Chai (tea) is literally the national drink of Pakistan. It is present on all occasions, whether it’s a protest or a wedding; all events are incomplete without at least one form of tea.
Recently, different types of tea have been introduced in the market, and though the typical black tea will always ben everyone’s favourite, there is no reason why one should not know about the other types of tea.
All tea is produced from a plant called camellia sinensis. There are thousands of varieties of tea available across the world, based on the region it was grown in, the time of year it was picked and the processing method that followed. Each type of tea has its own taste and health benefit.
Black tea is the most popular form of tea and one that most of us have grown up drinking. Full-bodied and strong, black tea tastes great alone or can be mixed with milk and sugar.
White tea is the purest and least processed of all teas. White tea has a light colour and flavour and is appreciated by tea connoisseurs for its unmatched subtlety, natural sweetness and delicacy.
Green tea is also a popular type of tea and is the favourite choice amongst Asians. Some loose green teas are scented with flowers or mixed with fruits to create scented or flavoured teas. Straight green tea has a clean and delicious taste.
Oolong tea, (pronounced as wu long tea), is most commonly recognised as Chinese tea served at a Chinese restaurant.
Herbal tea is the only tea that does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family. It can be of three types: rooibos tea, mate tea or herbal infusions. Herbal infusions consist of pure herbs, flowers, and fruits. They can be delicious hot or iced.
Rooibos teas are herbal infusions made from a South African red bush and popularly called `Red tea’. It is delicious, comes in a variety of flavours and can be consumed either hot or cold.
Mate tea is considered the coffee lover’s favourite tea as it tastes like coffee. Mate is a wild shrub from Argentina that makes for a delicious, flavourful tea. Often consumed in a gourd with a filtered straw and shared among friends, these herbal teas are full of bold flavours.
Also called artisan or flowering teas, these teas actually `bloom’ as they steep. They are hand tied by tea artists and often include some type of flavour or scent along with the beautiful design. These romantic teas also make a great gift as they look beautiful.
Tea blends combine more than one type of premium tea, giving it a great flavour.
Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, with water being the first. Tea tasting is very much like wine tasting.
The less processed the tea leaf, the greater the antioxidants. This means that green tea has more antioxidants than black tea. White tea being the least processed has the maximum antioxidants.
Black tea can be preserved for long periods of time, which is why China would send black tea out to the rest of the world. So, while the Chinese still consume green tea, the rest of world consumes more black tea.
Time to head to the nearest tea house and indulge in a nice, warm cup of tea.