The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Tea \Tea\ (t[=e]), n. [Chin. tsh[=a], Prov. Chin. te: cf. F.
1. The prepared leaves of a shrub, or small tree (Thea
Chinensis or Camellia Chinensis). The shrub is a native
of China, but has been introduced to some extent into some
Note: Teas are classed as green or black, according to their
color or appearance, the kinds being distinguished also
by various other characteristic differences, as of
taste, odor, and the like. The color, flavor, and
quality are dependent upon the treatment which the
leaves receive after being gathered. The leaves for
green tea are heated, or roasted slightly, in shallow
pans over a wood fire, almost immediately after being
gathered, after which they are rolled with the hands
upon a table, to free them from a portion of their
moisture, and to twist them, and are then quickly
dried. Those intended for black tea are spread out in
the air for some time after being gathered, and then
tossed about with the hands until they become soft and
flaccid, when they are roasted for a few minutes, and
rolled, and having then been exposed to the air for a
few hours in a soft and moist state, are finally dried
slowly over a charcoal fire. The operation of roasting
and rolling is sometimes repeated several times, until
the leaves have become of the proper color. The
principal sorts of green tea are Twankay, the poorest
kind; Hyson skin, the refuse of Hyson; Hyson, Imperial,
and Gunpowder, fine varieties; and Young Hyson, a
choice kind made from young leaves gathered early in
the spring. Those of black tea are Bohea, the poorest
kind; Congou; Oolong; Souchong, one of the finest
varieties; and Pekoe, a fine-flavored kind, made
chiefly from young spring buds. See Bohea, Congou,
Gunpowder tea, under Gunpowder, Hyson, Oolong,
and Souchong. --K. Johnson. --Tomlinson.
Note: "No knowledge of . . . [tea] appears to have reached
Europe till after the establishment of intercourse
between Portugal and China in 1517. The Portuguese,
however, did little towards the introduction of the
herb into Europe, and it was not till the Dutch
established themselves at Bantam early in 17th century,
that these adventurers learned from the Chinese the
habit of tea drinking, and brought it to Europe."
2. A decoction or infusion of tea leaves in boiling water;
as, tea is a common beverage.
3. Any infusion or decoction, especially when made of the
dried leaves of plants; as, sage tea; chamomile tea;
4. The evening meal, at which tea is usually served; supper.
Arabian tea, the leaves of Catha edulis; also (Bot.), the
plant itself. See Kat.
Assam tea, tea grown in Assam, in India, originally brought
there from China about the year 1850.
Australian tea, or Botany Bay tea (Bot.), a woody
climbing plant (Smilax glycyphylla).
(a) The dried leaves of Lantana pseodothea, used in
Brazil as a substitute for tea.
(b) The dried leaves of Stachytarpheta mutabilis, used
for adulterating tea, and also, in Austria, for
preparing a beverage.
Labrador tea. (Bot.) See under Labrador.
New Jersey tea (Bot.), an American shrub, the leaves of
which were formerly used as a substitute for tea; redroot.
New Zealand tea. (Bot.) See under New Zealand.
Oswego tea. (Bot.) See Oswego tea.
Paraguay tea, mate. See 1st Mate.
Tea board, a board or tray for holding a tea set.
Tea bug (Zool.), an hemipterous insect which injures the
tea plant by sucking the juice of the tender leaves.
Tea caddy, a small box for holding tea.
Tea chest, a small, square wooden case, usually lined with
sheet lead or tin, in which tea is imported from China.
Tea clam (Zool.), a small quahaug. [Local, U. S.]
Tea garden, a public garden where tea and other
refreshments are served.
Tea plant (Bot.), any plant, the leaves of which are used
in making a beverage by infusion; specifically, Thea
Chinensis, from which the tea of commerce is obtained.
Tea rose (Bot.), a delicate and graceful variety of the
rose (Rosa Indica, var. odorata), introduced from China,
and so named from its scent. Many varieties are now
Tea service, the appurtenances or utensils required for a
tea table, -- when of silver, usually comprising only the
teapot, milk pitcher, and sugar dish.
Tea set, a tea service.
Tea table, a table on which tea furniture is set, or at
which tea is drunk.
Tea taster, one who tests or ascertains the quality of tea
Tea tree (Bot.), the tea plant of China. See Tea plant,
Tea urn, a vessel generally in the form of an urn or vase,
for supplying hot water for steeping, or infusing, tea.