariffa is native to Africa and grow in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including Thailand, China, and Mexico. Hibiscus tea is known for its vibrant red color and tart flavor. View Hibiscus Teas

Honey Sticks: small packages of honey, 1.4 oz each, that can be used to sweeten tea.

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Iced: something that has been chilled or contains pieces of ice.

Iced Tea: a cold tea beverage, often sweetened and served with ice. View Iced Teas

Immunity: ability to prevent any infection or disease by having antibodies and white blood cells.

Infuser: a small mesh or perforated container used to hold loose leaf tea or herbs during the steeping process. View Infusers 

Infusion: the process of steeping tea leaves or herbal ingredients in hot water to extract their flavors and properties.


Japanese Sencha: a type of green tea from Japan. This type of green tea is different because after the leaves are harvested, they steam the leaves to halt oxidation. The steaming process helps preserve the tea's vibrant green color and fresh flavor. View Japanese Sencha

Jasmine Green Tea: a type of flavored green tea that is infused with the delicate scent and flavor of jasmine blossoms

Jasmine Tea: a type of tea flavored with jasmine flowers, known for its delicate and fragrant aroma. View Jasmine Teas


Lapsang Souchong Tea: a black tea from China with a smoky aroma and flavor, achieved by drying the leaves over pine wood fires.

Lavender Tea: a tea infused with the soothing and floral fragrance of lavender flowers.

Lilikoi: Hawaiian word for passion fruit. Passion Fruit is grown as a round fruit around the world. It has a distinct, tangy, and tropical flavor that is both sweet and tart. It is often described as a combination of citrus, pineapple, and guava, with a slightly floral undertone. View Lilikoi Teas

Loose Leaf Tea: tea leaves that are not packaged in tea bags, allowing for a more customizable and flavorful brew. View Loose Leaf Teas

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Mahalo: Hawaiian word for thank you.

Mahina: Hawaiian word for moon. 

Maikaʻi: Hawaiian word for well-being.

Mālama: Hawaiian word meaning to protect and to care for. 

Malty: a malt flavor that is often associated with Assam black tea.

Māmaki: a native plant to Hawaii scientifically known as Pipturus albidus that primarily grows as an understory crop in the tropical rainforest.  Māmaki has many uses in Hawaiian culture which includes the bark being used to for cloth and rope. Māmaki is considered to be medicine used in the traditional healing practice called la'au lapa'au. Māmaki berries were used to soothe colicky babies.

Māmaki Tea: brewed from the leaves of the māmaki plant with a refreshing and energizing quality with adaptogenic properties and being studied for therapeutic uses. View Māmaki Teas

Mana: Hawaiian word for spiritual power or energy.  

Matcha: a powdered green tea that is whisked with hot water, traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies.

Matcha: stone-milled Japanese green tea powder from shade-grown tea leaves and used to make matcha tea.

Matcha Bowl: a ceramic bowl or chawan used to make matcha tea. 

Matcha Set: a matcha bowl, whisk, and spoon sold together for matcha making.

Matcha Scoop: a wooden scoop or chashaku used to scoop and measure matcha green tea powder.

Matcha Whisk: a bamboo whisk or chasen used to break up clumps, mix and froth matcha green tea powder.

Milky Tea: teas that have a milky quality mainly found in green oolongs.

Mint: a fragrant caffeine free herb that is popular to make a caffeine free herbal tea. Mint leaves are typically bright green and have a distinctive, cool flavor profile. They are commonly used in culinary applications, beverages, desserts, and savory dishes. The flavor of mint leaves is often described as fresh, sweet, and slightly sharp.

Mint Tea: an herbal tea made from mint leaves, known for its refreshing and cooling properties. View Mint Teas

Moringa: a native plant from India that also grows in Hawaii.  This plant contains many nutrients including antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Moringa has 7 times more vitamin C than oranges and 16 times more potassium than bananas. Moringa is known as an adaptogen which helps in the recovery from stress. Benefits of moringa include heart health, lower cholesterol, regulate blood glucose, stimulate brain function and fight inflammation. There are no known side effects. View Moringa Teas 

Muscatel: a ​musky and grape-like flavor.


Nanea: Hawaiian word for tranquility or serenity. 

Natural Flavor: a flavor concentrate derived from a natural sources such as plants, fruits, vegetables, etc. 

Naturopathy / Naturopathic: natural remedies and therapies for health and well-being. 

Natural Tea: tea that is made only from natural sources.


‘Olena: Hawaiian word for tumeric. Read More About Olena (Turmeric) and Its Health Benefits

 Oolong Tea: a partially oxidized tea that falls between black and green tea in terms of flavor and color. 

Oolong Teas

 Organic: food or beverage that’s been produced with no chemicals.

Oxidation: the enzymatic reaction that occurs when tea leaves are exposed to oxygen, resulting in chemical changes that influence the flavor and color of the tea. Hawaiian teas can vary in oxidation levels, from green to partially oxidized or fully oxidized.


Passion Fruit: aka passionfruit is a tropical plant whose tart fruit is used for juice and other dishes.

Passion Fruit Tea: tea that is infused with passion fruit. View Passion Fruit Teas

Peach Tea: tea that is infused with peach flavor. View Peach Teas

Peppermint Tea: an herbal tea made from peppermint leaves, known for its minty and soothing qualities. View Peppermint Teas

Pineapple Teas: tea that is infused with pineapple fruit. View Pineapple Teas

Pineapple White Tea: a white tea that is infused with pineapple fruit. View Pineapple White Tea 

Plantation Iced Tea: a chilled beverage made from black tea, pineapple juice and sweetener. This drink can also be made with mint, orange juice and lemon. View a Plantation Iced Tea Recipe

Polyphenols: natural compounds in all plants that serve as antioxidants for health.

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Rolling: a step in tea making that is used for certain types of tea, such as oolong, black, and some green teas. It involves manipulating and shaping the tea leaves to break down the cell structure, release enzymes, and initiate oxidation (or fermentation) in some cases.

Rooibos: a herbal tea made from the leaves of the South African red bush plant, known for its caffeine-free nature and sweet taste.

Rooibos Tea: a herbal tea made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, known for its sweet and nutty flavor. View Rooibos Teas


Sencha: a popular Japanese green tea known for its grassy flavor and vibrant green color.

Silver Needles: a variety of white tea from China. View Silver Needles 

Silver Tips: another term used for Silver Needles. It is a type of white tea that is known for its delicate and exquisite qualities. It is named after the appearance of its tea leaves, which are covered in fine white hairs, resembling silver or white needles.

Spearmint Tea: an herbal tea made from spearmint leaves, known for its refreshing and subtly sweet taste. View Spearmint Teas

Specialty Tea: high quality and unique teas. 

Spiced tea: a tea flavored with a blend of spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. View Spiced Teas

Steamed Tea: a tea production method that involves steaming the tea leaves, commonly used in Japanese green teas.

Steep: the act of soaking tea leaves or herbal ingredients in hot water for a specific amount of time to extract flavors and aromas.

Steeper: a tool or device used for brewing loose leaf tea, providing a convenient way to contain and strain the tea leaves.

Strain: pouring a liquid substance into a device that separates any solid matter from the liquid.

Strawberry White Tea: a white tea that is infused with strawberry fruit. View Strawberry White Tea 

Sustainable: when methods are used to maintain a healthy environment and resources are being taken care of.

Sweet Tea: a tea that typically contains sugar from sweeteners such as honey, sugar, etc. 


Tannins: natural compounds found in tea leaves that contribute to the tea's color, flavor, and astringency.

Tea Boxes: a box that contains tea bags or cans with loose leaf tea.

Tea Caffeine-Free: tea that has no caffeine.

Tea Collection: a collection of different types of teas.

Tea Cultivar: a specific variety or strain of the tea plant that has been selectively bred for certain characteristics, such as flavor or resistance to pests.

Tea Culture: the customs, traditions, and practices surrounding the consumption and appreciation of tea.

Tea Filter: a filter that helps infuse loose leaf tea.

Tea Gift Sets: tea collections that are usually gifted to others. 

Tea Herbs: herbs that are used to make herbal tea.

Tea Kettle: a container that is used to boil water.

Tea Mesh Ball: a mesh shaped like a ball is filled with loose leaf tea and works as an infuser. 

Tea Pot Infuser: a tea pot used to infuse loose leaf tea.

Tea Processing: the various steps involved in transforming freshly harvested tea leaves into the final product, such as withering, rolling, oxidizing, and drying.

Tea Spoon: a small spoon that is used for adding sugar in tea or mixing tea.

Tea Strainer: small device that has a mesh that strains tea.

Tea Tasting: the sensory evaluation of tea, assessing its flavor, aroma, appearance, and other qualities.

Tea Time: a designated time for enjoying tea, often accompanied by snacks or light meals.

Tea Tray: a tray that holds tea pots and tea cups.

Tea Utensils: tools and equipment used for brewing, serving, and enjoying tea, such as teapots, cups, strainers, and whisks.

Teabag: a small porous bag containing tea leaves or herbal ingredients for convenient steeping.

Teacup: a small cup used for drinking tea.

Teapot Glass/ Glass Teapot: a container made out of glass that is used for pouring tea.

Teapot: a vessel specifically designed for brewing and serving tea, typically made of ceramic, porcelain, or glass.

Temperature Control Kettle: a kettle with precise temperature settings, allowing for optimal water temperature for different types of tea.

Theanine: an amino acid found in plants, such as tea.

Theobromine: a bitter compound and alkaloid found in the cacao plant. 

Tisane: a term used to describe herbal teas or infusions that do not contain tea leaves.

Tropical Teas: Hawaiian teas may feature infusions or blends that incorporate tropical fruits, such as pineapple, mango, or passionfruit, to create unique and refreshing flavors. View Tropical Teas

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Vegetal: adjective of something related to vegetables or plants.

Vitamin: organic compounds that aid growth and nutrition, and are taken in small quantities.


Wahine: Hawaiian word for woman.

White Tea: a lightly processed tea made from young tea leaves and buds, resulting in a mild and subtle flavor. View White Teas 

Withering: an essential step in tea making that is particularly for non-fermented teas such as green, white, and yellow teas. It involves allowing freshly plucked tea leaves to lose moisture and become wilted through exposure to air. Withering helps prepare the leaves for subsequent processing steps and plays a significant role in shaping the tea's final characteristics. 

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Compiled by Sage Marume