Guide & Glossary

Guide to ratings

I use the following personal grading system on the site rather than the official tea leaf grading, which is generally used for Indian and Sri Lankan tea.

  • Top quality: Top grade tea that is considered exceptional in its category.
  • Good quality: Second or third grade tea that is of high quality but not the most outstanding in its category.
  • Decent quality: Leaf grade is pretty good and I’d be happy to buy this
  • Drinkable (but I wouldn’t buy it)
  • Undrinkable (I spat it out)

Glossary of tea terms

Tea terminology can be incredibly confusing for newcomers so here’s my glossary of the tea terms I use on this site, to which I will add more words and definition as I use them.

blended tea: tea that has been combined with other products such as fruit, flowers or herbs.

fermentation: a chemical process whereby bacteria or other micro-organisms break down a substance. Pu’er and kombucha are both fermented teas, black tea and oolong tea are not.

flavoured tea: tea that contains added flavouring, including natural or synthetic essences or oils.

herbal infusion: a drink of leaves or herbs containing no Camellia sinensis.

petrichor: the smell of approaching rain, which I use to describe pu’er.

scented tea: tea that has been co-processed with another plant, usually a flower, taking on its flavour properties but, unlike blended tea, does not contain that plant in its finished product.

tea: product of the plant Camellia sinensis. Cultivars include Camellia sinensis sinensis, Camellia sinensis japonica and Camellia sinensis assamica.

tisane: a drink of fruit or herbs containing no Camellia sinensis.

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