Twinings Glossary

Adulteration

An unscrupulous practice, common in the eighteenth century, by which loose tea was bulked up with twigs and dried leaves to increase profits. The practice ended when John Horniman's pre-packaged teas became popular.

Aerated Bread Company

A chain of bakeries at which the first public tea room was opened. In 1864, the manageress of the London Bridge branch laid out a few tables and chairs in a back room of the bakery, and began pouring tea to thirsty customers.

Afternoon tea

A traditional British snack taken during the late afternoon, at which tea, cakes, and biscuits are consumed. Afternoon tea is characterized by fine china, good manners, and polite conversation. The tradition is believed to have been started by the Duchess of Bedford during the first half of the nineteent century.

Antioxidants

Substances that slow the rate of oxidation reactions. Antioxidants work in different ways. Some, such as the naturally-occurring polyphenols in tea, may help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Apatite

A complex mineral form of calcium phosphate, which contains fluoride. Apatite is the major constituent of tooth enamel.

Arak

An Eastern toddy distilled from rice or coconut and sold at Tom's Coffee House along with tea, coffee, brandy, rum, and drinking water. Sometimes spelled 'arrack'.

Ariel

One of the fastest and best-known British tea clippers, built in Greenock by Robert Steele in 1865. The Ariel competed in the famous clipper race of 1866, taking 99 days to travel from Foochow to London. The Ariel came second, a half hour behind the Taeping.

Aroma

An important consideration in cupping teas is the smell that is given off. A favorable aroma is most often associated with a flavorful taste.

Aspalathus linearis

(see rooibos)

Assam

A black tea grown in the Northeast section of India. A strong full-bodied tea with a rich, robust flavor. Chosen by many tea lovers to be a wake-up tea to be consumed in the morning. Often used in blends because of its strong taste.

Astringent

A tea tasting term to describe a liquor, which is pungent but inclined to be acidic.

Autumnal

Describes the liquor from teas grown in Autumn, in cool weather. The term is most often applied to teas from Northern India.