Did you know that any kind of “tea” that isn’t from the camellia sinensis plant is not considered real tea? This plant comes in a variety of forms, as you will soon read. The most famous kinds of tea come from Japan, China, India, and Sri Lanka. If you love tea, but haven’t had it from leaves or have only tasted one kind, you are missing out, and are only going to love it more when you read about all the different kinds of tea.
Black tea is what you drink when you want caffeine. China’s black teas range in flavor from smoky to sweet. To the south, there’s Indian black tea, which can have a powerful, malt-like taste or a light, fresh flavor. Sri Lankan teas, also called Ceylon teas, can be fine and light, or very strong. Black tea can be steeped at 212-degrees for 1 minute.
Green tea is the “health” tea, and comes in Chinese and Japanese forms. Chinese green tea is a little fruity-tasting and mild, while Japanese green tea can be much stronger. The Japanese will drink Sencha green tea as an everyday beverage, and Sencha Brancha, which is a blended drink of green tea and rice. Green teas should be steeped in water no hotter than 180-degrees Fahrenheit for no longer than 1 minute.
The most famous types of Oolong tea come from China, and fall somewhere between green and black in terms of strength. Taiwan Oolong, also called Formosa, has a peachy taste and is frequently named as one of the best teas in the world. 190-195-degrees is a good temperature range for Oolong.
This tea is cultivated mostly in China, and describes tea made from the buds of very young leaves that do not contain chlorophyll. The flavor is very sweet and light. It is the most delicate tea type, and should be steeped in water between 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tea that’s not really tea
Any kind of “tea” that does not fall into the above categories is not technically tea, but can still be amazing. There are lots of blended teas, such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey, which are both blends of strong Indian black teas. Chai tea is a popular blend of black tea and spices like cloves and cinnamon. Herbal teas made from steeped flowers and fruit can help with digestion, insomnia, and other health problems. If you define tea as anything steeped in hot water, you can make tea from just about anything, and combine it with just about anything, too.