You are either a coffee person or a tea person. If you are the latter, this is definitely what you need – a list of the popular teas in the world. Teas, as a beverage, have helped you kick start a lazy Monday, helped you socialize, and kept you healthy. So, it is time to get this par-TEA started, brew it away!
1. Maghrebi Mint Tea
Popularly known as the Moroccan Mint Tea, it is a green tea with spearmint leaves. The mint brings in a sweet strong flavor into the tea. Originating from the Maghreb region of Morocco, it has spread across North Africa. Mint Tea plays a vital role in the social life of Maghreb. Traditionally, the male member makes the tea and three glasses of tea are served that will last throughout the day. It is prepared in a traditional berrad teapot. So this is not just one of the teas, it is a symbol of hospitality, culture, and tradition.
2. Ceylon Black Tea
Hailing from the Island Nation of Sri Lanka, Ceylon, it is one of the most popular teas across the world. It is also known for its health benefits. It helps in weight loss, boosts the immune system, helps control diabetes, and is good for the skin. It has a strong flavor and can be consumed hot or cold. It is fascinating to know that teas produced from different regions of Ceylon itself have different tastes even though the processing is the same.
3. Masala Chai
Indians just cannot start their day without chai. For the longest time, for Indians, chai (tea) was more of herbal medicine than a hot beverage. Milk and sugar were added to the spice mixed decoction only when British influence crept into India. Before that, it was something known as kashayam, which included all the spice mixtures derived from Ayurvedic texts. You enter an Indian home and the first thing you are offered is masala chai. To have the best experience of masala chai you need to go to a chai-wala and observe the whole process.
4. Assam Tea
It is bright in color and malty in taste. It is for sure a breakfast tea. It originates from Assam, a northeastern state in India. In Assam, Jorhat, which is popularly known as the ‘Tea Capital of the World,’ hosts an annual Tea Festival in the month of November. Assam tea is also well known for the fact that it can help prevent some of the chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Its flavor is intense, has a strong aroma, and the malty taste is a go-to.
5. Oolong Tea
Since Oolong tea leaves are long, dark and curly, they were initially called Black Dragon tea. Among the tales that can be heard across China about the origin of oolong, the most interesting was about a man named Wu Liang who happened to accidentally discover it while he was tea picking and got distracted by a deer. By the time he realized that he had to go back to the tea, it had already started to oxidize. Well, it is now one of the world’s favorite Chinese teas.
6. Pu’er Tea
The tea is actually a cake. Traditionally the tea was pressed into tea cakes making it easy to carry during long-distance travelling. Highly produced in China’s Yunnan Province, the tea leaves are brewed in traditional Gaiwan lidded bowl. The brewing happens twice, and tea from the second infusion is served to guests. They also have a dedicated piece of furniture called the Cha Yuan that actually drains the excess water.
7. Matcha Tea
A monk named Eisai bought powdered tea into Japan in 1191. Ever since it has become popular. It is made from tea leaves that are shade-grown. Interestingly enough, Matcha tea has grades: ceremonial, premium, and culinary grades for commercial considerations. The highest grades have more sweetness and intense flavors. Matcha is made in two forms, Usucha being thin tea and Koicha being thick tea.
8. Sencha Tea
Sencha came into Japan much later than Matcha but it did come with a bang and ended up becoming Japan’s favorite tea. As opposed to Matcha, Sencha is grown in the sun and is loose-leaf, not powdered. Taste wise, it gives a refreshing flavor that gives you a fruity aftertaste. So, a cup of Sencha tea after a meal helps you get rid of bad breath. Nowadays, it is also used in Aromatherapy.
9. Earl Grey Tea
Earl Grey is a flavored British tea. It is a black tea flavored with oil extracted from Bergamot Orange. Has a unique story behind it, Earl Grey actually originated in China and its Chinese Tea Master gifted it to Charles Grey, 2nd Earl of Grey and the Prime Minister of United Kingdom. And the Grey family loved it so much that they asked some of the merchants to recreate it. It is aromatic and flavorful and definitely a favorite in the world of tea.
10. Builder’s Tea
Why ‘Builders’ you ask? Well, British construction workers drank tea during their break because they found it soothing. It is a strong cup of tea and what makes it different from other teas is that it was brewed in a mug as opposed to in a teapot with loose leaves. Milk and sugar were also added. Only recently has it been accepted as a social tea tradition and is now quite popular. If you have biscuits and bread, then the party begins.
11. Sage Tea
It is a gray-green leaf that is extracted from the Sage herb which originates from the Mediterranean region. Sage is known as the ‘Thinker’s Tea’ because it enhances concentration and gives mental clarity. It is said that it was even called ‘salvia salvatrix’ meaning ‘sage, the savior’ because it could help prevent the Plague. It has a delicate sweet flavor and is aromatic. It is incredibly healthy, nutritional, and soothing.
12. Milima Tea
Milima tea originates from Kenya and is an orthodox tea which means that it is processed using traditional methods as opposed to CTC (cut, tear, and curl) method. Malima in Swahili means ‘high place’ and that definitely makes sense because the tea is grown at 6000 feet above the sea level. It has an absolute harmonious blend of flavors. Milima tea is orange-ish in color and has a malty flavor with hints of stone fruit and spice.
13. Baikhovy Tea
Hailing from Russia, Baikhovy is actually a delicious white tea and it has a unique tea culture. Drinking is a way to try and resolve matters and reconcile. You cannot miss the ‘Samovar’ when we talk about Russia’s tea culture. Samovar is a large metal container in which traditionally, tea was brewed and everybody is expected to be well behaved in the presence of a samovar. Kalatch, which is a bread roll, is always accompanying a cup of Baikhovy tea.
14. Yerba Mate Tea
Drunk through a straw from a wooden cup called a gourd, they say Yerba Mate is an acquired taste. It is native to South America and was discovered in the forests of Paraguay. At that time, the natives believed it to be a gift from God to sustain life and it was worshipped. It is said to have a woodsy bitter-sweet taste and it tastes like tea but hits you like coffee because of the high caffeine content.
15. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos means ‘red bush’ that grows in South Africa but it isn’t tea. Yes, rooibos is a plant that, if dried, can be brewed into a herbal tea called reb bush tea. It gives out a very earthy, sweet, and vanilla-like flavor. Rooibos tea is quite good for health; it helps in digestion and is high in minerals. They say it is a rejuvenating drink and interestingly, in Japan, it is known as the ‘long life tea’.
16. Chamomile Tea
If you remember, in Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Peter gets Chamomile tea after he was chased by Mr. McGregor. Chamomile tea is actually a herbal infusion prepared from dried flowers of the chamomile plant and hot water. The flower is also a flavoring agent in soaps and cosmetics. Chamomile tea is a popular sleep inducer and stress-reducer.
17. Kashmiri Kahwa
Kahwa means ‘sweetened tea’ in Kashmiri and originates from Kashmir, spreading its popularity to Afghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East. It is usually served after food and saffron and almond are added to the tea which escalates the flavor. Kahwa is extremely important during winters to warm you up. A typical cup of Kashmiri Kahwa will have cinnamon, cloves and dry fruits and is utterly exotic.
In the end, a tea joke is a must. The only dinosaur who loved drinking tea was the TEA-REX. Do yourself a favor and try all of them out.
Also, get a taste of the wines of the world.