Tea is the healthiest of all kinds of beverages available in the world. And it is consumed hot and cold. But the biggest advantage of tea is it allows freedom to choose your taste. For example, it could be a fine blend of different herbs or a direct product of leaves of a specific variety.
Tea is widely consumed in the world but its variety changes from one region to another. For example, black tea is more popular in western culture and green tea is a staple in the eastern part especially China, Japan and Korea.
Also, there are some varieties that are limited to the people of a specific region. For example, take Indian tea that is mostly limited to the length and breadth of India. But it doesn’t mean that Indian isn’t popular in other parts of the world.
Here I’m giving details of 26 varieties of tea and it includes both popular and lesser known varieties.
1. Barley Tea
Served cold with ice, barley tea is a popular summer drink in east where it is called “mugicha” in Japan and “boricha” in Korea. Made by boiling roasted barley for 20 minutes, it is consumed like water. And people all over the world like its nutty, smoky and slightly bitter taste.
2. Black Tea
Made with sun-dried and oxidized leaves of Camellia sinensis plant, black tea is consumed for taste and health all across the globe. In Great Britain, people consume approximately 165 million cups of black tea every day. It is controls blood pressure, lowers type 2 diabetes and improves cholesterol profile.
3. Chaga Tea
Chaga is a kind of mushroom found in northern and eastern Europe but it is used for making tea in Siberian region in Russia. Chaga is a variety of fungus found on birch trees. They are dried and boiled for making tea. Common drink of Siberian people, it is said to possess amazing health and longevity benefits.
4. Chai Tea
A blend of black tea, steamed milk and various Indian herbs and spices, chat tea has both pros and cons. This beverage packs the benefits of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger but it also has high sugary content. A traditional style chat tea is relatively healthier than its other varieties especially Starbuck’s version that comes loaded with sugary content.
5. Chamomile Tea
Made with the edible flowers of the matricaria chamomilla plant, this tea is taken as a bedtime beverage due to its relaxing properties. Since it comes from a flower, it pairs mile bitterness with sweet taste and light and fragrance. In clinical trials, it is found that chamomile tea is helpful in overcoming sleep related problems.
6. Chrysanthemum Tea
Originating in China, chrysanthemum tea comes from flowering plants of the same name. These flowers could vary in colors but they are edible. Tea made with their leaves carries a floral aroma paired with a sweet flavor. It is an herbal medicine with anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it contains various polyphenols.
7. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion is a common garden plant found everywhere but little is known about its leaves that can be processed to make tea. It carries a slight floral taste and it is said to have digestive benefits. Interestingly, this beverage looks and smells like coffee.
8. Essiac Tea
A traditional drink of a North American Indian tribe known as Ojibwa or Chppewa, essiac tea carries a slightly bitter and grassy kind of flavor. But it has amazing anti-inflammatory and DNA-protective properties.
9. Green Tea
It originated in China but travelled all across the globe as a healthy beverage. Available in different varieties like sencha, genmaicha and matcha, green tea reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance. Also, it saves from cancer and increases glycemic control.
10. Hibiscus Tea
Made from the dried petals of roselle flower, hibiscus tea contains vitamin C and a variety of anthocyanin polyphenols. And hibiscus tea supplies a decent amount of nutrients too. Also, this dark blood-red beverage with tart flavor and flowery smell is helpful in controlling both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
11. Matcha Tea
Made with the finest shade-grown tea leaves, it is the premium variety of Japanese green tea. While Japanese people consume it with its original taste, others mix steamed milk and sugar to dilute its strong, bitter and grassy taste.
12. Moringa Tea
A rich source of vitamin B and C and essential minerals, moringa tea is made from the leaves of horseradish tree that is a native of Himalayan region in India. It has a grassy taste but it allows better control of blood-sugar. But there are claims that this tea has many health benefits.
13. Nettle Tea
More popular as “stinging nettle tea”, it is made from dried leaves of the utrica dioica. It has a grassy and earthy taste but it feels refreshing and gives a host of health benefits with its phenolic compounds and anti-inflammatory properties.
14. Oolong Tea
A sibling of black tea, oolong tea is also made from the leaves of camellia sinensis plant but it is partially oxidized that allows it to retain a range of polyphenols.
15. Peppermint Tea
This minty tea is made with the dried leaves of the peppermint plant. It has a strong flavor and smell that make it bold but it is very refreshing. Also, it is good for digestion and treating discomfort related to upset stomach.
16. Pu-erh Tea
It is a Chinese beverage made with fermented leaves that contain plenty of friendly bacteria. Since it tastes more bitter than standard tea, it is considered similar to red wine. This tea improved health markers of patients of metabolic syndrome in clinical trials.
17. Pau d’arco Tea
It is an herb from the pau d’arco tree found in Amazon rainforest. The inner bark of the tree is made for making tea. This herb contains a variety of phytonutrients that are said to be beneficial in cancer treatment.
18. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaves have a long history of use from herbal remedies to making tea. But the tea tastes grassy instead of raspberry. It is a non-caffeinated drink considered good for pregnancy issues. Folk stories tell that it can shorten labor period.
19. Rooibos Tea
Known as red bush, rooibos tea offers a distinct taste that is a fine blend of fruity, spicy and nutty flavors. Also, it is caffeine free. It originates in South Africa where it has been popular for centuries as a health drink good for cardiovascular health.
20. Rose Tea
Dried leaves of beautiful rose plant are used for making rose tea and these leaves can be combined with other herbs to get a flavored drink. In taste, it feels slightly sour and mildly sour due to the citric and malic acidic properties of rose petals. But they contain various anthocyanins.
21. Senna Tea
Senna comes from a flowering plant considered native to Egypt but widely grown throughout the tropical regions. It is a semi-popular drink with fewer health benefits like stimulant laxative but it also has some concerns like it causes gastric cancer.
22. Sencha Tea
Another variety of Japanese green tea, sencha tea contains all the benefits of green tea. But compared to other varieties of green tea, sencha beverage contains more polyphenols especially catechins.
23. Spearmint Tea
Spearmint is similar to peppermint with the only difference that spearmint has a much smaller amount of menthol than latter and it is for this reason that spearmint has a different taste. And this cooler and milder tea can cure hirsutism in women. Hirsutism is growth of male hair in women. Also, it is helpful in osteoarthritis.
24. White Tea
It also comes from camellia sinensis plant but it is the mildest in comparison to its sibling black tea. White tea is made with the freshest leaves available picked at a younger age and they are don’t processed or oxidized. There are many differences between black and white tea but their nutritional value is almost similar.
25. Yerba Mate Tea
A popular drink from South America, yerba mate tea is made from the leaves of a variety of holly tree found in the rainforest of South America. It is a caffeinated drink with a deep and intense taste but pleasant. It is an energy drink with mood-boosting properties. Also, it is good for weight loss, increasing blood viscosity and improving blood flow.
26. Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
A different beverage from South-East Africa, this tea is caffeine free and could help in controlling blood sugar. It is recognized from its striking blue color that is often a talking point about this beverage.
It is difficult to say which variety of tea is the best or most popular as every variety has its pros and cons. Personally, I prefer Chai Tea and Green Tea. While the first gives me taste and the latter aids in maintaining good health. But it is my personal preference and it has nothing to do with the comparison of the tea varieties.