Herbal Tea is often categorized as a healthy, bitter as hell and elitist beverage that can only be a rich man’s past-time beverage and a common man’s dream. Right? Wrong! While these teas are known worldwide for their magical effects (which is true), they are also incredibly delicious! With this list in hand, discover the 11 strong herbal teas that go beyond imagination, history, and taste! A little bit of courage mixed with the experimental spirit will bring to life an afternoon tea time right out of Alice’s Wonderland!
1.Rooibos Herbal Tea
Rooibos, meaning Red Bush, is a South African plant whose tea is rich in antioxidants and creates the perfect alternative for caffeine that is otherwise found in Black Tea, Green Tea, and Coffee. Yes, it contains caffeine and is the perfect tea to wake you up in the morning with a surprise!
Tea leaves or tea bags are simmered in 8 ounces of steaming water and can be taken with honey, milk, or sugar. Like Black Tea, Rooibos Tea can be consumed both cold and warm. Sugarplum Fairy, Dragon Fruit, Caramel Walnut, and Mango are some of the most unique and interesting flavors to try of Rooibos Tea!
2.Noon Chai/Pink Tea
Teas often have many colorful names—Black, green, and…pink! Noon Chai, also known as Pink Tea, holds a rich, creamy texture with an aroma of saffron, cardamom with a nutty crunch. The pink in the tea comes from the baking soda used in the preparation of this tea.
So, how does it work? The baking soda in the tea gives it a deep red color as it is flung into boiling water. Milk, sugar, and even salt is added and mixed for 10 minutes to create a steaming cup of this Kashmiri Pink Tea!
3.Balloon Flower Root Tea/Balloon Flower Herbal Tea
Dried and powdered, 1-2 grams of the root of the balloon flower without its outer bark is poured into boiling water. The tea is allowed to steep for 10-15 minutes before it becomes ready for consumption. Balloon Flower Root Tea tastes slightly bitter but has a refreshing aftertaste when given a chance and drives away cough, cold, and even cancer!
Essentially native to Korea, China, Japan, and Russia (Eastern Siberia), The Balloon Flower is a plant with many nutritional benefits. While soups, tinctures, and teas are common uses of this plant, countries like South Korea even sell an ice cream flavor of the same!
4.Pistachio Lime Yerba Mate
Yerba being the Spanish pronunciation for Herb and Mate together referring to this tea from the South American plant. Yerba Mate is one of the many popular herbal teas in the world. Like most herbal teas, the leaves and twigs of this plant are dried and accordingly steeped in hot water to make herbal tea.
But how does one counter the slightly bitter taste of a herbal tea? Pistachio Lime Yerba Mate is a refreshing flavor of this famous herbal tea where delicious dark roasted pistachios are paired with lime juice to create a robust, tangy taste of Yerba Mate Tea!
The rich dark maroon or the ruby red color of this herbal tea can be acquired by boiling dried Jujubes or diluting the preserved Jujubes in boiling water. Jujube Tea is also known as Daechu-cha, a traditional Korean tea that is sweet, syrupy, and abundant in Vitamin B and C. For a little twist, cinnamon and ginger can be added and garnished with pine nuts for a subtly sweet and spicy tea variation!
Jujube tea, although sweet to the tongue, is also known to help improve sleep. A warm cup of this tea is a soothing sensation on a cold rainy night with startling lightning, a little protection when the nature outside the window seems rough, in the form of a light and warm liquid that spreads warmth like a cozy futon.
Purple Tea is exclusive to the Kenyan region and is a crossbreed of the common tea plant, and is rich in antioxidants compared to green tea and black tea. Often linked to reducing body fat and fighting diseases such as cancer, Purple Tea is known to elevate body vitality and stability. This herbal tea can be prepared by soaking tea leaves in warm water for a refreshing taste.
7.Red Velvet Tea
While most teas on the list are pure plant powdered blends, Red Velvet Tea is simply an exciting flavor for those who dislike the intense bitterness of herbal tea. A variant of green tea, this herbal tea contains the delicious sweetness of the red velvet cake kneaded subtly into the soft flavor of the green tea to make it delightful for first-time tea drinkers!
8.Honeydew Hibiscus Fruit Tisane
A Fruit Tisane is a herbal blend originating from France where fruits or edible parts of the plant are simmered in hot water to give it an aromatic and colorful manifestation. The two common ingredients of this tea are Hibiscus, which provides it with tartness, and Apple pieces for sweetness. Orange and Honeydew, the new additions for this blend, provide steady citrus notes and a sweet aftertaste, together creating a fruit tart in the form of a tea.
Kokeicha, also translated as “solid tea,” is a Japanese herbal tea with a fascinating taste and is quite a rare find. The story dates all the way back to 1953 when Mr. Takesawa used the broken tea leaves after processing, now known as Konacha, and grounded it into powder, added some water to form a paste, and then dried it. When heated at 120 C, the paste created the perfect blend of Kokeicha tea, rich in both protein and taste.
Now sold in and outside Japan, this tea is prepared by brewing the Kokeicha paste in a base tea (green tea) and enjoyed both cold and hot. The preparation and the appearance of the tea are for the curious, experimental, and adventurous soul that needs to be quenched with a sip of this delicious tea!
10.Kukicha Herbal Tea
Sensitive to heat, Kukicha or Bocha is a Japanese tea that is unique in flavor and aroma. For optimum nutty flavor and a creamy appearance, this sweet tea is often steeped in water between 70-80 C. Made from Bancha, Sencha, and Matcha tea leaves, the one fascinating fact about Kukicha is that it is a byproduct of the tea production process.
While most teas end up in tea bags, Kukicha is a loose leaf tea, making it one of the most preferred teas for a macrobiotic diet. For those with an eye for precision and the taste buds of a true tea lover, Kukicha is a pick that is not only healthy for the body but also for the soul that prepares it!
11.Yellow Gold Tea
With Gold in its name, the Yellow Gold Tea is nothing short of luxury. Ranked as one of the most expensive teas globally, Yellow Gold Tea was once a favorite of Chinese Emperors and Kings. Rare but exquisite, this tea is harvested on only one mountain with unique tools like a pair of golden scissors. It is sun-dried and slightly heated in closed containers to give the leaves a light yellow color. Like a golden ornament, this elusive tea is handled with care and painted with real 24 ct gold!
To release its extraordinarily soft and flowery taste, 2.5g of leaves are steeped in 75 C of water for about 3 to 4 minutes. With an ethereal golden-yellow color, the Yellow Gold Tea is not everyone’s cup of tea but rather a taste of the exquisite, once-in-a-lifetime experience that is said to bring luck, financial stability, and good health!
These 11 extraordinary herbal teas speak different stories. While some of these remind of home with their warmth and sleep-inducing aroma, some call out the morning sun with their spicy mischief. There are teas that speak of a diligent man’s hard work to utilize even that which could not be used, and there are also teas that talk about an emperor’s extravagance. These 11 teas are a tea connoisseur’s guide to adventure, happiness, and an unshakable experience!