With green and black tea climbing up the popularity ladder, even the ardent chai devotees stay true to their devotion to these flavours. However, a real tea connoisseur knows and appreciates the various varieties out there.
Tea is one of the most loved beverages in the world and almost all varieties are derived from the same plant, Camellia Sinensi. The plant is native to Asia but is being cultivated across the world due to the high demand of the beverage. Originally used as a medicinal drink, tea is currently one of the most consumed beverages in the world and can be taken either hot or cold.
Listed below are a few types of teas every tea connoisseur needs to try out:
Also known as the blue tea or wu long, this variant is a favourite with all tea-drinkers. Oolong is often described to be a variant which lies between the black and green tea. The green tea is unoxidized while black tea is completely oxidised while oolong is only partially oxidised. This tea is rolled and pan fried before it is allowed to oxidise and the process is repeated several times till the desired level of oxidation is achieved. Most oolongs are also roasted after the oxidation to enhance flavour and aroma. Oolong tea may be flavoured with honey, orchids, lychee, butter, wood, vanilla or coconut to add a more interesting twist. However, the Wuyi oolong is known for the strong mineral flavours which are absent in other types of oolong.
Also spelt as puer, this is a rare kind of tea which goes through both oxidation and fermentation which lends it a unique deep and earthy (espresso-like) flavour. The first stage of making the tea is similar to that of wine fermentation in which the tea ripens due to the added moisture and heat. The whole process is a speciality which originated in China and is known as hēichá.
This tea is known for its digestive properties and reducing cholesterol which is why it is advisable to have it after a heavy meal. The rich smooth tea is also known to reduce stress and help in curing insomnia.
White tea is slowly gaining popularity because of the delicate nuanced flavour. It consists of high levels of anti-oxidants and low level of caffeine because the processing is minimal. Plucked from the buds with a lot of fine white hair which are then air-dried/sun-dried, the white is prepared. Even though white teas are unprocessed, the flavour is accentuated with delicate flowers, grasses and cocoa. White tea is packed with anti-oxidants which is why it is known to reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes. White tea also improves oral health, reverses premature ageing and is known to aid weight loss.
Originated in China, this variant of tea is unique because it is deliberately aged and undergoes a secondary fermentation process. A micro-organism called Golden Flowers is crucial in this fermentation process. Loaded with minerals and nutrients, this tea is a well-kept secret of China which is slowly gaining ground in the West as well. It is a medium-bodied, smooth tea which has a natural sweet flavour.
The minerals help in reducing cholesterol and improve blood circulation. Drunk as a digestive aid, the Chinese prefer having it after every meal. This lesser known tea is also beneficial in protecting the tooth enamel from decay and treating blood pressure.
Grown in Darjeeling, a region in India, this variety is very well-known across the world for its unique strong taste and amazing health benefits. When properly brewed, the Darjeeling tea yields a floral aroma and the flavour is that of a musky spiciness. Darjeeling tea is also referred to as the “champagne of teas” because of its exquisite flavour. The Darjeeling tea comes in four different organic varieties: black, white, oolong and green.
Darjeeling tea is consumed all over the world because of the numerous health benefits it has to offer in a cup. The tea apart from preventing obesity and gastric ulcers is also an approved remedy for bad dental health and a weak immune system.
A rare and expensive variety of tea grown in China, Yellow tea is probably the least popular of all varieties. The process of making this tea is the same as making green tea but Yellow tea requires an extra step of encasing and steaming the tea which allows the oxidation to take place at a slower rate. The taste of Yellow tea is mellow and has sweet and floral undertones. The different varieties of Yellow tea are silver needle tea and Meng Ding Huangya.
Known for increasing alertness, Yellow tea is also promoted as a health drink because it aids digestion, promotes weight loss and has anti-ageing properties. Having the tea in higher quantities can also treat inflammatory bowel disorders and has anti-carcinogen properties.
Hope to have aroused the tea connoisseurs. There is so much more to tea than the regular tea bag dipped in a cup of hot water. This amazing beverage which comes in so many different flavours and varieties not only refreshes the tired self but is packed with quality ingredients to rejuvenate and refresh.
Written byNiharika Nandi
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.