Babble said

Funny (wrong) names for tea

Hello from Kentucky!

The other day I went to a Japanese restaurant and ordered some amazing green tea. When I asked the server how it was made, she told me she used “tea flakes”. I had never heard of them before, so I asked more questions. I come to find out she really just mean tea leaves, but since she didn’t know anything about tea she just called them “tea flakes” because that’s what they looked like to her. I found this pretty amusing (although I didn’t have the heart to correct her).

So I ask you great Steepsters, what other funny names have you heard people call tea or tea hardware that make you chuckle? Or just general funny incorrect statements you’ve heard?

23 Replies
Yogic Chai said

Can’t help it but to add the most incorrect name for Chai: “Chai Tea” or even “Chai Tea Latte” Chai means tea, so no need add the “tea” word and there is no need either to add a Latte to a drink that is traditionally brewed with milk! Proper name: Masala Chai :)

I always try to use the proper name.

It confuses the starbucks people too much. so i tell them I want a chai latte. Every where else I call it Masala chai like its supposed to be.

“Chai Tea” irks me too, especially if I see the phrase used in a news article.

“Chai” is also the pronounciation for the Eastern European all-purpose word for tea. This means that Czechs, Balkans, and Slavs get very, very confused when they come to America and try to order a cup of hibiscus.

Interesting! We’ve been guilty of this incorrect use of the name. Thanks for the info!

Chizakura said


We’re not trained that the true name is “Masala Chai”, so unless that individual barista happens to be a tea lover, then yes, they won’t know what you’re talking about.

It doesn’t bother me personally, because ‘Chai tea’ is kind of an Americanized term. If I went to India, I’d say Masala Chai. If I’m in Canada, I’m going to say Chai tea. I know how to pronounce karate and karaoke like a Japanese person, but I use the Americanized pronunciation over here.

yyz said

When I was in India I never heard of spiced tea referred to as Masala Chai, only as Chai. I spent a large part of my time in Rajhastan so maybe this was just a regional thing. In fact the only time I heard the term Masala was for the spice mix the street vendors put over fruit salad, which was really good by the way even though I shouldn’t have had it. If you wanted plain tea or tea with milk and sugar on the side you went to a fancy place and asked for Tray tea. Though one time I was offered Bachi (Baci if tour Italian:))Chai aka as special tea after a festival and I was a little bit worried because Bachi Lassi contained the oil of a specific relative of hemp in Jaipur. It was just ginger tea though. Its interesting what words remain constant through many cultures. Chai for tea, Khana for food, bas (or derivatives) for enough, etc…

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ChaMei select said

This is somewhat related but this is a conversation heard on tv show House Hunters International:
-have you had mate before?
- no. What’s that?
- it’s kind of like tea without the tea bag.

That is not answering the question at all and adding a falsehood because his answer sounds like mate is synonymous with loose leaf tea. Plus, you can also get mate in a single-serve bag.

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momo said

ChaMei’s example reminds me of the time I took my mom to Teavana, and she was interested in a mate because of the caffeine. As you know their blends are pretty full of stuff, but the sales guy says, “you have to blend it with a tea, otherwise it’s just leaves.”

This was about 2 1/2 years ago, and I have never forgotten it because it’s just so bizarre and hilariously bad.

Chizakura said

… Wow, what a lame attempt at upselling. xD He should’ve thought more before talking.

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My friend referred to Puerh and white tea as being caffeine free alternative to tea. Said, poor, friend thought they were herbal teas. :( Don’t worry. I set them straight. :P

Chizakura said

Eek, I wonder how many sleepless nights they had before they found out.

Lala said

I often find white tea blends are labelled as herbal or come with caffeine free sampler packages. It is a bit of false advertising. I am affected by the caffeine in white tea even if it is a small amount.

Chizakura said

For some reason, white tea actually hits me worse than black tea. I’ll have black tea an hour before bed and I sleep just fine. If I have white tea within three hours before bed, I’ll be awake all night. Dx It’s weird, because white tea is supposed to be so much more gentle caffeine wise.

Chizakura, I’ve noticed the same thing. Some white teas have me feeling quite energetic! Perhaps this is chaqi?

Not sure chizakura. but friend heard about them from some dude on the tv. I wonder where they got Puerh tea bags from and what quality they are shudder
Hmm :( Chizakura that sounds miserable! it must have something in it… like l-th. but l-th is high in shade grown teas, so its probably not that… theophyline (sp?) might be to blame in white teas case. These are just guesses, i am no doctor or molecular biologist. ;)

Dinosara said

So this is a very common misconception in the west, but in China everyone knows that white teas have a lot of caffeine in part because they are less oxidized. Here’s an article by Teavivre on this:

Puerh, and shu puerh especially, does have a somewhat lower caffeine content, although sheng can make people wired or “tea drunk”.

Edited to add: here’s another blog post on the misconception

It doesn’t help that Teavana perpetrates this myth by selling white teas under “low caffeine” teas. Of course their heading doesn’t even make sense (here:
“These teas contain a very slight amount of caffeine, but still less than a traditional decaffeinated tea. White teas contain about 1% of the caffeine in coffee and a very high amount of antioxidants.” (emphasis added by me)

Chizakura said

Well glad to know I’m not crazy! I wonder how the low caffeine myth started up then.

Dinosara, thanks for that second link! Now I know where to point people to when the white tea myth comes up! I’m always way shaky after white tea. I feel like my heart will explode. Black tea is usually less potent.

Dino, one of the links within the links you posted (
Is 1. Mind bending. or it could just be that i am tired and its almost midnight. 2. very very interesting and informative. especially since I plan on growing my own tea and processing it. there are many factors that control tea caf. including the variety or cultivar of tea, fertilizer, shade, wilting, fermenting, and time of harvest. so many variables!

Dinosara said

Yeah, that chadao link is so super detailed! It’s pretty amazing.

Pu erh, caffeine free?! ’Scuse me whilst I lawl. But the white tea thing is definitely common.

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