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boron
12-16-2010, 12:44 AM
In my country we know the "common" tea, which may be any of several sorts of herbal or fruit tea, and the "true tea" made from the leaves of the actual tea plant.

From the viewpoint of my health writing the "true tea" works as a convenient group of teas, because most of them have several characteristics in common, but I'm not sure how this sounds in the English speaking countries.

lbender
12-16-2010, 01:30 AM
I'm in the USA and I never heard the term 'true tea'. We just drink tea. If we mean to designate a particular kind of tea, we might say 'China Black' or 'chamomile' or 'sassafras' or 'english breakfast' or 'earl grey', etc.

Then again, coffee is a much bigger drink here.

Storyteller5
12-16-2010, 02:01 AM
For me, the distinction you are making is between black and/or green tea and herbal tea. Black/green/white teas are real tea while herbal teas do not usually contain tea leaves (peppermint, chamomile, etc).

DancingMaenid
12-16-2010, 02:19 AM
In the U.S., tea that's made from tea leaves is generally just called "tea," at least in my experience. Teas that are made from herbs are called herbal teas. I think I might have heard the term "fruit tea," too. But we also have blends of tea that include both tea leaves as well as fruit and other flavorings.

There are all sorts of different blends, but if you're referring to "true tea" in general, just saying "tea" is fine.

boron
12-16-2010, 02:43 PM
I guess, I should say "real tea".

Plot Device
12-16-2010, 03:41 PM
My experience from restaurants:

If you go to a restaurant in America and want to have "tea" what you REALLY need to order is "hot tea." That is because you want to distunguish it from "iced tea." If you simply tell your server "I'd like some tea, please," they might not know if you mean hot tea or iced tea, and God forbid they make the wrong guess! In the North, most servers will assume that "tea" means "hot tea." But in the South, most servers will assume you mean "iced tea." So never leave it up to guessing and be as clear as possible. (As an aside, some places also prefer the term "sweet tea" when referring to iced tea, but that's more of a Southern thing as well.)

Meanwhile, getting back to just plain using the unhelpful word "tea," that word all by itself usually means "black tea" or it can mean just the most typically American black tea blend, which is really a very old British blend called "orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea" (but nobody ever calls it that). If you want any other blend than either black tea or that nearly-ubiquitous orange pekoe/pekoe blend, you have to ask for that blend by name. You must ASK "Do you have any Earl Grey?" Or "Do you have any Darjeeling?" Usually only nicer restaurants have those gourmet blends, and the way they let you decide is they will bring you a hot pot of water and a humidor full of individual tea bags for you to choose from. The typical choices from a humidor in an America restaurant include Earl Grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Black, Orange Pekoe, and a decaffinated black.

And then there's "herbal tea," which in American understanding is merely a catch-all phrase for any tea that has no tea leaves in it --which really means it has no caffein, which to Americans is the real heart of the matter since children can drink such tea and not be impacted by caffein. This designation of "herbal tea" broadly includes mint teas and fruit teas. In one of those fancy restaurants that bring you the humidor, there might be one selection of an herbal tea in the humdor, side by side with the more predominant selection of Earl Grey, Darjeeling etc.

As for geen tea, that's a relative new comer to America sensibiliies, as is white tea. Those also need to be asked for by name. Even though they are both found in most supermarkets, they are rarely found in American restaurants. Most American cafes, especially, the really high end ones, will have green or white tea only as a specialty item but rarely as a regular menu item, although that is changing as green tea becomes more popular.

I have never heard the phrases "true tea" nor "fruit tea" in a restaurant setting, and if you asked a server for "true tea" he/she would most likely be dumbfounded and ask you to explain what you mean. After you explain, he'd likely say "Oh you mean black tea! Sure! But do you want that hot or iced?" If you asked a server for "fruit tea" he again would be confused and ask what you mean, and then after you explain, he'd probably say "Oh, you mean herbal tea!"



Traditional American sensibilites over tea generally hold that it is a replacement for coffee, so it needs to be hot, needs to give you a nice strong caffien kick, and needs to go with a pastry of some kind.

Herbal tea has no caffein and is seen as a bedtime comfort drink. It's also kind of a "girly" drink. And there aren't too may pastries that go with herbal tea.

Green tea is new and hip to Americans and rumored to have medicinal properties.

White tea is totally new and still has a very hip vibe to it.


During the past 10 years, the refrigerator shelves that sell bottled beverages as found in American conveneince stores have shifted heavilly away from just traditional soft drinks toward having huge refrigerator sections devoted exclusively toward a) power drinks, and b) iced coffees and iced teas. (Most Americans will grab a beverage from a convenience store in search of a quick energy boost, and while soft drinks have caffein and sugar, the bottles of iced coffee and iced tea are perceived to be MORE of a boost. Power drinks also are seen as superior to soft drinks in their energy-granting powers.) Bottled Lipton teas can be found in a dozen different flavors, as can bottled Snapple teas, and bottled Starbucks coffees, etc. Arizona Iced Tea is another favorite brand to buy in an American convenience store, also available in myriad flavors. These teas -- while some are "herbal" and some are "fruit" and are "black" or "green" or "white" -- are all universally called "iced teas" when being bought and paid for at the cash register, for no other reason than the fact that they are chilled.



::ETA::

Minor footnote: A famous America golf pro named Arnold Palmer invented a tea drink at his golf club many decads ago, and that drink has come to be known as the Arnold Palmer. It's a mixture of half iced tea and half lemondade. You can order an Arnold Palmer by name in a restaurant and they will bring you the mixture to your table in a glass.

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l4r7lpQLg11qzrphs.jpg






And as of a few year ago, the Arnold Palmer can be bought in a can in the local covenience store.

http://www.arnoldpalmertee.com/images/home_drinks2.jpg

boron
12-16-2010, 04:10 PM
OK, so you say most Americans would read "tea" in a health article as a "real tea" containing caffeine/tein. At my place, not long ago, it was tea (herbal tea) versus real tea or black tea (Chinese, Russian, Indian...).

Today, if you order "tea" in a pub in my country, they will ask: herbal (chamomile, rosehip, "mountain", etc), fruit (wild cherry, banana, etc) or Chinese (real tea with caffeine).

Cyia
12-16-2010, 04:19 PM
If you're in the US (Southern part) and order "fruit tea", you're likely to get peach tea - which is regular iced tea with peach flavoring.

The only counter service place I can think of with tea choices around here is Starbucks, and there you have to specify the kind of tea (black, green, or white), if you want it shaken, hot, iced, or sweet. But it's still all called "tea" without any other qualifier.

waylander
12-16-2010, 04:31 PM
The tea that has become popular over here in the last few year is 'redbush' or roiboos' tea from South Africa

Marlys
12-16-2010, 04:38 PM
Great explanation, Plot Device! As for pastries going with herbal teas: I suggest you try mint or almond tea with chocolate items, and fruity teas with vanilla- or nut-flavored pastries. True, no one tea will pair with everything the way strong black coffee seems to, but there are lots of yummy combinations!

shaldna
12-17-2010, 05:08 PM
Here 'tea' means tea - earl or lady grey etc.

herbal tea is herbal tea - peppermint etc.

shaldna
12-17-2010, 05:11 PM
Great explanation, Plot Device! As for pastries going with herbal teas: I suggest you try mint or almond tea with chocolate items, and fruity teas with vanilla- or nut-flavored pastries. True, no one tea will pair with everything the way strong black coffee seems to, but there are lots of yummy combinations!

herbal tea with pastry is incredibly bad form. :)

if it's breakfast pastry you would have something like lady grey with a little milk.

if it's afternoon then something stronger like assam tea would be more appropriate.

Kenn
12-18-2010, 12:04 AM
Tea means tea in the UK. Usually it is from black tea from India or Ceylon (still called that for tea), and served up with milk and sugar if you want it. Anything else is usually referred to specifically. Earl Grey, for example is a type of tea with something added to it, and you wouldn't expect to get it unless you asked for it. Herbal infusions are not tea at all, although they are called 'herbal teas'. Almost every self-respecting Briton would get upset if they ordered a cup of tea and ended up with something made from dandelions of whatever.

PS I think you mean tannin and not tein.

Kitti
12-18-2010, 03:17 AM
In both the US and UK, I've found that "tea" always means black tea unless you qualify it in some way (herbal tea, green tea, fruit tea, and white tea are all other options I've seen.) In the US it usually defaults to something like Lipton's orange pekoe, whereas in the UK it will default to something like PG Tips. Earl Grey seems to be one of the most common alternatives.

In the US, temperature all depends on context. If you're ordering a meal in a restaurant and they ask you what you want to drink and you say "tea" they will assume ice tea unless you otherwise state. If you are ordering a drink to go with your dessert (i.e. not the original drink order) they will assume you mean hot tea (as a substitute for coffee). If you go into a coffee shop (suck as Starbucks) the baristas will also probably default to hot tea.


(As an aside, some places also prefer the term "sweet tea" when referring to iced tea, but that's more of a Southern thing as well.)

Sweet tea is NOT equal to ice tea. Sweet tea is ice tea that has been sweetened. In the North, "ice tea" usually defaults to unsweetened ice tea. In the South, "ice tea" usually defaults to sweetened ice tea. While you might get a ribbing for "ruining your tea" if you want something different from the local norm, it is understood that ice tea CAN be drunk both ways. A lot of places will ask you, when you order "ice tea" if you want it sweetened or unsweetened. (I'm usually obnoxious and order it half-and-half, but you have to be careful to qualify you want it half-sweet-half-unsweet or you might end up with half ice tea and half lemonade!)

In the UK I never drank ice tea, only hot tea. Also, I noticed a lot of the vending machines gave you two choices for your hot tea - white sweetened, or white unsweetened. But both these options actually meant milk was put in the tea, not that it was a different brand of tea leaves. In the UK you're a bit unusual if you don't put milk in your tea. They also tend to brew their teas a lot stronger.

Kitti
12-18-2010, 03:26 AM
P.S. There's also "sun tea" which means ice tea that has been brewed by putting tea bags in a pitcher of water (glass works best) and leaving it in the sun to brew. That's as opposed to the more common method (in restaurants, and esp. sweet tea in the South) of brewing ice tea by heating the water, dunking in the tea bags, and then cooling the water, which tends to be stronger and a bit more bitter than sun-brewed tea.

boron
12-19-2010, 01:39 AM
PS I think you mean tannin and not tein.

I should spell it correctly: I've meant theine, a substance that has about the same effect as caffeine. But yes, tannins are also in tea.

LoopyLinde
12-21-2010, 10:21 AM
Then, there's Long Island Iced Tea, a mixed drink which is very alcoholic, and even though it tastes like iced black tea, contains no tea of any kind.

maryland
02-14-2011, 12:18 AM
Another adddition to the terminology - true tea would be loose tea-leaves, not tea-bags. Then, you have a residue of tea-leaves in the bottomof the cup, to read the drinker's fortune from the scattered designs the remains make. "I see a trip to Africa" "There's a crowd of people" "A large dog" etc.
Using loose tea-leaves makes the tea stronger and you also have something left over for the compost heap. Or, they block up the sink (which is where teabags win!)It's also Cockney rhyming slang for thief/=tea-leaf.

Medievalist
02-14-2011, 12:48 AM
tea = Camellia sinensis

herbal tea = non Camellia sinensis

Tea may be used in a generic sense to refer to a beverage served either hot or cold made from vegetation and/or fruit. One generally then does inquire as to the specifics desired by the imbiber.

If it's your piece, you define how you'll be using the word tea throughout the piece.

Buffysquirrel
02-14-2011, 01:43 AM
The tea that has become popular over here in the last few year is 'redbush' or roiboos' tea from South Africa

My dad drinks that. He calls it tea. It's not tea!

Buffysquirrel
02-14-2011, 01:46 AM
I noticed a lot of the vending machines gave you two choices for your hot tea - white sweetened, or white unsweetened. But both these options actually meant milk was put in the tea, not that it was a different brand of tea leaves. In the UK you're a bit unusual if you don't put milk in your tea. They also tend to brew their teas a lot stronger.

I think the concept of 'white tea' meaning anything other than 'tea with milk' has, as yet, barely grazed the UK consciousness :D.

shaldna
02-14-2011, 04:47 AM
My dad drinks that. He calls it tea. It's not tea!

It's tea.

Lil
02-14-2011, 06:49 AM
I can recall tea with lemon rather than milk being called Russian tea (made in a samovar). It was real tea, not herbal tea.

Nick Blaze
02-14-2011, 09:50 AM
I generally drink Japanese tea: gyokuro, sencha, matcha, houjicha (all normal, karigane, shincha, what have you). Normal tea in Japan is usually sencha. There are many ways to grow the different tea, requiring different amounts of shade and aging methods, as well as misting and elevation methods. The same tea with different amounts of shade can be much more rich.

Most 'teabag' tea is over-dried and I'd barely consider it tea anymore. Such low-quality. And most loose leaf is dried more than it should be, even; I see it a lot in English/British tea. Especially Earl Grey. Perhaps it's just America, but I have never seen good quality Earl Grey here. I do order my Japanese tea straight from Japan, of course.

shaldna
02-14-2011, 04:38 PM
I order my coffee on line, my postman got slightly alarmed at the kilo brick-shaped packages I was getting from Columbia at fairl regular intervals.

Priene
02-14-2011, 04:42 PM
Tea is the meal between lunch and supper.

Buffysquirrel
02-14-2011, 06:24 PM
Tea is the meal between lunch and supper.

If you have dinner rather than lunch then it's high tea.

shaldna
02-14-2011, 07:29 PM
Ah, but tea in reference to a meal can be a local term, here 'tea' is what you call your evening meal / dinner.

Dinner often means lunch, but only if it's a cooked lunch primarily in the form of meat and veg, usually a roast of some description with potatoes.

BUT, if you are 'going out for tea' then you are going out for a cream tea, which is scones, tea, pastries. In the afternoons you can have sandwiches with tea also.

Buffysquirrel
02-14-2011, 07:32 PM
Isn't it great? :D

shaldna
02-14-2011, 07:34 PM
Who knew one word had some many meanings.

Priene
02-14-2011, 07:36 PM
If you have dinner rather than lunch then it's high tea.

The only time I've had High Tea was in Betty's (http://www.bettys.co.uk/) in Harrogate. It was OK but the tea would have been better in a mug.

Lillie
02-14-2011, 08:28 PM
Why did Kark Marx only drink herbal tea?

Because proper tea is theft.

Snowstorm
02-14-2011, 08:52 PM
Just don't confuse the black teas or herbal teas with Long Island Iced Tea. Oh, baby.

CaroGirl
02-14-2011, 09:11 PM
Just don't confuse the black teas or herbal teas with Long Island Iced Tea. Oh, baby.
My university campus pub served Long Island Iced Tea in pitchers. I don't remember much about the night I drank one to myself.

Snowstorm
02-14-2011, 09:40 PM
CaroGirl, I just got a hangover just thinking of that!

Kenn
02-15-2011, 03:44 PM
Ah, but tea in reference to a meal can be a local term, here 'tea' is what you call your evening meal / dinner.

Dinner often means lunch, but only if it's a cooked lunch primarily in the form of meat and veg, usually a roast of some description with potatoes.

BUT, if you are 'going out for tea' then you are going out for a cream tea, which is scones, tea, pastries. In the afternoons you can have sandwiches with tea also.

Then there's supper...

Buffysquirrel
02-15-2011, 06:04 PM
The only time I've had High Tea was in Betty's (http://www.bettys.co.uk/) in Harrogate. It was OK but the tea would have been better in a mug.

Tea is usually better in a mug. Still, if it gets expensive again, I suppose cups will make a comeback. That and locked caddies.

DrZoidberg
02-15-2011, 06:10 PM
What's wrong with calling it "black tea"?