An ancient drink with a rich history, tea is one of the most consumed beverages around the world. According to legend, the mythological Chinese ruler Shannon accidentally found tea when a leaf from a nearby plant fell into his boiling water.
Thanks to the nutritional benefits of tea, including its antioxidant properties that can help strengthen the immune system, tea has been consumed for thousands of years. It has become an integral part of cultural rituals and is loved for its taste as well as its medicinal properties. Tea is now a $10 billion industry in the United States and $38.8 billion worldwide.
Although there are many different types of tea, they all come from five main classifications: black, green, white, oolong, and pu-erh. According to Fresh Tea, a tea information organization, the variety depends on how the leaves are treated after being picked. Below is a look at some popular types of tea.
Darjeeling: This is a black tea with a light, nutty taste and floral aroma. It is lighter than other black teas.
Earl Grey: Another black tea, Earl Gray gets its flavor from the addition of bergamot, an orange extract.
Oolong: Some of the most popular types of oolong include Da Hong Pao, Dong Ding, Tiguanin, Baozong, and Jin Xua. Oolong is semi-oxidized, so it falls between green and black teas in terms of flavor strength.
Silver Needle Tea: This is the most expensive white tea in the world. It was a favorite among various Chinese dynasties.
Assam: Although many teas come from China, Assam is a black tea that originates from Assam, India. It has a strong flavor and a sharp taste.
English Breakfast Tea: This is a traditional blend of black teas originating from Assam, Ceylon and Kenya. It has a relatively high caffeine content, so it is energetic and strong.
Masala chai: Chai is the Hindi word for tea. Recipes for masala tea vary, but in general, tea from Assam or other black tea is mixed with cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, and pepper. The tea is mixed with milk to make a creamy and spicy brew.
Matcha: This is a traditional Japanese green tea powder made by grinding green tea leaves. The flavor is stronger than other green teas because the powder is mixed with water rather than steeped.
Bubble tea: Bubble tea originated in Taiwan. It is made of black tea or matcha mixed with milk and tapioca balls and served over ice.
Pu-erh: A rare type of fermented black tea, typically made in the Yunnan province of China. Pu-erh can be left to age, which mellows out the flavor.