Twinings Glossary


One of the most successful British tea clippers, built at Greenock by Robert Steele in 1863. The Taeping won the famous five-ship clipper race of 1866, taking 99 days to travel from Foochow to London, and docking just half an hour ahead of the Ariel.


An undesirable characteristic with a taste and colour foreign to the tea.


The chemical component of tea thought to be responsible for its presumed health benefits. One of the major components which contributes to the taste and pungency of tea.


A tea, which has a smoky aroma.

Taylor, James

A Scotsman who first experimented with tea planting in Sri Lanka in 1867. By 1872 he had established a tea factory and, a year later, was selling Ceylon tea in London. Taylor's pioneering efforts contributed to the early success of the Ceylon tea industry


The leaf and extracted liquor of the shrub Camellia sinensis. No other beverage merits the unqualified term tea.

Tea Act 1773

An ill-advised piece of legislation devised by Lord North to ensure that American colonists paid taxes to Britain on the tea they consumed. It led directly to the Boston Tea Party.

Tea Bag

A sealed paper bag containing finely-divided, quick-brewing tea. Tea bags are the most popular way of brewing tea in Britain and the US. They were invented by accident by a New York tea importer named Thomas Sullivan. Twinings teas are blended for the same quality in loose as in tea bag.

Tea Blight Bug

Helopeltis theivora: a common and destructive south-east Asian pest of tea bushes. Also known as the tea mosquito.

Tea Bush

(see Camellia sinensis)

Tea Chest

A foil-lined wooden box for transporting tea. The original lining was lead foil; nowadays aluminium foil is used. These days most tea is shipped in foil-lined paper sacks; only the finest teas still travel in wooden chests.

Tea Clipper

A type of sailing ship that was built for speed, so called because they could 'clip' the journey time. The distinctive features of a tea clipper were a sharply-raked bow, an overhanging stern, and acres of sail. Their brief period of pre-eminence on the seas ended with the opening of the Suez Canal.

Tea Dance

An irresistible mix of afternoon tea and dancing that began in the 1910s, and which is still popular today.

Tea Garden

A feature of eighteenth-century social life at which men and women of all classes could gather. The tea gardens included tree-lined avenues, lantern-lit walks, music, dancing, fireworks, good food, and fine tea. The most famous were Ranelagh Gardens and Vauxhall Gardens.

Tea House (China)

A public place where Chinese people go to appreciate tea for its flavour, aroma, and appearance, rather than to quench their thirsts. Tea houses (the Chinese term means 'tea art house') have reopened in China following many years of repression.

Tea House (Japan)

A special building in which the Japanese Tea Ceremony is performed. Every element of the tea house is arranged according to strict rules of design.

Tea Mosquito

(see tea blight bug)

Teapot Collection

(see Twinings Teapot Gallery)

Tea Room

A public place where Britons can relax and enjoy afternoon tea or cream tea. Tea rooms sometimes referred to as 'tea shops' have been a popular feature of British social life since 1864.

Tea Rose

A popular garden rose with a scent that was said to resemble that of tea. The tea rose is a hybrid derived from Rosa odorata.

Tea Sourcing Partnership (TSP) Now the Ethical Tea Partnership

An organization dedicated to improving the conditions under which tea is produced through credible, independent monitoring. The TSP represents most of the major UK tea companies. Twinings is a founding member. Visit the TSP website.

Tea Taster

An expert judge of the beverage. A person who uses organoleptic means to discern various characteristics and qualities of tea. Twinings tea experts are unsurpassed in the skill of their trade.

Tea Terbang

(see flying tea)

Tea Tree

A native Australian evergreen shrub (Melaleuca alternifolia) with well-known antiseptic properties. The tea tree has nothing to do with tea. The name allegedly arose because in 1770, the explorer, Thomas Cook, made an infusion of the leaves which his crew drank to prevent scurvy.

Tencha Tea

A type of green tea that is ground down to make the famous matcha powdered tea used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Thé Dansant

(see tea dance)

Thea sinensis

Former botanical name for Camellia Sinensis. It's the same plant, just renamed.


Describes tea liquor having substance, but not necessarily strength.

Thin; Weak

Tea liquor which lacks thickness or strength.


The leaf bud of the Camellia Sinensis plant.


A term which describes an herbal infusion.


A tea which has been slightly over-fired during processing. It may be a desirable characteristic in some Darjeeling teas.

Tom's Coffee House

A coffee house situated in Devereux Court just off London's Strand. Thomas Twining bought Tom's Coffee House in 1706. The location was perfect: it straddled the border between Westminster and the City of London, an area that was newly-populated with aristocracy displaced by the Great Fire of London.

TSP - Has been re-named ETP - Ethical Tea Partnership

(see Tea Sourcing Partnership)

Twinings pronunciation

Twinings should be pronounced with a long 'i' like in the word 'mine'.

A gallery at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery that permanently houses a representative selection of the world's largest collection of British ceramic teapots.

Twinings Museum

A delightful and intriguing museum situated to the rear of Twinings shop at 216 Strand. The Museum features stories and artefacts from the history of Twinings and of tea.


A Gloucestershire village situated between the Rivers Severn and Avon, roughly two miles North of Tewkesbury. The village has ancient connections with the Twining family. Both names come from an old Saxon expression meaning 'between two streams'.