I have always been a tea drinker…tried drinking coffee but it always seems to disagree with me!
But when I was younger, tea consisted of a good old fashioned tea bag with a dash of milk.
I always loved the idea of brewing tea in a beautiful teapot, but didn’t even really do that until about 10 years ago.
Then when my husband lost the taste for coffee after his transplant just over three years ago, we started to explore more tea options, and discovered a vast and varied world that we had no idea existed!
And one of the first things we learned was that all tea comes from one plant, the camellia sinensis, a relative of the common camellia plants you see in many gardens!
And then we learned that there are different types of tea….and that it is the manner of processing that determines the style of tea.
So for today’s My Friday Five, I am going to introduce you to the five main tea groups…
Green tea is tea in it’s purest form…it has only had minimum oxidation and it should be brewed at a lower temperature and for less time then other teas.
It is also reported to have many health benefits…I wrote about this a little while ago.
We drink lots of green tea…I find it very refreshing, even on a hot day.
Our current favourite is T2 Gorgeous Geisha…a green tea infused with strawberry!
White tea does not mean tea with milk!
White tea is actually the most delicate of all the teas…it is made from baby tea leaves and is the rarest and least processed of all tea varieties…it is basically picked and dried!
One of my all time favourite teas is Silver Needles, which is a white tea…the true, original Silver Needles tea comes from the Fujian Province in China.
Other countries do now produce Silver Needles, but if you want to try the true original, look for tea leaves from the Fujian Province in China which is the home of the original, authentic Silver Needles.
I had never heard of Oolong tea until we began our tea journey…the name Oolong means “black dragon” .
Oolong teas are semi-oxidized and provide a wide range of styles, aromas and flavours.
One of our favourites is Red Robe…a tea from China that brews a gorgeous amber, golden colour.
Black tea is the most common form of tea…for example, classic teas like English Breakfast and Earl Grey fall within this category.
My favourite heart starter brew is Yorkshire Gold tea, and that is also a black tea.
I always thought it was an English habit, but I have since discovered that it was Portuguese traders who brought black tea from Japan to Europe.
And then it was actually the Dutch that first embraced tea from China, and thrust it into high society (after 1640)…the English caught onto the trend afterwards, and soon tea became the most sought after commodity!
And in a strange twist, black tea is now the least drunk tea in China!
If you drink tea, you probably are already drinking black tea, but there are so many more then the more familiar ones.
For instance, if you ever come across Golden Tips or Golden Buds from the Yunnan Province in China, try it!
Out of these five tea classes, Pu-erh seems to be least known, which is a big shame as this is one of the most exotic and amazing teas you can drink!
Pu-erh is from China and it is actually fermented!
It begins life as a special green tea, and is pressed into cakes and left to mature….sometime for years and years.
A well-matured Pu-erh cake can cost thousands…just like a rare Grange wine!
And there are so many different Pu-erhs…if you don’t like the taste of one, keep trying others…for example, some have a more smoky, peat flavour .
So there you have it…a quick introduction to the different types of tea.
If you drink tea, I really encourage you to widen your horizons and explore the huge range of tea that is available here nowadays!
And if you don’t like a particular tea, it doesn’t mean you won’t like all teas from that group…keep trying different ones till you find the ones you love!
You will never go back to the boring, plain supermarket teabag!
If you have any questions regarding tea and where to buy here in Melbourne, please don’t hesitate to ask!