Drinking tea gets lost in the shuffle with the coffee hoopla out there. And with so many types of teas out there to choose from, which tea should you be drinking or offering guests at a certain time of the day? Below is a mini tutorial for tea newbies, to one of history’s oldest warm beverage. To get started, buy yourself a tea ball for single servings or a teapot with a strainer for multiple servings in order to enjoy the superior taste of loose tea versus tea bags. As the Telegraph reports, Henrietta Lovell, founder of Britain’s the Rare Tea Company, offers advice on how to brew and serve loose leaf tea: “Whether you were the Duchess of Devonshire or a northern coalminer, you knew not to use boiling water to brew your tea as it deadened the flavor. Catch it just before it boils for the loveliest, soft taste.” She adds that most top-notch loose leaf teas can be brewed up to three times, oolong (a combination of green and black tea) up to six, to deepen the flavor, as long as all the water is drained from the pot between infusions. Okay ladies, it’s tea time.
For a morning glory, wake-me-up tea: Black tea. When it comes to drinking tea, this one is by far the most popular type of tea in the U.S. It’s bold in comparison to other teas, and blends well with milk and sugar. For this reason it’s also a great morning alternative to coffee since it has a high caffeine content, as well as for an afternoon pick-me-up tea with a muffin or scone. Its many variants include Assam, Ceylon and Keemun. While China, India and Sri Lanka are major producers of high quality black tea, they are quite distinct from one another, with Early Grey, English Breakfast, Keemum ranking the most popular, and Darjeeling being light in flavor.
A mid-day office meeting tea or for heady tea parties: Green Tea. This was China’s first type of tea and remains its most popular. It’s known for its antioxidants and the intellectual perk its caffeine offers. Many enjoy green tea for its neutral color and taste (though it might taste bitter if you make it too strong) and combine it with salty foods as well. Its variants include lung ching and sencha. Matcha is type of green tea produced with high quality sencha tea that is ground up. Green tea is the perfect pick me up caffeine that won’t make you jittery like coffee can.
Your go-to afternoon pick me up with a kick: White Tea. Its fans rely on this tea’s caffeine potency to get them through the rest of a long day. Since it is less processed than other types of tea, its caffeine content is one of the highest of the tea families. This is as close to consuming the tea leaf straight off the plant as can be; the reason why white tea is packed with more anti-oxidants to boost the immune system than any other type of tea. Common varieties include peony, silver needles and bai mu dan.
That perfect late evening or late night chill out tea: Herbal teas (aka caffeine-free Tisanes). These caffeine-free teas are what you need after a stressful day or for relaxing before bedtime. Chamomile is made using the flowers of chamomile plants and has a slight sedative effect. Lavender tea will also relax your body enough to fall asleep. Sipping a warm cup of tea before bed is a great way to unwind or simply warm yourself up. Rooibos, also known as African Red Bush, is a caffeine-free herbal tea that has increased in popularity due to its health benefits and ability to be blended. Flavored or blended teas, which are flavored with different herbs like rose petals or by adding an essential oil such as jasmine, are perfect to serve along with desserts or simply as dessert in itself with some honey.