Health & Nutrition

6 Words For Tea And Their Origins

Did you know? There are around 3,000 types of tea, which is why it’s the most popular drink in the world, second to water. So you can imagine how many different words for tea there are in use today.

Here at Twist, we offer 24 “Blends With Benefits” so in the spirit of discovery, we decided to look at different words for tea and their origins.

For each of the different words for tea, we’ve even created a pretty shareable quote so feel free to post them on your social channels using #TwistTeas.

In the meantime, put on the kettle, grab a slice of cake or a biscuit and enjoy!


Tea is one of the British cultural staples, as much as rain or red telephone boxes.

The origins of the tea-drinking tradition date back to the Han dynasty emperors in ancient China in the 2nd century BC.  China is also considered to have the earliest known records of the word for tea, te, dating back to the 8th century AD.

Once a luxury for the upper classes, modern day tea can be enjoyed with or without milk, in the palaces or in your kitchen.

To create the perfect tea, brew a cup of Breakfast Boost to get you up and running in the morning.


The origins of 
chai hark back to ancient Persia and describe a drink flavoured by a sacred combination of bitter leaves, spices and honey.

It was in India where chai really took off as a drink of choice on hot and cold days. Traditionally a family pot would always be ready with an individual recipe, producing a warm soothing cup, serving as a natural digestif and improving one’s day from the first sip.

We have many delicious flavours but the one we keep coming back to is Sweet Chai of Mine.


There isn’t much in the world that can’t be improved with a nice cuppa. First recorded in 1925, it almost always is followed by ‘tea’ unless you’re in the US where ‘cawfee’ or ‘joe’ is not unheard of.

A cuppa gives just enough time to take a break and catch up on the recent happenings with a good friend.

For a tea as versatile as the word it describes, we reach for Choffee Mint – tea, coffee, hot chocolate and mint, all in one cuppa.

Rosy Lee

Spoken at one time all across the East-end of London, cockney rhyming slang was the language equivalent of a well-brewed cup of rosy lee – complex, full of character and completely unique.

Amongst the different words for tea, the origins of this example of cockney rhyming slang aren’t quite clear however, we can confidently say it doesn’t derive from the name of the burlesque dancer Gypsy Rosy Lee.  

The expression, known in print since 1925, pre-dates her working life.
‘Say it with flowers’ some say – or you can say it with a lovely cup of our Passionfruit & Rose blend.


Although Germanic in origin and dating back to the 500 BC, brewwana eventually made its way to England and over the centuries evolved into the word we all know and love.

A good brew up is for those occasions when the family comes over, together with a cake or at least a tin of biscuits. Whilst the leaves are steeping in hot water, all matters can be discussed and the world put to rights.

Be sure to have a caddy of Afternoon Perks next time the family visits, giving a nice lift to those afternoons.


Unbelievably, the word for builders referring to tea was only first recorded in 1996! Although legend has it that it’s been in use conversationally for many years before that.

Taking inspiration from the materials they work with, builders tea is characteristically very strong, with a dash of milk to make it more akin to a redbrick, sweetened to preference (often not at all!).

The importance of a sturdy mug to hold it in cannot be underestimated, and our Twenty Four Seven is the perfect brew for the job. Hard hats are optional!

So how did you like our words for tea? Did we miss any? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Whether you enjoy a cuppa or a good old-fashioned builders, here at Twist Teas, we’ve got a tea to suit every mood, time of the day or season. And if we don’t – we welcome all suggestions to create new and exciting blends!