Photo 1 of 9
"Tea is the magic key to the vault where my brain is kept." - Frances Hardinge
A magical concoction that soothes millions across the world, for most of us, a cup of steaming tea is indispensable. For the love of that perfect brew, let us take a look at the many varieties of teas that are enjoyed all across the world - from the classic Indian chai, health benefiting green tea to the recent hits like kombucha and matcha tea
Photo 2 of 9
The Basics: White, Green & Black Tea
All teas come from a plant called Camellia Sinensis - which has its own different varieties. The harvesting and processing of leaves procured from the plant determines the kind of tea it will yield. The more the leaves are oxidized, darker will be the colour with a stronger taste. White tea is the least oxidized, followed by green and of course black tea which is oxidized for the longest. One of the most popular teas in the world the Chinese Oolong is also regular tea leaves (Camellia Sinensis ) exposed to sun, oxidized, fermented and curled before packaging
Photo 3 of 9
These are made of herbs, spices and dried fruits. So, your jasmine tea, chamomile tea, cinnamon infused teas and the like will fall under this category. These don't have any tea in them and are thus caffeine free. However there also exist tea blends which may have a blend of different tea varieties along with herbal ingredients like spices, herbs, etc.
Photo 4 of 9
Purple tea of Kenya is a very rare tea that has sweet notes with a pleasant lingering aroma. It is rich in anthocyanins and contains lower catechins. Purple tea has low caffeine content and is high in antioxidants that provide anti-cancer benefits, improve vision, lower cholesterol and blood sugar metabolism. India can soon become the second country in the world to produce it.
Photo 5 of 9
Considered as a type of green tea, this Japanese variety deserves a dedicated description. Matcha tea is actually green tea leaves that are powdered and added in warm water to prepare tea. Unlike other types of teas wherein the essence of tea is allowed to get infused in water, matcha tea involves consuming whole leaves in powdered form. Loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, a drink of matcha tea can boost metabolism, fight growth of cancerous cells and can also help regulate blood sugar and pressure.
Photo 6 of 9
The tea originated in East Asia and has been around since the 19th century! It's made with sweetened green or black tea (and sometimes both) that ferments for a month. SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) is the key element which ferments the tea. It's also known as 'probiotic tea' because of all the good bacteria. It is known to be beneficial for memory loss, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), joint pain (rheumatism), ageing, loss of appetite, AIDS, cancer, high blood pressure, constipation, arthritis and hair re-growth.
Photo 7 of 9
Also known as red bush tea, this South African variety is a kind of herb and not tea. Hence, categorized as one of the most popular herbal teas, rooibos tea is known for its warm, aromatic and smooth texture and many health benefits. Deep crimson in colour, sip on this herbal concoction to cure headaches, insomnia, hypertension and ensure healthy heart. This is absolutely caffeine free.
Photo 8 of 9
Mate Tea comes from the South American rainforest tree which is used to procure Yerba Mate leaves. These are then dried, ground, mixed with hot water and then sipped from a special metal straw. Mate tea is the 'national infusion' of Argentina. It is believed that the tea combines benefits of both regular tea as well as coffee. Mate contains many nutrients and Vitamins essential to human health including iron, phosphorous, Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene.
Photo 9 of 9
Tibetan Butter Tea:
Moving on, from types of tea to types of tea preparations, next on the list would be butter tea 'Po cha' that is commonly brewed in the Indian Himalayan regions as well as in Tibet, of course. This concoction of carefully brewed Tibetan black tea along with a generous dose of Yak's butter and milk does wonders to keep people warm in the crazily cold, high altitude regions of the Himalayas.