Tea is certainly a staple of any British person’s diet; there’s nothing like a chocolate digestive, a perfect cuppa, and a nice sit down at three o’clock in the afternoon. But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt to embrace the many, many types; from green, to white, to rooibos, to oolong, each bringing something slightly different to the table. As delicious and distinctive as each type is, it can be a little hard to keep track of why, and how, each type is different from the next; so, look no further, for here is a quick and easy guide to the many types of tea, and how to drink them.
Black tea- the most familiar form of tea for many. Made from the plant Camellia Sinensis, the leaves are fermented more than green, white and oolong tea, giving it it’s dark colour. The tea can be very bitter if the leaves are left to brew for to long; but anyone who loves strong tea would know that. This is the type of tea in a regular cup, its flavour usually being enhanced by milk, or sugar.
Green tea is a little different. Although made from the same plant as Black tea, its leaves are unfermented, and is made by a method known as quick drying, meaning it has much less tannin than Black tea. Its popularity is mainly due to its significant health benefits; increasing the metabolism, lowering anxiety, and having a positive impact on cancer cells. One way to begin a healthier lifestyle is simply to start drinking Green tea! Some are a little off-put by its taste, but others find it delicious.
Oolong Tea, like Green and Black tea, is made from the same plant, although the leaves are dried in a different way (by withering them under a strong light). Its difference to other teas is its flexibility, tasting wonderful with fruity, or sweet, or flowery additions, as well as its improvement as it is rebrewed.
Matcha is essentially green tea, although, rather than coming in leaf form, it is powdered. Not only a popular tea flavour, Matcha is used to flavour sweets, cakes, and even ice cream in Japan, and is rapidly becoming more and more popular in the Western world. It is also the type of tea which is traditionally used in a Japanese Tea ceremony, complete with bamboo whisk, and tea scoop.
White Tea, is, once more, made from the Cmellia Sinesis plant, although, unliked the aforementioned forms, is entirely unprocessed. This makes it both the most expensive, and most delicate form of tea. It should be prepared at low temperatures, the leaves being picked form the first tea buds, and it is traditionally incorporated into sweeter forms of tea.
Rooibos, literally meaning ‘red bush’, is a tea of South African origin, created from the plant Aspalathus Linearis. It is usually found in the same form as Black tea, though Green Rooibos is also popular. It is reported to have health benefits, though nowhere near as many as Green tea. Still, it is certainly an enjoyable and delicious drink.
Happy tea drinking!