If you’ve always stuck to your morning or mid-afternoon cup of Java, it may be time to soak up a little leafy tea goodness. Around three billion cups of tea are enjoyed every day across the globe, and tea is the second most popular beverage after water.

If you think it’s time to expand the contents of your beverage cupboard, and you’d like to enjoy the many health benefits of tea, the following tips may help.

Trying Various Tea Types

There are seven main types of tea (black, green, white, oolong, puerh, purple and herbal teas), yet there are actually over 1,000 varieties of tea, with China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya producing 75% of the world’s tea. Black tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant and is fully (or almost fully) oxidized.

Green tea is made from the same plant, but it is unoxidized. Herbal teas are made from infused flower, herbs, fruits and other ingredients. White, puerh, and oolong teas are also made from the Camellia sinensis tea plant.

White tea is slightly oxidized, while oolong is partially oxidized. Pu-erh tea, meanwhile, is made by parching and fermenting leaves. Finally, there is rooibos, made from the dried rooibos plant. In general, black and pu-erh teas have the highest amounts of caffeine, followed by oolong, green, and white teas.

Top-Selling Varieties

Some of the most popular varieties include Assam, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Darjeeling teas (all of which are black); Matcha (which is green); Chamomile, Hibiscus, and Peppermint (which are herbal teas); Silver Needle (a white tea), Phoenix Tea (an oolong tea); and red and green Rooibos teas.

Make it a point to try a few of each main tea type. A tea subscription is a good starting point, as you will be presented with various flavors and intensities of tea, with an explanation about where they are made and what main varieties they belong to. You will also be acquainted with unique teas that are made in specific parts of the world.

Making Tea at Home

One of the most magical things about drinking loose-leaf teas is preparing them at home. You will need four basic pieces of equipment: a tea infuser, a teapot or mug, a kettle, and loose-leaf tea.

Depending on the type of tea you select, you will need to steep your leaves in the hot water for a specific amount of time. For instance, white teas take only one to two minutes to steep, oolong and green teas take one to three minutes, and black, rooibos, and herbal teas take three to five minutes.

Pu-erh tea, meanwhile, takes two to five minutes. Add to the fun factor by shopping for pretty traditional tea sets.

See if you can find beautiful pre-loved Chinese porcelain, Japanese cast iron, and Royal Albert teacup sets. Once you have perfected your tea-making process, throw a garden tea party, ensuring your guests are delighted with a myriad of petit-fours, watercress sandwiches, and other traditional tea-time foods.

Enjoying Tea in Other Formats

To truly immerse yourself in the world of tea, go beyond loose-leaf tea. If you enjoy baking muffins or cakes, for instance, consider making Matcha-flavored treats. Matcha powder has a lovely umami flavor that many find irresistible.

If you enjoy marinating meat, find up a little Lapsang Souchong and rub it into your favorite cut of meat. Tea can also be used to prepare stock. Fish stew, for instance, can be lived up with Jasmine or white tea.

You can also Matcha powder or finely ground tea leaves to a refreshing smoothie. Finally, stir-fry some Genmaicha. This green tea and brown rice combination becomes deliciously crisp when you fry it in a wok.

Millions of people start the day with a warm cup of tea. There are seven main tea types, but over a thousand varieties. Start your tea journey by steeping loose-leaf tea, then experiment with tea in cold beverages and sweet and savory dishes alike.


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