Wait, Chai is not Tea?

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A Wonderland of Teas

It’s always time for tea. The Chinese started it and the world enjoys it now. Did you know that chai and tea are not the same? There is a world of difference between what we call “Chai”- a strong black tea that is consumed with milk and sugar and what is the original tea consumed around the world.

Tea is an aromatic beverage made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, native to Asia. With multiple health benefits, tea comes in various flavours and types. Let’s learn about the different types of teas, shall we? Here they are!

 

1. WHITE TEA

Least processed of all teas, the white tea is delicately flavoured and has a relaxing effect.

What it tastes like: Aromatic with fresh, floral and even nutty notes.

Popular white teas – Silver Needles and White Peony. In India, White Teas are grown in Darjeeling and the Nilgiris

Why you should drink it: Reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and has antioxidants that prevent ageing. 

The Silver Needle white tea is the premium grade of classic white tea and is prized for its delicate and sweet flavor. It is a Chinese tea which is considered the most expensive of all white teas and is made of young unopened tea silver buds.

 

2. GREEN TEA

Green teas are perhaps the most popular after “Chai”. They keep their vital green color because they are unoxidized. The latest trend and superfood that is Matcha green tea is finely ground powder of green tea plants grown in the shade and specially processed.

What it tastes like: Bittersweet with grassy, fresh notes

Popular green teas – Sencha, Matcha, Gyokuro

Why you should drink it: Reduces risks of cancer, diabetes and heart diseases, regulates blood pressure, promotes weight loss, fights ageing and boosts immunity

The finely powdered Matcha tea has turned many coffee lovers ditching the beverage in favour of Matcha. You know your Matcha is good when it froths. It contains three times more caffeine than your cup of steeped tea.

 

3. OOLONG TEA

Oolong Teas are semi oxidized and fall somewhere in between the green teas and the black teas. It is said to be the most beneficial because of this reason. Oolong tea is fragrant and relaxing despite its caffeine content.

What it tastes like: Fruity, floral and even vegetal notes

Popular Oolong teas – Tai Guan Yin, Darjeeling Oolong

Why you should drink it: Rich in antioxidants, manages weight, removes harmful free radicals, prevents ovarian cancer, great for skin, improves bone health, improves mental health

The Vanilla Oolong tea is a must try. Vanilla adds a roundness and creamy fragrance to the already aromatic Oolong that the end result is almost therapeutic.

 

4. BLACK TEA

The most well known tea in the world, black tea is fully oxidized and some of the most famous black teas come from Indian regions. The strongest in flavor, black teas are the more preferred teas in most countries. British are the world’s greatest consumers of tea, mainly black, since the 18th century.

What it tastes like: Strong, bold and rich with sweeter notes

Popular Black teas – Darjeeling, Keemun, Yunnan

Why you should drink it: Rich with polyphenols(anitoxidants), boosts heart health, lowers stress hormones, relieves an upset stomach, holds antibacterial ability, reduces the risk of dialetes. 

Darjeeling tea is often known as the ‘Champagne of teas’. Its flavor is mildly musky, spicy yet fruity and is deliciously aromatic. It is also available in White, Green and Oolong teas.

 

Other types of teas 

Pu-erh tea – a variety of tea that is actually fermented. Like wine, many tea connoisseurs collect well aged Pu’ers that can be as old as 30 years.

Tisanes – herbal and floral tea infusions. These are essentially your herbal teas made from a plant other than the tea plant- Camelia Sinensis. They do not contain caffeine and are steadily gaining popularity. Some popular tisanes are Hibiscus, Lavender, Chamomile, Cinnamon and lemongrass.

You can try all these and more at India’s first tea-room, Infinitea on Cunningham Road, Bangalore or at their other outlet in Indiranagar, Bangalore. They also sell these speciality teas at both outlets. Their variety of sweet and savoury snacks to go with different teas are delicious and are a must try!

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