4 Tea Descriptions That Every Tea Lover Must Know

Did you know there is a tea house in Beijing, China that is so well known for scamming tourists out of thousands of dollars that it is called "The Beijing Tea House Scam"? Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do to prevent an unfortunate situation, but I am convinced that the more you learn about tea, the better your tea experiences will be.

In this post, I share 4 tea descriptions that will help you identify good tea as well as fraudulent tea so that you can have more authentic and personalized tea experiences.

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Loose-leaf white tea in a basket


Why is it even important for you to identify simple tea descriptions when purchasing your tea? Well, tea descriptions, like wine descriptions, usually appear on the tea tin or package itself. However, if you do not understand what you are looking at, it can seem like you're reading Latin. How are you supposed to sip what and how you want if you don't understand what you're actually purchasing?

Once you can recognize these 4 main ways that tea is described: type, proper name, region, and plantation, you will be able to identify teas more readily, avoid purchasing fraudulent or over-priced tea, and create personalized tea experiences.

White tea being poured from a white tea pot into a white and gray tea cup with tea plantation in background


A tea type is a classification of tea. Tea types simply reveal what kind of tea you have. Tea types are, but not limited to: white, yellow, green, black.

The type is the most common description and probably the description you search for when purchasing your tea. Each tea type has a different taste and effect, so if you are familiar with the tea types, you will be able to personalize your tea to your taste buds and avoid purchasing teas that you already know you may not like.


White tea being poured from a white tea pot into a white and gray tea cup with tea plantation in background


A proper name is a title given to a tea by its tea company. Some proper tea names have been around for years upon years (such as Silver Needle or Earl Grey) making them recognizable. Other tea names are just whims of tea company's imaginations. It's impossible to know all the proper names that exist and also impractical, but, it is important to know this: Just because a tea's description has a proper name that you may be familiar with, doesn't mean that the tea itself reflects this name.

It is common for tea companies to try to fool tea sippers with proper names that indicate a particular tea experience. For example, recently during a Tea Review: Subscriber's Edition I reviewed a tea called French Breakfast by Golden Moon Tea. Inside the tea tin, there was Ceylon black tea and that's it! No