Just as the wine world continues to grow constantly, making it near impossible to know every and all brands and kinds on the market, the world of tea is equally dynamic. It would take a lifetime’s dedication to know everything there is to know, taste and smell about tea, but there are a few basic tea families to become familiar with before attempting to host a tea tasting or setting foot into a tea house.
Here is a brief guide to the different types of teas you will most likely encounter on your quest to find the perfect leaves for your next gathering.
An American favorite, black tea is commonly used in iced teas such as southern sweet tea, and was one of the first varieties of tea to be found in bags. Earl Grey is another common black tea, which is typically infused with some sort of citrus fruit, usually lemon or orange, and bergamot. You’ll find that a lot of breakfast teas are of the black variety, such as English and Irish, and the more exotic Masala chai.
Now gaining more popularity in the States, Oolong has been enjoyed by the Chinese for Millenia. Just as any tea comes in a wide range of flavors and blends, oolong can vary in taste, but most commonly you find the brew with fruity, sweeter notes, and honey-like aromas.
The taste of a quality white tea is almost as subtle as it’s water-clear color. Quite possibly the mildest of the tea varieties, white tea makes for a nice, light sip in both hot and cold forms. While black teas are often blended with bolder fruit pairings, you may find white teas combined with sweeter, less attention grabbing fruits and herbs likes jasmine, peach, cucumber and pear.
Green tea is most popular for its medicinal effects and links to weight loss. However, when paired with subtle flavors like apricot, vanilla, and rhubarb, drinking green tea becomes as lovely for its pleasant favors as it is for its health benefits.
This red tea may be a little harder to find at your average grocery store, but most tea dealers keep their shelves well stocked with it because unlike other varieties it is naturally caffeine free. The unique properties of rooibos allows for all sorts unusual blends, from exotic fruit blends to dessert teas with notes of caramel and chocolate.
Tea-Inspired Recipes to Try
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