I recently learned that apparently the phenomenon of tea leaves moving up and down in very hot water is called ジャンピング (See example videos). This surprises me a bit as I would certainly expect that since tea has been around in Japan since before the word "jumping" could conceivably have been introduced to Japan that there is an older word to describe this phenomenon (perhaps it was just simply descriptive). I'm curious as to if such an older word exists and about the history of when ジャンピング began to be used to describe this phenomenon.

  • There are a couple factors here. I seem to recall that steeping tea leaves as we do now is more of a recent phenomena (I can't recall where I read this). But, more importantly, if you made tea in an opaque object, you won't see the tea leaves dancing like this. Regardless of whether my memory is correct about the history of steeped tea, it wouldn't be until fairly recently that tea was made in glass pots. Thus, it's only recently that this dancing could be observed and named. In the Anglo-sphere, tea has been around just under 400 years, but we don't really have a word for this either.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


This phenomenon is called [対流]{たいりゅう} (convection), which is a technical term but understood by most adults. ジャンピング is a little-known alternative name used by black tea fans. The loanword is used simply because this is important only in the context of black tea. Japanese teas are traditionally steeped at a much lower temperature range (60-90 °C), and the movement of tea leaves has not been considered important.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .