Best Tea in the World: 7 Great Types of Tea
Are you a connoisseur of tea? Everyone has their own opinion about what is the best tea in the world. Here are 7 great types of tea, including a few that you may not have tried yet.
Best Tea in the World
Tea has been consumed in China since 2,000 BC, but it’s also produced in India, Kenya, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Vietnam. A popular drink throughout the world, tea comes in many different forms.
These are some of the finest teas that are ideal for a relaxing brew. Premium tea is often sold as loose leaf rather than in tea bags. This is because most tea bags constrain the tea and prevent it from releasing its aromas.
How you prepare your tea can make all the difference too. Use bottled or filtered water if your tap water has a strong taste.
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1. Black Tea
Black tea is produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis shrub. This type of tea is oxidized, which turns the green leaves black.
Darjeeling tea from West Bengal, India is often considered to be the best black tea in the world. Darjeeling First Flush is one of the most coveted black teas.
Made from the first leaves harvested each season, it has a delicate taste yet is packed with nutrients. Second flush or Summer flush tea has a bolder flavor, so which you choose is a matter of personal preference.
Assam tea from India, Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka and Lapsang Souchong teas from china are also highly regarded. Among black tea blends, Earl Grey is a type of black tea flavored with bergamot orange. English breakfast tea is high in caffeine, so is a popular morning drink.
Benefits of Black Tea
- High in antioxidants.
- May lower bad cholesterol.
- Reduces plaque formation on teeth.
- May reduce blood pressure.
2. Oolong Tea
Although lesser known than some other types of tea, oolong has many benefits. Accounting for around 2% of tea consumption worldwide, oolong is mainly drunk in Taiwan and China. In Taiwan, milk oolong tea or Jin Xuan is popular, with a natural taste of milk and a delicate floral scent.
Made from the Camellia sinensis plant, this partially fermented tea doesn’t contain much caffeine. Oolong is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid which slows down the absorption of caffeine and gives a steady energy boost.
Benefits of Oolong Tea
- Contains polyphenol antioxidants that may boost the metabolism.
- May lower the risk of heart disease.
- Regular consumption reduces the risk of cognitive disorders.
- May prevent tooth cavities.
3. Pu’erh Tea
This unique fermented tea is pronounced poo-air. It comes from the Yunnan province of China and is made from the leaves of the Dayeh variety of the Camellia sinesis plant.
Pu’erh tea undergoes a unique ageing process, with the leaves being gently roasted then sun-dried and steamed into balls or cakes. This gives the tea a real depth of flavor over time.
Some vintage pu’erh tea is aged for up to 35 years! It has subtle notes of cinnamon and wood bark.
Benefits of Pu’erh Tea
- May help to reduce cholesterol levels.
- Has low tannin levels so doesn’t taste bitter.
- Pairs well with food such as meat and chocolate.
- Compressed pu’erh cakes are easy to transport.
- Improves with age and has an extremely long shelf life.
4. Matcha Tea
Made from stone-ground tea leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, matcha is known for its vibrant green color. Genuine matcha tea can only come from Japan. If you visit Japan, attending a matcha making ceremony is a great way to experience local culture.
However, surprisingly matcha tea actually originated in China in the 12th century. The Japanese monk Eisai brought back tea seeds from a study trip to China.
Matcha is famous for its ritual preparation with a bamboo whisk. This tea has a distinctive umami taste and an earthy flavor.
If your matcha tea tastes bitter, it is probably being served at too high a temperature. This should not exceed 175 degrees ad should ideally be 165 degrees or less. Ideally, invest in a matcha making kit to get the full tea ceremony experience at home.
Benefits of Matcha Tea
- Contains high quantities of polyphenols which may lower blood pressure.
- High in L-theanine, an amino acid which releases energy steadily.
- Consuming matcha tea may increase fat burning during workouts.
- Rich in the catechin known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which may help to reduce inflammation in the body.
5. White Tea
Originating in the Fujian province of China, white tea is also now produced in India, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. What makes white tea so special is the fact that it’s made from the freshest young tea leaves.
Harvested only for a few weeks each year in Spring, white tea is prepared from the first flush. The leaves are gently withered and rolled, resulting in a light colored beverage.
Some of the best types of white tea are Silver Needle, Gong Mei (also known as Tribute Eyebrow) and White Peony.
Benefits of White Tea
- Low caffeine content compared to black or green tea.
- May have antioxidant and antiseptic properties if rubbed on skin.
- Less processed than other types of tea, so retains antioxidants better.
- May boost metabolism and weight loss.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis bush like black tea. However, this tea is prepared by steaming or pan firing and dried to prevent oxidation.
This makes green tea much richer in antioxidants. Once brewed, green tea has quite a light color.
There are several types of green tea including Chinese pan-fired varieties such as Gunpowder tea. Dragon Well is often considered to be the best green tea in the world.
Somewhat confusingly, White Monkey is a type of green tea too. Jasmine tea is generally based on green tea, but may also use white or black tea. Japanese steamed green teas like Senja and Hojicha are increasingly popular.
Benefits of Green Tea
- Polyphenols in green tea may decrease tumor growth according to some clinical studies.
- May protect against UVB radiation damage.
- Catechins in green tea may suppress the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
- May lower the risk of strokes.
7. Herbal Tea
Although these aren’t technically teas, but herbal infusions, they’re too good to miss off our list. You can buy ready made herbal teas or make your own from scratch.
To make your own herbal tea, simply infuse the leaves of any edible plant. One of the easiest homemade herbal teas is a fresh mint infusion.
If you prefer to buy readymade herbal teas or tisanes, there are many available. Try hibiscus, chamomile, peppermint or lemon verbena.
Benefits of Herbal Tea
- Caffeine free, so can be consumed at night without impacting on sleep quality.
- Some herbal teas such as chamomile are thought to invoke a sense of calm.
- Other herbal teas like dandelion have diuretic properties to help flush your system out.
Which of these teas have you tried? What in your opinion is the best tea in the world? Let us know in the comments below.
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