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TEA 101

As a service to our subscribers and website visitors, this page offers some more information about tea and tea traditions for those who wish to learn more or have missed some of our past print issues.

Don't miss Tea Bureau with links to all aspects of the tea industry, tea news, and tea time fun.



Camellia sinensis is the scientific classification for the tea plant. One of the most interesting and surprising facts about tea for newcomers is that ALL types of tea, white, green, oolong, and black, come from the same plant. What determines a type of tea's "color" is the processing the newly picked leaves will undergo before they reach your cup. Learn more at

LEARN MORE ~ TOPICS BELOW Or scroll down this page.

     -Grading Terminology for Tea leaves
     -Tea Tasters' Vocabulary
     -Tea and Food Pairings
     -Tea Processing
     -Reading Tea Leaves for Fun
     -High Tea, Low Tea, what's the difference?
     -The Art of Tea Tasting for Personal Pleasure.
     -Tea vs. Coffee~Respect in Brewing
     -Tea & Health
     -What is a Silver Tea - Fundraiser Tea?
     -Tea Party Planner



Grading Terminology

©2004 The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide by Jane Pettigrew, Running Press

Leaf grades are divided into the following categories:

Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP)
This denotes tea made from the end bud and first leaf of each shoot.  FOP contains fine, tender young leaves rolled with the correct proportion of tip, the delicate end pieces of the buds, that guarantee quality.

Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP)
This is FOP with "golden tips"--the very ends of the golden yellow buds.

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP)
This is FOP with a large proportion of golden tips.

Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP)
This is exceptionally high quality FOP.

Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (SFTGFOP)
This is the very best FOP.

Orange Pekoe (OP)
This contains long, pointed leaves that are larger than in FOP and have been harvested when the end buds open into leaf.  OP seldom contains "tips."

Pekoe (P)
This consists of shorter; less fine leaves than OP.





Flowery Pekoe (FP)
The leaves for FP are rolled into balls.

Pekoe Souchong (PS)
This consists of shorter, coarser leaves than P.

Souchong (S)
Large leaves are rolled, lengthwise, producing coarse, ragged pieces.  The term is often used for China's smoked teas.

Broken leaf grades are divided into the following categories:
Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (GFBOP), Golden Broken Orange Pekoe (GBOP), Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe (TGBOP), Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (TGFBOP), Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP), Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), Broken Pekoe (BP), Broken Pekoe Souchong (BPS).

Fannings/Fines (also referred to as Dusts)

Fannings are made up of the finest siftings and are useful in blends for tea bags which require a quick brew.  A number 1 is also added to broken leaf grades to denote the best quality.  Dusts and fannings are further categorized as:

Orange Fannings (OF), Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (BOPF), Pekoe Fannings (PF), Broken Pekoe Fannings (BPF), Pekoe Dust (PD), Red Dust (RD), Fine Dust (FD), Golden Dust (GD), Super Red Dust (SRD), Super Fine Dust (SFD), Broken Mixed Fannings (BMF).

Reprinted by permission from The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide by Jane Pettigrew, Running Press, $18.95 U.S.  ©2004   This is copyrighted property and may not be re-printed or used in any manner without proper authority from the publisher.  


Reprinted by permission of The Tea Assoc. of USA -

Assam: A black tea grown in the Northeast section of India. A strong full-bodied tea with a rich robust flavor. Considered by many tea lovers to be a wake-up tea to be consumed in the morning. Often used in blends because of its strong flavor and body.
Aroma: An important consideration in cupping teas is the smell which is given off. A favorable aroma is most often associated with a flavorful taste.
Astringent: A tea tasting term which describes a liquor which is pungent, creating a "dry" feeling in the mouth.
Autumnal: Describes the liquor from teas grown in Autumn, in cool weather. The term is most often applied to teas from Northern India.
Black Tea: The most commonly consumed tea in the world accounting for approximately 68% of all consumption. In the United States well over 80% of the tea consumed is black. There are five major types of teas: Black, Green, Oolong, White and Dark. (Some consider Yellow tea as a 6th category.) Black teas are fully fermented (oxidized).
Baggy: Describes an undesirable taint sometimes found in teas withered on inferior hessian or stored in sacks.
Bakey: An unpleasant characteristic noticeable in the liquors of teas which have been subjected to higher than desirable temperatures during processing.
Bancha: A Japanese tea made from coarse leaves, usually from the last plucking. This tea is generally consumed domestically.
Biscuity: A desirable trait usually referring to a well fired Assam.
Bite: A very brisk and "alive" tea liquor. A desirable trait.
Blend: A mixture of teas from several different regions or origins to achieve a certain flavor profile. Many branded teas in the United States use 20 or more origins to achieve desired taste profile.
Body: Describes a tea liquor possessing fullness and strength.
Bright: A lively tea, usually with a red / yellow liquor.
Brisk: Describes a live taste as opposed to flat or soft.
Broken Orange Pekoe: A size of tea leaf comprising the smaller leaves and tips.
Burnt: A degree worse than bakey resulting from too high dryer temperatures or too long a dwell time.
Caffeine: One of the three methylxanthines in tea (caffeine, theophylline and theobromine), caffeine stimulates the nervous system. A cup of tea averages 40 milligrams of caffeine versus approximately 110 in a cup of coffee.
Ceylon Tea: The common name for teas grown in Sri Lanka.
Ceylon Breakfast: A blend of teas grown on the hillsides of Sri Lanka producing a rich golden liquor with superb flavor.
Chai: Usually a black tea blended with various spices and warmed/steamed milk. A common drink in parts of India.
Chest: Traditional way of packaging bulk teas which is rarely used today. Typically, chests are of wood sides with wooden battens and paper lined with aluminum on the inside protecting the tea.
Chesty: Tea which has been contaminated by improperly seasoned or inferior chest panels.
China Oolong: Semi-fermented (oxidized) tea. Most well known Oolongs are manufactured in China.
Common: Describes the liquor of inferior tea having little character.
Chop: From the Hindi; means to stamp. A chop of tea means a certain number of chests all containing the same tea, usually produced at or around the same time.
Coppery: Refers to color of the tea liquor, like a new penny. A good trait resulting from good manufacturing processes.
Creaming Down: The process of teas turning cloudy caused by the precipitation of tea solids that have formed chelates and fall out of solution.
Croppy: Describes a bright, strong creamy liquor with distinctive character. Usually found in some second flush Assams and Dooars of Orthodox manufacture.
Darjeeling: A very high quality black tea grown in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in Northern India. Second flush Darjeelings often have a strong "Muscatel" flavor. Today, some call Darjeeling the champagne of teas.
Dooar: Tea grown in the Dooars district located in Central India.
Dull: Tea liquor which is not clear or bright.
Dust: A term used to describe the smallest particles of tea leaf.
Earthy: An unfavorable characteristic generally caused by storing tea under damp conditions.
English Breakfast: Originally a blend of China Keemuns and later referring to a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas, today this refers to any tea blend that is strong, thick and takes milk and sugar well.
Estate: A term used to describe a garden where tea is grown.
Fannings: A small size of tea leaf, larger than dust but smaller thatn BOP.
Fermentation: A term used to describe the natural chemical process that takes place in the tea leaf after withering and rolling when making Oolong and Black teas. The actual chemical transformation which takes place is oxidation. Even though the term is chemically incorrect, it remains in common usage.
Fibrous: A term used to describe teas that contain pieces of leaf fiber in finished tea.
Fine: Teas of exceptional quality and flavor.
Flavour: Very characteristic taste and aroma of fine teas, usually associated with high grown teas.
Flowery Orange Pekoe: A leaf size larger and usually more open than an Orange Pekoe grade.
Flush: The new growth on a tea plant consisting of a full complement of leaves. It takes about 15 - 20 days for bush to flush after plucking.
Formosa: Tea grown on the island of Taiwan (Republic of China).
Full: A strong tea with good color and no bitterness.
Fully-fired: Referring to the taste of the liquor when the tea has been slightly over fired.
Garden: Refers to an estate where tea is grown.
Golden Tip: A desirable feature in whole leaf teas resulting when the buds of the tea leaf turn golden during processing.
Gone off: Tea which is not good because it is old, mouldy, or otherwise tainted.
Grainy: Refers to well-made fannings and dust, usually associated with CTC manufacture.
Green: Describes an unpleasant astringency which may be due to inadequate withering or fermentation.
Green tea: Tea which has been heated after plucking to prevent oxidation. Heating can be done by either steaming or pan-firing the tea which denatures enzymes that would cause oxidation to take place.
Gunpowder: A type of Green tea which has been rolled into pellets.
Gyokuro: A prized Japanese Green Tea which is rich in taste and pleasing to the eye. The tea undergoes special handling at every stage of its growth (shaded) and processing (hand-fired).
Hard: A desirable quality suggesting pungency, particularly applied to Assam teas.
Harsh: Refers to a tea which is bitter.
Heavy: A tea which is thick and colory, containing little briskness or astringency.
High-fired: A tea that has remained in a dryer too long a period of time, but not quite considered to be burnt.
Hungry: Describes the liquor of a tea which is lacking in cup quality.
Hyson, Young Hyson: A Chinese Green Tea named for the East India merchant who first sold it in England. Young Hyson is generally preferred to Hyson.
I-Chiban Cha: A Japanese term referring to the first flush or first plucking of tea. It is generally a very delicate tasting tea.
Imperial Tea: Traditionally from China, this is a Green Tea made from older leaves left after the Gunpowder tea is sorted.
Instant Tea: Developed in the 1930's and commercialized in the 50's, instant tea is produced by extracting the tea solids from the leaf and then drying them resulting in a powder form.
Jasmine: The Chinese use Green Tea as the base to which Jasmine flowers are used to scent the tea. The finest Chinese Jasmine is called Yin Hao and Chun Hao. Formosa Jasmines use Pouchong tea as a base. Pouchong is allowed to wither for a longer period of time (than Green) before it is fired which places it between Green and Oolong.
Keemun: A fine grade of Black Tea from China. It has a dark amber color and unique "winey" liquor.
Lapsang Souchong: A fine grade of China Black tea with a distinctive smoky/tarry flavor resulting results from a unique drying process that uses a specific pine to dry and smoke the tea.
Light: Describes a liquor which is rather thin and lacking depth of color but which may be flavoury or pungent or both.
Lot: Describes all of the teas offered under a single mark or serial number at any tea auction.
Metallic: An undesirable trait which imparts a metallic taste.
Mouldy: An undesirable trait characterized by a mouldy taste and odor resulting from improper storage.
Muddy: A term which describes a dull or lifeless liquor.
Muscatel: Describes a characteristic reminiscent of grapes. Also describes an exceptional characteristic found in the liquors of the finest second flush Darjeelings.
Mushy: A tea which may have been packed too moist.
Musty; Fusty: A tea liquor in which there is suspicion of mold.
New: Describes a tea which has not had adequate time to mellow.
Nose: A term that refers to the aroma of tea and the infused leaf.
Old: Describes liquor from tea which has lost through age those attributes which it possessed originally.
Oolong: Partially "fermented" tea. Plucked leaves are withered and are then allowed to ferment (oxidize) before drying. Oolongs lie between green and black teas on a sliding scale.
Orange Pekoe: Is used to identify a large leaf size. The tea is characterized by long, thin, wiry leaves which sometimes contain the white or yellow tip of the leaf bud.
Organoleptic: The process used by most tea tasters to evaluate the quality of a tea using all the senses.
Pan-fired: The process by which fresh tea leaves are heated to denature enzymes that cause oxidation. Traditionally, the leaves would be heated on a hot metal surface, such as a wok. This is typically associated with China's green tea process.
Pekoe: A size of tea leaf characterized by leaves which are shorter and not as wiry as Orange Pekoe. The liquors generally have more color.
Pekoe Souchong Congous: A Chinese black tea which is curly and relatively tippy. Well made samples are bright with a thick, rich and powerful liquor.
Pingsuey: Named after the the market town, this is an old style green tea from China, similar to Hoochows, but with better style.
Plain: Describes teas which are clean and innocuous but lacking character.
Point; pointy: A most desirable brisk pungent characteristic.
Pouchong: Some of the finest quality and high priced teas. A very fragrant tea which is also used as a base for making Jasmine Tea.
Pu'Erh/ Puerh: Technically classified as a dark tea, the best of these are often aged for decades before use. The base may be "cooked" or "uncooked", and after processing, the teas are stored and microbes are allowed to ferment on the tea. Tastes and aromas can range from earthy to elegant. In China it has been customarily drunk with or after meals as a digestif.
Pungent: Describes a tea liquor having marked briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without bitterness.
Quality: Describes a preponderance of desirable attributes which are the essential characteristics of a good tea.
Rains; rainy: Describes liquor of a dull plain tea manufactured during the rainy season.
Red Tea: Background:
The term “Red Tea” has always been confusing to both the tea trade as well as consumers. The situation has worsened today as a result of the introduction of a South African Herbal plant called Rooibos or Red Bush from which an herbal tea is made. The purpose of this Position Paper is to provide a guideline for both the trade and consumers to help distinguish between traditional tea, from Camellia sinensis and Rooibos Herbal tea.

Early Definition:
Beginning in the 16th Century and extending to the beginning of the 20th Century, the term “Red Tea” was used by Chinese tea merchants as their name for what the rest of the world would call Black Tea. Today, the term is still used in China, but much less commonly.

In its original form, it described a fully fermented / oxidized tea and it was (is) subsequently used to describe both fully fermented and semi-fermented teas by some members of the Trade.

Current Usage:
Today, several packers of Rooibos have begun labeling their tea as Red Tea. Used alone without any qualification, this can be misleading to consumers who think they are consuming traditional tea so that they may benefit from the much publicized health benefits associated with that product. While Rooibos Tea may also contain health benefits, the body of research supporting claims for Rooibos is tiny in comparison to the volumes of scientific evidence published about the health benefits of Camellia sinensis.

To avoid this potential for confusion, The Tea Association of the USA has approved the following guideline for dissemination to the traditional and herbal tea industries:

Red Tea Guideline:
When using the term “Red Tea” to describe a product derived from the Rooibos or Red Bush plant, the term should be qualified by stating that it contains Rooibus Herbal Tea. When using the term “Red Tea” to describe a traditional Black Tea or Oolong Tea, the term should be so qualified through the use of these descriptors.

While an element of confusion continues to exist, the appropriate use of these modifiers should minimize it.
Rich: A mellow liquor which is abounding in quality and thickness.
Roughness: A term used to connote harshness.
Russian Caravan: A blend of China Black Teas. Although there is little consistency between available blends in the marketplace.
Sappy: Describes a tea liquor which has a full juicy flavor.
Scented tea: These are teas which, after processing are put in close proximity with various flowers or spices under controlled temperature and humidity conditions for periods of about 4 hours in order for the fragrances to be fully infused in the tea leaves.
Self-drinking: Describes an original tea which is palatable in itself and does not necessarily require blending before being consumed by the public.
Sencha: The most common green tea in Japan, the leaves are steamed and then flattened using special "foot" rollers, and comprise about 75% of total tea production.
Silver Tip Pekoe: A very costly tea from China and Sri Lanka, made from full-grown buds of special cultivars. This is sometimes referred to as White Tea.
Silvery Oolong: Another costly tea which utilizes the delicate whitish leaf from the first flush.
Smokey: This term describes an odor or taste of smoke, often caused by a leak or defect in the drier.
Soft: A tea which is under fermented (under oxidized).
Sour: This describes an undesirable acid odor and taste.
Spicy: A liquor having character, suggestive of cinnamon or cloves. This is sometimes, but not always, the effect of contamination or poor storage.
Stalky: Used to describe a tea with visible stalk. Stalk refers to the woody portions of the tea bush, resulting from plucking too far down the bush.
Standing up: A tea which holds its original color and flavor is described in this manner.
Stand-out: No surprises here. A tea liquor which is much above average.
Stewed; stewy: Describes certain thick liquoring teas, having undesirable characteristics as a result of incorrect firing.
Strength; strong: Describes a liquor with powerful tea characteristics, but not necessarily thick. A very desirable characteristic, but not essential in certain flavory teas.
Sumatra: Tea grown on the island of Sumatra. Grades and characteristics are similar to Java teas.
Taint: An undesirable characteristic with a taste and odor foreign to the tea.
Tannin: A class of chemicals contained in tea that are thought to be responsible for tea's health benefits. The contribute heavily to the taste and pungent characteristics of tea.
Tarry: A tea which has a smokey aroma. Not desired unless the tea is a Lapsang Souchong.
Tea: The leaf and extracted liquor of the shrub Camellia sinensis. No other beverages merit the unqualified term "tea".
Tea Taster: An expert judge of the beverage. A person who uses organoleptic means to discern various characteristics and qualities of tea.
Tip: The leaf bud of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Thick: Describes tea liquor having substance, but not necessarily strength.
Thin; weak: Tea liquor which lacks thickness or strength.
Tisane: A term which describes an herbal infusion.
Toasty: A tea which has been slightly overfired during processing. It may be a desirable characteristic in some Darjeeling teas.
Weathery: Describes a soft, unpleasant characteristic, which is occasionally evident in the liquors of teas processed during very wet weather.
Weak: Teas which have a thin liquor.
White Tea: Background

White Tea’s origins are found in the Fujian province of China around A.D. 1000. Even then it was considered to be amongst the rarest of teas and to possess the most delicate flavor. Until recently, only teas coming from this province were considered White Tea and then, only if its production followed very strict harvesting and processing requirements.

Those requirements include harvesting the unfurled leaf bud of the Camellia sinensis plant at the beginning of the first seasonal flush. The raw tea leaf is then steamed and dried with no rolling or fermentation (oxidation) taking place. The finished product takes on the look of silver needles, a name that has been used to describe this type of tea. Within the category of White Tea, Silver Needle was the first type to be created followed by Bai Mu Tan (White Peony), Gong Mei and Shou Mei. In all cases the resultant brew ranges in color from clear liquoring to “hay” tints, with virtually no green color in the cup.

Even today, Chinese traditionalists consider White Tea to be a national treasure and while acknowledging its production in other countries, the feeling is that quality does not match White Tea produced in Fujian Province.

Proposed New Definition
The Tea Association of the USA has proposed a new definition.
In order for White Tea to be so termed it should be:
  • White Tea should be produced in accordance with the strict harvesting and processing guidelines as originally established and followed in the Fujian Province of China. Only the hand-picked, unopened leaf bud, or the hand-picked, unopened leaf bud and first two leaves from the first seasonal flush of the Camellia sinensis plant should be harvested. The raw tea leaf should not be rolled or otherwise have its leaf/cellular structure ruptured.

    Tea leaves may be dried and/or be steamed (or similar enzyme de-activation) and then dried. The finished tea should be packaged in such a way as to protect the physical and organoleptic quality of the tea that contribute to the uniqueness of this form.

White Tea can be made by any tea producing country providing manufacture conforms to the above harvesting and processing steps.

Pure Buds - This corresponds to :Snow Buds” or “Silver Needles” from China and Silver Tip from Sri Lanka, e.g., whole long fine unopened buds delivering very light subtle liquor.

Whole Leaf - Chinese Pai Mu Tan is commonly called White Tea. It contains both fine whole buds and coarse unfermented and non-graded green leaves. Value depends on proportion of buds, leaf appearance as well as liquor quality and color (the paler, the better). Fannings Grade - For tea bag usage, green fannings that exhibit a high content of tip may be included as White Tea. The presence of tip must be clear and confirmed by a tea expert.
Well twisted: A tea leaf which is tightly rolled or twisted, indicative of good withering.
Wiry: Another term which means well twisted.
Woody: A characteristic reminiscent of freshly-cut timber. This trait is usually associated with teas processed very late in the season



Reprinted by permission from The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide by Jane Pettigrew, Running Press, $18.95 U.S.  ©2004   This is copyrighted property and may not be re-printed or used in any manner without proper authority from the publisher.  



 Tea and Food Pairings

©2004 The Tea Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide by Jane Pettigrew, Running Press

Tea is a gourmet beverage that pairs very successfully with all types of food.  Just as wines are selected to enhance the flavor of certain foods, so teas may also be matched to particular savory or sweet items on the menu.  Different varieties of tea should be carefully chosen to create a marriage of flavors and a truly delightful gastronomic experience.

The following is a guide to help in the choice of teas to pair with particular meals or individual foods.

Types of Food


Suitable Teas


Continental-style breakfast

(breads, cheese, jams, etc.)

Yunnan, Ceylon, Indonesian, Assam, Dooars, Terai, Travancore, Nilgiri, Kenya, Darjeeling

English-style breakfast

(fried foods, eggs, smoked fish, ham, bacon, etc.)

Ceylon, Kenya, African blends, Assam, Tarry Souchong, Lapsang Souchong

Light savory meals

Yunnan, Lapsang Souchong, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Assam, Green teas, Oolongs

Spicy foods

Keemun, Ceylon, Oolongs, Darjeeling, Green teas, Jasmine, Lapsang Souchong

Strong cheeses

Lapsang Souchong, Earl Grey, Green Teas


Oolongs, Smoked teas, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Green teas

Meat and game

Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Kenya, Jasmine


Lapsang Souchong, Darjeeling, Oolongs, Jasmine

Tea time

All teas

After a meal

White and green teas, Keemun, Oolongs, Darjeeling




Tea Processing

©2005 Tales of a Tea Leaf~The Complete Guide to Tea Cuisine by Jill Yates, Square One Publishers

Each category of tea: black, green, oolong, and white, is processed differently.  To process tea is to prepare it for packing, and ultimately consumption.  Once plucked in the field, the process begins.  Black tea is the most processed tea, undergoing either the CTC or orthodox methods. In processing some or all steps are used depending on the intended resulting type of tea.

CTC. (Cut, Tear, Curl): CTC processing method uses machines to literally cut, tear, and curl the withered tea leaves into small, grainy pieces.  The leaves are then fired, or dried, to remove the moisture.  This method provides quick processing for a high volume of tea leaves, as is commonly used in tea bags.

In the orthodox method of tea manufacture, the tea leaves are also withered, and then rolled, oxidized (also known as fermented), and fired, described as follows:

Withering. Freshly harvested tea leaves are spread out onto tables or trays and left to air dry, or "wither."  This preserves the leaf by removing most of the moisture.  As moisture evaporates from the leaf, it becomes soft and limp in preparation for the next step, rolling.

Rolling.  Machines break the cells in the withered leaves, which releases the tea leaf's juices and enzymes.  This exposes them to the air and enhances oxidation, which is the next step.  In the highest quality tea, this process is done by hand.

Oxidation.  Also known as fermentation.  Oxidation begins during the rolling process as the enzymes and juices of the broken leaves are exposed to air, resulting in a natural chemical process that produces the unique aroma and flavor of the tea.  The rolled leaves are spread out in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room where the tea leaf color deepens from green to a reddish-brown, and then to nearly black.

Firing.  The oxidized tea leaves are fired, or dried, by slowly heating them in a drying chamber.  This stops the oxidation process and dehydrates the leaves in preparation for storage.


From Tales of a Tea Leaf~The Complete Guide to Tea Cuisine by Jill Yates, Square One Publishers, $13.95 ISBN 0-7570-0099-1  ©2005 The following information is used by permission of Square One.  This is copyrighted property and may not be re-printed or used in any manner without proper authority from the publisher.



©2005 Tales of a Tea Leaf~The Complete Guide to Tea Cuisine by Jill Yates, Square One Publishers

"Matrons, who toss the cup and see the grounds of fate in grounds of tea."
~Alexander Pope (1688-1744) 

The art of reading tea leaves is centuries old.  While it's highly respected in the East, its popularity was lost in the West with advent of the tea bag.  As the use of loose leaf tea increases, so do the opportunities to practice this ancient art.  To see what your cup of tea has to say about the future, follow these simple steps:

1. Brew loose leaf tea in a pot and pour; unrestrained, into your cup.

2.  Drink all but the last sip, leaving a teaspoon of tea and the leaves in your cup.

3.  Swirl the tea and leaves three times counter clockwise.

4.  Turn the cup over and place on the saucer.  Wait for the tea to drain out.

5.  Turn the cup right side up and examine the pattern of the leaves.

6.  Leaves near the top deal with the near future, leaves on the bottom of the cup, the distant future.  Leaves near the handle are said to relate to the home.

7.  The formation of symbols in the leaves is used to tell the future.  A few include:



Star~good luck


Tree~success, happiness


Dog~a good friend



Above from Tales of a Tea Leaf~The Complete Guide to Tea Cuisine by Jill Yates, Square One Publishers, $13.95 ISBN 0-7570-0099-1  ©2005 The following information is used by permission of Square One.  This is copyrighted property and may not be re-printed or used in any manner without proper authority from the publisher. 



From A Little Indulgence -- TEA ©2005 CQ Products.

HIGH TEA:  The term "High Tea" is often misused because people think the names sounds lofty and regal.  High Tea, in fact, refers to tea that was served at a high dining table rather than a low tea table.  During the Industrial Revolution, the second half of the Victorian Era, working class families would return home exhausted after a long day.  The table would be set with foods like Welsh rabbit, shepherd's pie, steak, bread, butter, potatoes, pickles, cheese and tea.

LOW TEA: Also known as Afternoon Tea, Low Tea was usually taken late in the afternoon.  It was taken in the sitting room where low tables, like coffee tables, were placed near chairs and sofas.  Tiny tea sandwiches, scones and pastries were served with Afternoon Tea.  These finger foods were ideal, as the small bites allowed for guests to easily maintain conversation.

TEA ROOMS:  As teas became more popular, Tea Rooms sprang up throughout England and many served tea daily from 3 to 5 in the afternoon.  Today most Tea Rooms offer three basic types of Afternoon Tea:

        Cream Tea -- tea served with scones, jam and cream.

        Light Tea -- tea served with scones and sweets.

        Full Tea -- tea served with savories, scones and dessert.

This above description of High & Low Teas is from A Little Indulgence -- TEA ©2005 CQ Products. The information is used by permission of CQ Products.  This is copyrighted property and may not be re-printed or used in any manner without proper authority from the publisher.



Written by : Indi Khanna, Tea 'n' Teas.

For most tea drinkers, the mental picture that springs to mind when there is mention of ‘tea tasting’ is of some mysterious ritual beyond the lay person’s comprehension.  A ceremony which only the abstinent ‘tea taster’ fully understands the rules of.

Taste being perceptible only by the human palate and since that development of that sense is achieved only after years of dedicated training before one is able to develop oneself into a professional taster, is it any wonder then that the taster’s art form is viewed with a tinge of awe and wonderment.

Far from being shrouded in anonymity, the skill of tea tasting, much like the tasting of wine, is an art form acquired by the taster, who does not necessarily conform to the generally held picture of a ‘Tea Taster’ as a tea totaling introvert.  The tasters skill is acquired through years of practice during which the ‘taster’ slurps his/her way through countless cups of tea ranging from the very ordinary, watery brews to those sublime cups which transport one to a different level.  Tea tasting is after all, only a talent, albeit drawing upon an encyclopedic knowledge built up over years of slurping, which enables the expert to not only identify, but also intensify the subtle nuances and essences of a particular tea by comparing them to other teas.

From the time tea was introduced to the West, well into the early part of the 19th century, any tea sold was simply unblended leaf, shipped directly from the tea estates and consumed as such regardless of variations in taste or quality.  That there would be wide variations from one consignment to the next was a ‘hazard’, well accepted by the tea consumer.  Over the years, as with most other consumer products, the habit of tea drinking also matured.  This growing level of sophistication, lead naturally into a heightened expectation in the minds of the consumer with an unstated demand for uniformity.  And so, with the maturing of consumer tastes, evolved the practice of retailing a blend with a pre-set taste profile which would offset seasonal and other variances in characteristics, thereby providing the consumer with the ‘same’ cup of tea throughout the year.

This demand for a pre-determined standard to be maintained throughout the year is what created a new breed of professionals.  Tea Tasters!  The job demanded individuals who had their senses of sight, taste and smell developed to the highest possible level, since the job required not only a sharp eye, but also an equally delicate and discriminating nose and palate.

A cursory understanding of how the professional practices his art unveils the ‘mystery’, enabling the casual tea drinker to better enjoy a cup of tea as a multi-sensory experience.

The basic equipment which a tea taster uses, includes:

  • A tea tasting set.  This includes a tasting bowl and a brewing cup with a lid.

  • A weighing scale.  To measure accurately a similar portion of tea for each cup.  This is usually 3 grams of tea.

  • A tasting spoon.  Similar to a soup spoon, though a mite deeper.

  • A spittoon.  To spit out the tea after tasting it

  • A timer.  So that the tea may be steeped for a precise time of 3-5 minutes.

For the ‘lay taster’ a couple of small teapots, cups, spoons and any watch or clock serves the purpose just as well.

While tasting tea without adding any milk to the cup is preferable from the point of view of sharper judgment, it is a subjective choice to taste with or without milk, just so long as an equal quantity of milk is added to each cup.

Once the ‘equipment’ is ready, choose the teas you wish to taste.  Initially avoid being too expansive in the range.  Start with a few cups and gradually over a period of time, as your palate begins to discriminate the nuances, increase the number of cups in one session.  A thumb rule to follow is to set up the teas in a progression of increasing intensity.  If conducting a tasting across types, the general order to follow would be:






However, since each type of tea is so poles apart from the other, try as far as possible, to avoid tasting different types of teas in one session.  Then again, the size of the leaf being in inverse ratio to the strength of the cup, if it is blacks you are tasting, the larger sized leaf particle should be tasted first, followed by the smaller grades leading to the smallest sized grade at the end.

Basically Tea-tasting involves your three senses, smell, sight and, of course, taste. Let’s start with sight, look at the color of the teas laid out before you.  You may notice that the color of the teas can vary greatly, even within the same type of teas.  Now move a step forward, to aroma.   In order to intensify the smell of wine you swirl the wine in the glass and sniff.  Similarly with tea, the best way to release what is called the "bouquet" is to hold the lid onto the teapot, AFTER the liquor has been poured out, and shake. Now lift up the lid and inhale.  While you may not be able to describe the smell, take that as being a non-issue, because after going through the routine with many teas you will begin to notice similarities and differences.  Finally taste.  To experience the full taste of the tea, concentrate on the initial taste, the taste, and the aftertaste. Take a sip of a tea and hold it in your mouth.  Swirl or gargle in your mouth so the liquid is distributed throughout.  You cannot help but notice the flavor and texture left coating your mouth.  That’s about it!  Try not to be intimidated by the apparent number of steps involved.  Simply and very naturally allow the three senses of sight, smell, and taste to extract the most out of each cup. The more teas you try and the more attention you pay to each cup, the better you will become at appreciating each tea's distinct characteristics!  To take this step by step:

  • Arrange your dry tea samples on plates or bowls for inspection of leaf grade, particle size, color, tips, and overall uniformity.
  • Place approximately an equal volume, depending upon the size of the tea pots you have, of between 2-3 grams, of tea in each teapot.

  •  A thumb rule is to use approximately 2 to 3 grams of tea leaves per 6 ounces of water.

  • Pour an equal amount of water which has ‘just boiled’ into each teapot.

  • It is preferable to use the freshest and purest water available.  Hard water is best avoided.

  • Depending upon the size of the leaf, steep the samples for 3-5 minutes, before straining out the leaves

  • The soggy mess of leaf is eloquent to the extreme and has an interesting story to tell, so inspect the infused leaves for fragrance and leaf condition.  A bright coppery hue points to a ‘good’ tea.  On the other hand, a dull infusion means an unexciting cup!

  • It is often helpful to cup your hand over the top of the vessel to funnel the vapor toward your nose.  It doesn’t take an expert to tell you what a good aroma, a good ‘nose’ in the taster’s parlance, indicates.

  • The final step is to taste the liquor.  Professional tasters typically slurp the tea from a teaspoon.  This slurping, which children are constantly berated about, aerates the tea and sprays it across the entire palate, giving the mouth a full bodied ‘taste punch’. 

  • Once the tea is sprayed into your mouth, swish the mouthful around your mouth, sucking in further short bursts of air, in order to release the more delicate characteristics inherent in the tea.

  • While definitely not in the first couple of tastings, but as the palate begins to get used to the onslaught, your senses will automatically start recognizing and characterizing the subtle nuances.  The first step to YOUR encyclopedic knowledge!

  • Having tasted the tea, like a true professional, you spit out into the spittoon.

Human perception and appreciation of flavor and aroma, like most sensory cues can, and do get easily swayed significantly by the time of day, mood and even inconsequential environmental factors such as the lighting, cleanliness and organization of the tasting room.  One of the key elements of professional tasting being consistency, wherever possible, tasting sessions should occur at the same time each day while the tasting room should be kept clean, clear and free of obtrusive odors.  It is needless to say that the taster(s) should refrain from the consumption of strongly-flavored foods prior to a tasting.

While the professional Tea Taster employs a bewildering vocabulary to describe the leaf, the infusion, the liquor and the whole experience in general, the lay person should be simply content with being able to differentiate between the good and the bad.  That very demarcation is, after all, exactly what the tasters confusing phraseology boils down to.

While any questions are welcome, the author is also available for professional tasting sessions or consultancy.  For details, please write to

Above article Written by : Indi Khanna, Tea 'n' Teas.

©2006 Indi Khanna -- May not be re-printed or used in any manner without prior permission from the author.



©2006 The Tea House Times

Do you know how to brew a proper cup of tea at home?  Does your restaurant or tea shop offer a properly brewed, decent cup of tea?  You certainly know how to brew a pot of coffee; tea isn’t any more difficult.  It’s time to train restaurant staff in proper tea brewing techniques to satisfy the growing consumer trend towards a healthy, tea drinking habit.

In the tea industry there is a lot of talk about properly brewing a tasteful cup of tea; and to tea professionals it comes easily, naturally.  Tea has come a long way since the invention of the tea bag.  Before tea bags, everyone used loose leaf teas.  Now people are getting back to basics and buying loose leaf teas for the higher quality and freshness it provides.  If you can brew a pot of coffee, you can certainly give tea the same amount of respect and brew up a fresh, delicious, pot of tea.  The key to serving delicious tea is proper water temperature depending upon what type of tea you are serving, and proper brewing time.

The biggest no-no in tea brewing is brewing loose leaf teas or even tea bags in the bottom of a teapot and then leaving them there for an undetermined amount of time.  A lot of restaurants and high class hotels serving afternoon tea do this. ~ The pot is then served to the guest with no way of removing the leaves.  Those fancy little strainers are nice to strain the tea into your cup, but only good if you are serving the entire pot all at once to a number of people.  Otherwise, the entire pot should be strained off into a different pot and served without the leaves floating on the bottom of the pot.  If leaves are left in the pot, the pot keeps stewing and the brew becomes completely undrinkable, bitter, and wasted.  Some restaurants and hotels then proceed to offer you more water to add to the tea still floating on the bottom of your pot.  This does not help at all.  It only waters down the bitter brew remaining in your pot.

Always start with the best quality water or filtered or bottled water. Bring to a full boil and rest to the desired temperature for a particular tea.  In general, black teas and herbal tisanes require water at full boil temperature, oolong teas require water just under boiling temperature.  Green and white teas require slightly cooler water.  Green teas or tightly rolled tea leaves such as gunpowder and oolong may be brewed, leaves removed, and brewed a few times over; still producing a fine, tasteful cup of tea.  Black teas should be brewed only one time and leaves removed and discarded.  For convenience you may purchase sacs for your loose tea (at your local tea shop).  Measure approximately one teaspoon per cup of tea into the sac.  Place the sac into your cup or pot and allow to brew 3-5 minutes depending on preference of tea strength.  Remove the sac and enjoy your tea.  Reuse your sac for another cup of green tea.

There are a lot of different ways to strain your tea leaves.  Baskets may also be purchased to nestle inside your teacup or pot.  Then when the tea is ready, remove the basket and discard the leaves.  You may also purchase a tea ball which serves the same purpose.  Just be sure whatever method you choose, that the basket or sac or tea ball is twice the size of your intended amount of tea leaves.  The leaves need room to expand and release flavor.

Now, does that sound so difficult?  If you can make coffee by measuring it out into a filter and brewing, you can certainly measure out tea and brew it with the same ease.  Gone are the days of thinking tea bags are the answer to a quick, good cup of tea.  Some tea bags ARE good, but loose leaf teas offer a longer shelf life and you also get more for your money, thus the best option for restaurants who wish to offer a fine cup of tea to their customers.

In the interest of time, restaurants may wish to allow customers to time their own tea, saving the server the time it takes to brew.  Serve tea in a pot (using a sac or basket for the leaves) along with a timer (set for when the server started the brewing) and perhaps a bread plate to place the sac upon when the tea has reached the consumer’s liking.  If the server will brew the tea, be sure it is fully strained into a different pot or use a sac or basket or tea ball and remove before serving.

Brewing up a proper cup of tea is not difficult.  Many people who have not yet become tea drinkers will likely change their minds if offered a properly brewed cup of tea.  It’s fun to experiment with tea and now loose teas and higher quality tea bags are being offered in tea shops and even supermarkets, making it very convenient for the consumer.  Enjoy your tea.



The Tea House Times, Tea Health Guide
written by Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS & Gail Gastelu

*All matters pertaining to your health should be supervised;
consult your physician.*

Tea (Camellia sinensis) refers to Black, Oolong, Green, and White teas.  The teas differ by levels of processing.  Black is fully oxidized, Oolong is partially oxidized, and Green is not.  The Health Properties are similar due to similar bioactive health substances, like bioflavonoids, for example.  This page is a sampling of our Tea Health Guide.  The Tea Health Guide is written to provide quality information to the tea trade and consumers.

The following offers a scientific view of the health properties of Green Tea with some comparisons to Black Tea.  If you are a registered user of our Tea Course website, you may log in and download the full version of our Tea Health Guide.

This is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced by or for any means electronic or print.  Scientific references follow the article.


Green Tea -- a bioflavonoid-containing plant product - has been enjoyed as a hot beverage and an herbal remedy in China and Japan for thousands of year.  Researchers have investigated green tea's healing properties and have discovered some interesting health benefits which include protection against certain infections; improved cardiovascular health; better dental hygiene; and protection from developing some types of cancer.

What exactly is Green Tea?

There are many different types of teas available these days.  Some are sold as herbal teas to distinguish them from black tea.  Green tea and regular tea come from the same plant - the Camellia sinensis shrub, which is native to Asia.  The leaves of Camellia sinensis are dried and cured in different ways to yield different types of tea.

Black varieties of tea, which are very popular in European countries and the United States, are prepared by processing, oxidation, and drying the tea leaves.  Green tea does not undergo oxidation.  Instead, the leaves are steamed, dried, and ready for use.  The steaming inactivates enzymes present in the tea leaves that can slowly break down the bioflavonoids.  Therefore, the green tea process preserves much of the beneficial nutrient content found in the fresh tea leaves.  The black tea varieties undergo chemical changes during the oxidation process, destroying most of the bioflavonoid content.

Does Green Tea contain caffeine?

Green tea does contain caffeine, but only roughly half as much as a cup of coffee or cola soft drink.  Specifically, a 6-ounce cup of green tea can contain 15 to 60 mg of caffeine.  There are decaffeinated green tea beverages and supplements available for people who want to avoid caffeine intake while experiencing the health benefits.

What are the Health Benefits of Green Tea?

Based on experimental studies and research conducted on green-tea consumption in human populations, some of the major beneficial effects of green tea include a reduced risk of many diseases such as heart disease; a reduction of dental problems; a reduced cancer risk, especially gastrointestinal cancer; the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels; and anti-hypertensive effects.

What effect does green tea have on gastric cancer?

Japanese researchers documented a reduced risk of gastric cancers in populations drinking several cups of green tea per day.  According to vital health statistics, the death rate from cancer in both men and women in the Shizuoka region of Japan was found to be much lower than the national average.  This epidemiological study led researchers to conduct animal experiments to see if feeding green tea leaves to mice would suppress cancer cell growth.  They found that tumor growth in experimental mice fed green tea was indeed suppressed.  These results led researchers to take a closer look at the dynamics of green tea in reducing the risk of gastric cancers.  They explored which components of green tea were causing the reduction, and what other health effects green tea has on people.

In 1998, in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, researcher Suminori Kono and coworkers reported their work on the relationship of gastric cancer and diet in the Northern Kyushu region of Japan.  Their research supported the findings of other researchers: A decreased risk of gastric cancer was observed among those people with high green-tea consumption - ten or more cups a day.

How does Green Tea produce this anti-gastric cancer effect?

One way researchers believe that green tea reduces the risk of gastric cancer is that the bioflavonoids it contains has the ability to inhibit the activity of a mutagen-causing chemical called N-methyl-nitro-N-nitroguanidine.  In laboratory studies, this chemical has been shown to cause stomach cancer in animals.  Upon investigation, researchers determined that the major group of bioflavonoids primarily responsible for this protective action against gastric cancer is the catechins.  It's important to note, however, that the other bioflavonoids present in green tea also contribute to green tea's health benefits.  Usually, all the phytonutrients contained in any plant work together for maximum benefit.  This is known as synergistic.  It means that while certain activities of individual types of bioflavonoids or other phytonutrients can be determined, they seem to work better in the body when the entire phytonutrient group is present.

In 1992, Dr. Hans Stich reported his research findings in Preventive Medicine Journal, supporting the notion that the phytonutrients in green tea have chemoprotective effects, or offer protection against cancer-causing chemicals in the digestive system by inhibiting the formation or action of carcinogens present in the diet.  He found that green tea inhibited the formation of mutagenic nitrosamine products, which are suspected of causing gastric cancers.  Their inhibition can be beneficial, possibly reducing the risk of gastric cancers.

What about the cardiovascular benefits associated with drinking green tea?

There is some evidence that consumption of green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.  This can be accomplished by keeping the levels of cholesterol in the blood within a normal range, promoting good blood flow, and from reduction of oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Dr. Suminori Kono conducted a study on 1,306 men who drank nine or more cups of green tea daily.  He found them to have lower total cholesterol levels than non-green tea drinkers.  He further determined that increased consumption of green tea raises the so-called "good" high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), while lowering the so-called "bad" low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and the very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL).

Other studies on animals and humans confirm these cardiovascular health benefits.  In particular, one study conducted on adult males and females consuming 500 mg of green tea catechins - equivalent to five cups of normal green tea brew - reported the following results:  lower blood pressure; increased HDL-cholesterol; and an improvement in bowel movements, promoting regularity.  Finally, a health survey conducted by Yoshikazu Sato and coworkers reported that among the 9,510 non-alcohol drinking, non-smoking women over forty years of age, the incidence of stroke and cerebral hemorrhage was significantly lower among those women who drank five or more cups of green tea a day.

What other health benefits does green tea have?

Due to the naturally occurring amount of fluoride in green tea, as well as the anti-bacterial action of its tannins, studies on animals have confirmed the dental-caries-inhibiting effect of green tea.  Thus, green tea may be used as a preventative of dental cavities.  Other benefits of drinking green tea before, during, and after meals includes antibacterial action, antioxidant effects, reduction of blood-glucose levels, as well as the anti-gastric cancer effects mentioned previously.

Researchers believe that the glucose-suppressing effect of green tea may benefit people on weight management programs and may be useful in treating or even preventing diabetes.  Topping all of these health benefits is the research conducted by Shoichi Sadakata and coworkers who examined the longevity effects experienced among female practitioners of chanoyu-Japan's traditional tea ceremony.  The 3,380 female practitioners of chanoyu were followed over an eight year period.  Sadakata found that the women who drank green tea had a lesser risk of death from all causes than compared to the population norm.

What's the best way to take green tea in order to get all these health benefits?

In general, people benefit most from drinking some green tea and taking supplements containing green-tea extracts.  When selecting dietary supplements, look for brands with green-tea extracts standardized to 25-percent or more polyphenols.  As part of a total dietary supplement plan, green-tea extract intake of 50 mg or higher will be beneficial, with amounts of 300 to 500 mg yielding therapeutic results.  Take green tea supplements before or with your meals and enjoy a cup of green tea often, in particular with meals.

*All matters pertaining to your health should be supervised; consult your physician.*


Tea Health Guide Published by Supplementfacts Int'l and written by:

Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS; a health, fitness, and nutrition expert and author.

Gail Gastelu, owner / publisher of The Tea House Times and various special editions.


More about the author, Daniel Gastelu:

Daniel Gastelu, M.S., MFS is a health, fitness and nutrition expert and author. He currently serves as President of SUPPLEMENTFACTS International LLC, and Director of Nutritional Sciences of the International Sports Sciences Association.  Early in his career, Mr. Gastelu taught science courses at Rutgers University for the Department of Botany.  He is an avid tea drinker.

Some of Mr. Gastelu’s books include the following:

Gastelu, D., Red Rice Yeast, 2001, Health Issues Publications.

Gastelu, D., SAMe, 2001, Health Issues Publications.

Gastelu, D., The Complete Nutritional Supplements Buyer’s Guide, 2000, Random House, Inc.

Gastelu, D., All about Sports Nutrition, 2000, Avery Publishing Group.

Gastelu D., All About Bioflavonoids, 2000, Avery Publishing Group.

Gastelu, D., All About Carnitine, 2000, Avery Publishing Group.

Gastelu, D. and Hatfield, F. C., Weight Control, Fitness, and Performance Nutrition: The Complete Guide, 1999, International Sports Sciences Association.  Expanded and updated Specialist in Performance Nutrition course book.

Gastelu, D. and Hatfield, F. C., Dynamic Nutrition For Maximum Performance, 1997, Avery Publishing Group.

Gastelu, D. and Hatfield, F. C.,  Performance Nutrition: The Complete Guide. 1995, International Sports Sciences Association, Specialist in Performance Nutrition course book.

Burke, E. and Gastelu, D.,  Avery’s Sports Nutrition Almanac. 1999, Avery Publishing Group.

Weider, Ben and Weider, J. with Gastelu, D., The Edge: The Weider Guide to Ultimate Strength, Speed and Stamina, 2002, Avery Publishing Group.




Ahmad N, Feyes DK, Nieminen AL, et al. “Green tea constituent epigallacatechin-3-gallate and induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human carcinoma cells,” J Natl Cancer Inst 1997;89:1881-1886.


Dulloo AG, Seydoux J, Girardier L, et al. “Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphe­nols, caffeine, and sympathetic activity,” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2000;24:252-258.


Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans,” Am J Clin Nutrition 1999;70:1040-1045.


Erba D, Riso P, Colombo A, Testolin G. “Supplementation of Jurkat T cells with green tea extract decreases oxidative damage due to iron treatment,” J Nutr 1999;129:2130-2134.


Goto K, Kanaya S, Nishikawa T, et al. “Green tea catechins improve gut flora,”  Ann Long-Term Care 1998;6:1-7.


Graham HN. “Green tea composition, consumption, and polyphenol chemistry,” Prev Med 1992;21:334-350.


Imai, K, and K Nakachi, "Cross sectional study of effects of drinking green tea on cardiovascular and liver diseases," British Medical Journal 310, 18 March (1995): 693-696.


Imai K, Suga K, Nakachi K. "Cancer-preventative effects of drinking tea among a Japanese population,” Prev Med 1997;26:769-775.


Katiyar SK, Matsui MS, Elmets CA, Mukhtar H. “Polyphenolic antioxidant (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate from green tea reduces UVB-induced inflammatory responses and infiltration of leukocytes in human skin,” Photochem Photobiol 1999;69:148-153.


Katiyar SK, Mukhtar H. “Tea antioxidants in cancer chemoprevention,” J Cell Biochem 1997;27:S59-S67.


Kono, Suminori, et al., "A case-control study of gastric cancer and diet in Northern Kyushu, Japan," Japanese Journal of Cancer Research 79 (1988): 1067-1074.


Kono, Suminori, et al., "Green tea consumption and serum lipid profiles: a cross-sectional study in northern Kyushu, Japan," Preventative Medicine 21 (1992): 526-531.


Lee IP, Kim YH, Kang MH, et al. “Chemopreventative effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) against cigarette smoke-induced mutations (SCE) in humans,” J Cell Biochem 1997;27:S68-S75.


Sato, Y, et al., "Possible contribution of green tea drinking habits to the prevention of stroke," Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 157 (1989): 337-343.


Serafini M, Ghiselli A, Ferro-Luzzi A. “In vivo antioxidant effect of green and black tea in man,” Eur J Clin Nutr 1996;50:28-32.


Snow, J, "Herbal Monograph: Camellia sinensis," The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, Autumn (1995): 47-51.


Wang, Zhi Y, et al., "Antimutagenic activity of green tea polyphenols," Mutation Research 223 (1989): 273-285.


You S. “Study on feasibility of Chinese green tea polyphenols (CTP) for preventing dental caries,” Chung Hua Kou Hsueh Tsa Chih 1993;28:197-199.


Zhao, B, et al., "Scavenging effect of extracts of green tea and natural antioxidants on active oxygen radicals," Cell Biophysics Volume 14 (1989): 175-185.


Zhao JF, Zhang YJ, Jin XH, et al. “Green tea protects against psoralen plus ultraviolet A-induced photochemical damage to skin,” J Invest Dermatol 1999;113:1070-1075.


*All matters pertaining to your health should be supervised; consult your physician.* See reader notice below.

The information here is not intended for use as a substitute for consultation with a qualified medical practitioner, medical treatment or medical advice. If you have symptoms of any illness, or a known disease, it is essential that you see your doctor without delay. You are unique, and your diagnosis and treatment must be individualized for you by your own doctor. You are encouraged to work closely with your doctor and other health care professionals to achieve optimum health and visit them on a regular basis to monitor your health. The Tea House Times, the Author(s), and their affiliates, successors, assigns and their respective officers, directors, agents and employees will not accept responsibility for injury, loss, or damage occasioned to any person acting or refraining to act as a result of material read or provided here, whether or not such injury, loss, or damage is due in any way to any negligent act or omission, breach of duty, or default.



Silver Tea, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is a tea at which voluntary contributions of money are given usually for special fund-raising or charitable purposes.

Historically, silver has been the leading substance used for money.  Following the expansion of industrial use of silver, silver was eliminated from U.S. coins in the 1960s.  The many forms of silver; tableware, coins, and jewelry, convey a message of value or wealth and thus, a “Silver” Tea, aids in the concept of sharing one’s wealth for the benefit of others.

Silver Teas have been reported as far back as the early 1900’s.  Churches and charitable organizations have been hosting Silver Teas to benefit a multitude of worthy fundraisers.  A Silver Tea is a special gathering, creating a sense of community; enjoying one another’s company while savoring special treats and a sense of nostalgia.

Typically, food, entertainment, and labor are donated by volunteers in the organization or community.  People are invited to attend the Silver Tea and upon attending make contributions to the fundraiser.  Contributions have included silver dollars (way back when…), books (for a library in need), money, and other items as specifically needed by the fundraising organization. 

In the past, some Silver Teas were quite fancy.  One would wear their finest attire and drop their donations upon a silver tray or into a silver bowl.  The food can be quite fancy including a full afternoon tea service with sandwiches, scones, sweets, and tea; or a simple offering of desserts and tea following a church service. 

Enjoy a Silver Tea and share and give to the needs of others.



  1. Determine the type of party you plan to host. 

  2. Make a complete list of people to invite.

  3. Choose a Date, Time, and Location for your Party.  Be sure your location can accommodate the number of guests.

  4. Choose Invitations.  Hand Write pre-printed Invitations or have Special Invitations made at your local gift shoppe/paper shoppe, or Print them yourself with your home computer.  Visit your local craft store for ideas and pretty papers. Don't forget an RSVP date & your phone number & indicate whether the party is a surprise.  Print directions for guests as well and enclose with the invitations.  See our online shop page for other invitation ideas.

  5. Hand Write addresses on all envelopes.  Include a return address & proper postage.  Mail invitations 2-4 weeks prior to your event (weddings require a bit more notice). 

  6. Choose your menu.  Don't forget to offer a variety to accommodate special dietary requests.  Have a menu printed if you would like and place at each person's place setting at the party.  Cut them out with fancy scissors...very cute.

  7. Choose Party Activities and the General Itinerary for the Party.  If you are having games, will you be offering prizes?  You can get some very nice prizes at your local discount/$1 store or on clearance shelves at other stores. 

  8. Suggestions for prizes and/or favors: picture frames, small vases, candy dishes, holiday decor, teacups, teaspoon & teabags wrapped with our tea ribbon (contact us for availability), small glass dishes filled with sugar cubes-wrapped with sheer fabric & ribbon with a sugar tong or small spoon attached, The Tea House Times --rolled up & tied with tea ribbon (or possibly with a teabag and sugar tongs attached).  The Tea House Times is available in bulk for party favors.  See shop for more ideas & small teapot shaped gift bags to hold your favor goodies.

  9. Centerpieces? Your centerpiece may be floral, or for a change try this: Purchase a large, pretty fruit bowl or a basket, fill with items to fit the party theme, wrap in sheer fabric or cellophane, and tie with a big beautiful ribbon.  Place at the center of each table and create a way to win at the end of the party.  Fill it with tea towels, teacups, teas, jams, jellies, lemon curd, scone mix, sugar cubes, anything you can think of "tea" related.  Again, visit your local discount stores such as Home Goods.  Always check expiration dates on food items.  Fit your centerpiece to your budget.  If it's just not in the budget, use some pretty candles.  Or float rose petals and floating candles in a large pretty bowl filled with water.  Or get very inexpensive teapots and fill with flowers yourself (reasonable prices for floral bouquets at your supermarket or wholesale food market).   See our gift shop for teapot shaped gift bags.

  10. If you plan to have assigned seating, plan the seating arrangements and prepare place cards. Use our teapot card holders and place cards sold in the shop.

  11. Always be sure to confirm your arrangements if you are having your party at a restaurant or tea room.

  12. Assist the guest of honor in greeting guests and making sure everyone is comfortable and their dietary needs are met.

  13. Assist the guest of honor by writing down a list of all gifts received and the giver's name/s.

  14. If you are having games; lead the party games and be sure the prizes get to the winners. See our free tea party games, just register at our home page and log in.

  15. Don't leave the party until all the guests have gone and you make sure everything is cleaned up (especially if someone else offered to host the party at their home).  Pitch in and leave the place as pretty as you found it.

Seriously, you really can get some great things at the $1 store. 

Use your imagination!



*All matters pertaining to your health should be supervised; consult your physician.* See reader notice below.

The information here is not intended for use as a substitute for consultation with a qualified medical practitioner, medical treatment or medical advice. If you have symptoms of any illness, or a known disease, it is essential that you see your doctor without delay. You are unique, and your diagnosis and treatment must be individualized for you by your own doctor. You are encouraged to work closely with your doctor and other health care professionals to achieve optimum health and visit them on a regular basis to monitor your health. The Tea House Times, the Author(s), and their affiliates, successors, assigns and their respective officers, directors, agents and employees will not accept responsibility for injury, loss, or damage occasioned to any person acting or refraining to act as a result of material read or provided here, whether or not such injury, loss, or damage is due in any way to any negligent act or omission, breach of duty, or default.



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