Tea Terminology
T Tegan Woo

Tea Terminology

May 17, 2015 · tea101


Have you heard the terms "tippy, "golden tips", or "gold tips" before? These terms refer to the small, unopened leaves of the tea plant that appear in the tea. The unopened buds are the new growing shoots of the tea plant. In a finished tea, they appear golden. A tea with a lot of golden tips is referred to as "tippy". Tippy teas have a sweeter flavour than non-tippy black teas.



Organic Golden Tips - China (March box)

If you received March's subscription box, you will have noticed golden tips in the Organic Black Gold Tips tea. The tips gave this tea a sugar cane or maple syrup sweetness.

Himalayan Golden - Nepal (May box)

In our Nepal feature box, the Himalayan Golden is even more tawny. The sweetness in this tea is more like orchard fruit and wild honey-like.

What's your favourite tippy tea? One of the most sought after tippy teas is Yunnan Golden Buds, from Yunnan Province in China. Once you start drinking tippy teas, it's hard to go back! Soon you might find yourself buying teas of pure gold.


You may experience the effects of tannins in the Nilgiri Coonoor. Tannins are a class of natural compounds found in tea (and walnuts and grapes for wine). They are astringent and bitter. They can dry out your mouth and create a rough texture on the tongue. If you oversteep a black tea, this can really get bad. Milk and lemon cut the astringency.

Tannins are the common name for polyphenols. They're responsible for the antioxidant activities of black tea. Antioxidants are healthy!

They're created during the oxidation step in tea processing, when colourless and flavourless natural substances in the tea are transformed into colourful and astringent tannins. That's why you don't have tannins in white and green tea (little to no oxidation), but you do in black (fully oxidized). Tannins introduce structure and therefore more flavour, just like they do in wine. Our conclusion is that tannins are a good thing.

Link to share

Use this link to share this article