Your best friend is raving about a great new tea she found online. She loves it. You on the other hand, have absolutely NO IDEA what kind of tea it is. No worries. Tea Party Girl has you covered. Here is our instant cheat sheet for figuring out what teas are what.
Spread it around and make it viral. The internet could use a bit of help in this area!
- Assam-Like wines, teas are often named based on where the tea is grown. In this case, Assam tea is a black tea grown in Assam, India. Assam tea is the base for many of the breakfast teas, i.e. English Breakfast. Assam tea will give you a bold, malty flavor.
- Ceylon-Ceylon tea is also named for where it is grown, Sri Lanka (previously the island of Ceylon). It is a black tea with a lighter, crisper taste than Assam.
- Darjeeling-Sometimes called the champagne of teas because it is coveted above other teas and often more expensive. It is grown in India. Its taste is fruity and spicy. Most Darjeeling teas are black teas. If a Darjeeling tea is described as a “first flush”, it is describing when in the year the tea is harvested, as this affects the taste.
- Green-If a tea is green, it has undergone less oxidation, the process of the tea plant chemically changing to yield a different result (black teas go through the most oxidation). Green tea has traditionally been popular in the East; however its popularity in the West increased radically when the health benefits of green tea were introduced during the last decade or two.
- Lapsang souchong-This tea grows in China and is pan-fried resulting in a smoky, earthy brew. This is reminiscent of the days when tea came from China to Europe over land. It gathered the flavor of the traders’ fires. It is one of the more bold flavors of black tea and has been said to be an acquired taste. Also said to be popular with men.
- Oolong-a tea that is less oxidized than black tea and more oxidized than green tea. It is mainly grown in China and Taiwan.
- Yunnan-Named after a China province, it is also called Dian hong tea. It is often used in tea blends. High quality Yunnan is identified based on the amount of leaf buds or golden tips of the tea plant present in the tea. These are harder to pick which is why their presence is valuable. This tea turns bitter quickly if over-brewed, but can handle multiple infusions (the leaves can be brewed more than once).
- Earl Grey-a tea named after a British Prime Minister from the 1800s. It is flavored with the oil of bergamot, a citrus fruit.
- White-Tea is classified as a white tea when it includes young-growth tea leaves AND buds, resulting in its pale color. Oxidation of the tea is stopped through steaming or frying the leaves. It’s more delicate, therefore more care is needed in its handling, and often fetches a higher price. It cannot handle boiling water and needs to be steeped at about 180 degrees.
- Dragon well-Also named Longjing tea and drank by emperors, Dragon well is a high quality green tea and China’s most renowned out of about 700 of their teas. It is hand-picked which can increase the cost and pan-fried providing a delicious chest-nutty flavor.
- Rooibos-A red “tea”, more correctly a tisane, not made from the camellia sinensis plant, but the rooibos plant grown at this time only in South Africa. This “tea” is also called honeybush and comes in almost every flavor imaginable. The South Africans enjoy rooibos with milk and sugar and even share it’s mildness with their infants. It is becoming popular outside of South Africa because of it’s lack of caffeine and other health benefits, and it’s mention in the popular novel, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
- Honeybush– Also grows in southwest and southeast South Africa. Honeybush is so named because its flowers smell like honey and it has a sweet taste. Honeybush is similiar in many ways to Rooibos and is caffeine free.
- Yellow- Yellow tea usually implies a special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow. The tea generally has a very yellow-green appearance.The smell is sometimes mistaken for black if the tea is cured with other herbs.
Tea Party Girl asks: What other types of tea should I add to this list?