Quick, without looking it up – what’s an oenophile? If you like to drink wine or you know anything about it, you might already know that an oenophile is, as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary puts it, “a lover or connoisseur of wine.” It’s a word that’s derived from “oinos,” the Greek word for wine. According to Webster, it was apparently first used around 1930, though Wikipedia claims that it didn’t come into use until 1977.
But what does any of this have to do with tea? Well, quick, what’s a snappy, one-word term for a lover or connoisseur of tea? Got you there. Unless there’s a term that I have yet to run across or unless there’s one that’s slipped my mind, there is no such term. Tea lover or tea connoisseur are perfectly suitable options when it comes to describing such a creature, but somehow it’s just not quite the same.
So what’s a good word for tea lover? The obvious choices would have something to do with the word “tea,” either in English or variations from other languages such as “cha” or “chai.” Going with -phile as the suffix of choice we might want to try “teaophile,” “chaiphile” or “chaphile,” none of which — at least for my money — have much of a ring to them.
Perhaps the best course of action for anyone looking to coin such a word is to go with some variation on Camellia Sinensis, which is the binomial name for the tea plant. One of the obvious choices would be along the lines of “camelliaphile,” which actually does have kind of a ring to it. However, technically speaking, Camellia is a genus name that applies to a broader range of plants than just tea. Perhaps the most suitable option would be to borrow from the species name for tea and go with something like “sinensophile.”
In any event, it’s not a matter that’s likely to be resolved anytime soon. For that matter, is not really an issue that’s on most tea people’s radar at all. But it would be kind of nice, even so.
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