The A to Z of Tea
The world of Tea is far-reaching. It encompasses a multitude of types and varieties from Black to Green to Jasmine to Rooibos. Yet many such beverages remain unknown, confined to the households of only the most knowledgeable of connoisseurs. We believe it’s time this changed, meet The A to Z of Tea.
As people begin branching away from conventional infusions, we’ve decided to create a list of Teas from A to Z. Each type of Tea found below is available here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Why not start exploring today?
A Stands for Assam Tea
It seems fitting that we start our A to Z of Tea with one of the most popular varieties, Assam Tea. While some types (such as Green Tea) date back millennia, this particular beverage only came into existence in 1823.
It was a Scottish explorer named Robert Bruce who discovered Tea leaves growing in Assam, India. This took place following a period where several attempts to grow Chinese Tea had failed.
Not long after Robert Bruce’s incredible findings, a flourishing Indian Tea industry emerged. The country hasn’t looked back since. Now, India is the second-largest Tea producer in the world, with Assam Tea undoubtedly one of the most famous. But what, exactly, makes it so special?
For starters, it boasts a uniquely malty flavour, often with an extraordinarily full-bodied character. Furthermore, when consumed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, it can offer Black Tea benefits.
We’ll talk a little more about this below. But for now, it’s worth noting that Assam Tea might, indeed, improve life in small yet significant ways.
Five Assam Teas to Try
- Assam Tea Bags
- Assam Tea Hathikuli Organic TGBOP
- Assam Tea Panitola TGFOP
- Assam Tea Dikom STGFOP1
- Assam Tea Selection
B Stands for Black Tea
Black Tea is one of the four primary types of Tea, the others being Green, White and Oolong. The difference between each one comes about through the processing of the leaf.
This particular type undergoes the most processing, which involves a significant period of oxidation. In oxidising the leaf, it changes colour from green to brown to black.
What’s more, and perhaps more importantly, oxidation has a dramatic influence on the chemical structure and, ultimately, the taste of the Tea. Upon brewing, Black Tea loses the grassiness of its greener counterpart, instead consisting of distinct notes of malt and/or earth. Depending on the type, there may also be hints of chocolate and spice, with each variety having something unique to offer.
Nowadays, Black Tea is the most popular variety in the world, accounting for an estimated 78% of the world’s consumption. From Assam to Ceylon; Keemun to Chai, Yunnan and Lapsang Souchong, the possibilities seem almost endless.
Five Black Teas to Try
C Stands for Ceylon Tea
The story of Ceylon Tea begins with another “C” - Coffee. In 1869, the British Colony of Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) saw a plant-based disease called Coffee-rust sweep across the island.
Over the next decade, the local Coffee industry was all but wiped out, leaving the country in economic ruin. Thankfully, however, a Scotsman named James Taylor had plans of his own: Tea-growing.
Mr. Taylor, an estate owner, started by planting 19 acres of Tea plants. Since then, his legacy has proven immensely successful, with 4% of Sri Lanka’s landmass today used for Black Tea production.
Ceylon Tea is now one of the most sought-after types in the world, its taste best described as full-bodied, malty and nutty. The country is the fourth-largest producer globally. Similar to its Assamese counterpart, indeed much like all kinds of Black Tea, Ceylon Tea comes with health benefits.
It contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which, combined, can combat free radicals in the body. In doing this, your morning cuppa reduces the risk of developing several chronic conditions - namely cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
Five Ceylon Teas to Try
- Ceylon Tea Bags
- Ceylon Uva Dyraaba Orange Pekoe
- Ceylon Tea Nuwara Eliya BOP
- Ceylon Orange Pekoe Kandy
- Ceylon Tea Dimbula Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP)
D Stands for Decaffeinated Tea
There are some who experience the Effects of Caffeine worse than others. People who’re caffeine sensitive, for example, often suffer from jitteriness and sleeplessness.
Furthermore, medical professionals urge those who’re pregnant to limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg daily - the equivalent of two Coffees. Is there an alternative? Yes - Decaffeinated Tea.
Decaf refers to the process of decaffeination, whereby Tea leaves have the caffeine contained within removed. Although trace amounts remain, the decaffeination process ultimately sees the product all but void of this stimulating chemical compound. Four primary methods of doing this exist. However, we only use the two safest: the CO2 process and the water process.
The former works by using pressurised liquid carbon dioxide to extract small caffeine molecules, removing 96-98% from the leaves. The latter, used predominantly for Decaf Coffee, removes 94-96% of caffeine by passing hot water through the beans (or leaves). This extracts both the flavour and caffeine molecules, although the taste is eventually returned through a carbon filter.
Five Decaffeinated Teas to Try
- Decaffeinated Black Tea Bags
- Earl Grey Decaffeinated Tea
- Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea
- Decaffeinated Green Tea
- Strawberry Sencha Decaffeinated Green Tea
E Stands for Echinacea Tea
Echinacea is a type of Herbal Tea. It comes from the perennial, herbaceous, flowering plant of the same name, native to the midwestern region of North America.
Growing up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) in height, it is a member of the daisy (Asteraceae) family. Some recognise it by its large purple flowers with a sizable central cone. Others enjoy it as a delicious, invigorating brew.
The indigenous people of the continent have long used Echinacea for its medicinal qualities. The Sioux and Dakota, for example, once applied the herb as a poultice to treat hydrophobia caused by rabid animal bites. The Blackfoot instead chewed it to alleviate toothache. The Cheyenne and Comanche, on the other hand, used Echinacea Tea Benefits for sore mouths and throats.
Today, much of modern science continues to hold this beverage in high regard. Most famously, it can work as a remedy for colds and the flu, while simultaneously boosting the immune system. Additionally, some preliminary studies suggest that it promotes weight loss and reduces the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Most of all, however, is the fact that it tastes great, boasting a smooth herbaceousness.
F Stands for Formosa Tea
Formosa Tea comes from the island now known as Taiwan, situated off the coast of mainland China. For centuries, this beautiful, culturally significant region has created some of the finest-quality infusions in the world.
In particular, Taiwan specialises in the production of Oolong and Gunpowder Tea, both of which are unique and delicious in their own way.
Like Assam and Ceylon, Taiwan’s (formerly Formosa) Tea industry was the product of Scottish entrepreneurship, specifically a merchant named John Dodd.
During the 1860s, Dodd transported Tea bushes from the Chinese Fujian province with help from his associate, Li Chunsheng. Together, they persuaded local farmers to increase the cultivation of Tea by providing financial support.
Nowadays, of course, Tea-growing in Taiwan is an economic incentive unto itself, with the local climate providing near-perfect conditions for its production. Be it Gunpowder or Oolong Tea, or even Lapsang Souchong, you’re bound to be impressed.
Five Formosa Teas to Try
- Oolong Formosa Tea
- Gunpowder Formosa Green Tea
- Lapsang Souchong Formosa Dragon
- Formosa Oolong Poppy Tea
- Formosa Oolong Dung Ting
G Stands for Green Tea
There is an argument made that Green Tea is where it all began. According to a legend dating back to 2737 BCE, a Chinese Emperor named Shennong discovered it by pure accident. While Shennong slept under a then-unknown tree, a gust of wind knocked one of the branches. Leaves fell down to earth, some landing in the great Emperor’s cup of boiling water by his side.
Shennong awoke to find a strange, greenish beverage next to him. Intrigued, he decided to try it. The first sip proved delicious, invigorating and refreshing; and so he finished it contentedly.
Without knowing it at the time, the Emperor had just enjoyed the first cup of Green Tea - or so the tale goes. Although but a myth, there is no denying the influence that Green Tea has had on our collective society.
Green Tea is the second most-consumed type of Tea, accounting for an estimated 20% of the world’s consumption. It is also the second least-processed variety after White Tea, which has a significantly positive impact on its health benefits.
The Antioxidants in Green Tea, in particular, support wellbeing in a plethora of ways. Its taste, meanwhile, is exquisite, consisting of grassy, floral, vegetal, herbaceous or seaweed notes.
Five Green Teas to Try
- Green Tea Bags
- Gunpowder Temple of Heaven Green tea
- Chun Mee Green Tea
- Mango and Bergamot Sencha Green Tea
- Hyson Tea - Lucky Dragon Organic Green Tea
H Stands for Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus Tea is becoming increasingly popular in part due to its exceptional health benefits. It is a Herbal Tea of unparalleled character and charm, originating from a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Malvaceae family.
Specifically, we use the Hibiscus sabdariffa variety in the making of this beverage. When brewed, it offers a distinctly tart flavour reminiscent of cranberries and pomegranates.
Once drunk by Egyptian Pharaohs to combat the fierce desert heat, Hibiscus Tea is today chosen for lowering blood pressure. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, just three cups a day is all it takes to make a difference.
The reason this works is that the herb has remarkable anti-inflammatory effects on the body, improving the elasticity of blood vessels.
Yet that’s not all on offer here. Research suggests that, among other qualities, Hibiscus Tea Benefits can alleviate menstrual discomfort, protect the liver and even relieve mild anxiety. It is no surprise, then, that it’s fast becoming one of the best-selling Herbal Teas on the market.
Five Hibiscus Teas to Try
- Hibiscus Tea Bags
- Hibiscus Flower Tea
- Strawberry Flavoured Hibiscus Tea
- Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea
- Lemon Verbena, Hibiscus and Ginger Tea
I Stands for Indian Tea
Historically, Indian Tea began with Assam Tea. However, the industry has since expanded, today playing host to countless types and varieties. For a country that only began mass-production of Tea in the 19th century, it has, undoubtedly, made up for it in choice.
One noteworthy example is that of Chai Tea, a combination of Black Tea with several herbs and spices. Recipes for this versatile infusion differ from region to region, village to village and even household to household.
However, many tend to include ingredients such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, peppercorn, star anise and Turmeric Tea.
Another choice is Darjeeling Tea, which comes from the hilly West Bengal district of the same name. Yet it’s worth noting that this region holds a secret.
While most Indian Teas come from the country’s Camellia sinensis var. Assamica plant, Darjeeling Tea originates from China’s Camellia sinensis var sinensis. Some plants have even since hybridised, creating Indian-Chinese varieties found nowhere else in the world.
Five Indian Teas to Try
- Bombay Tea Chai Tea Bags
- Darjeeling Tea Bags
- Indian Breakfast Tea
- Darjeeling Himalayan Blend
- Cochin Masala Chai
J Stands for Jasmine Tea
Rarely does Tea get sweeter, grassier or more irresistibly floral than Jasmine. Thats why we must add this to our A to Z of Tea. This alluring flower comes from a genus of shrubs and vines known as Jasminum.
It belongs to the olive (Oleaceae) family, with its use in commercial products unmistakably widespread. Soaps, shampoos, lotions and perfumes are just some of the items that often contain Jasmine. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, there is Tea.
Although some choose to drink Jasmine as a Herbal infusion, most enjoy it in Flavoured Green or White Tea. This is the product of an intricate, time-consuming, yet worthwhile processing method.
At night, while the flowers are blooming, workers layer them over Tea for scenting. After several hours, the leaves absorb the fragrance and distinct flavour of Jasmine, creating a beverage unlike any other.
What’s more, providing you eat well and exercise plenty, Jasmine Tea, no matter the specific type, has astounding Jasmine Tea Benefits. Its anti-ageing properties, for instance, can help maintain stronger, better skin.
Additionally, it has the potential to boost the metabolism of fat cells. This enables the body to burn fat not only quicker but also more efficiently, ultimately resulting in weight loss.
Five Jasmine Teas to Try
- Jasmine Tea Bags
- Jasmine Tea with Flowers
- Jasmine Pearl Tea
- Jasmine and Vanilla White and Green Tea
- Jasmine Lily Tea Flower
K Stands for Keemun Tea
One of the most popular China Black Teas around, Keemun has much to offer casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike. It comes from Qimen county, Anhui province, its name deriving from the archaic English spelling of the region. Yet despite its prestigiousness, and much unlike its other Chinese counterparts, this particular beverage only dates back to 1875.
It was one man, a former Chinese civil servant named Yu Ganchen, who created Keemun Tea nearly 150 years ago. The story goes that, after losing his job, Ganchen decided to experiment with Black Tea production in his home county of Qimen.
His endeavours proved to be a tremendous success, with most today noting Keemun Tea for its distinctively mellow flavour.
Did you know Keemun Tea benefits are also worth acknowledging when indulging in your morning cuppa. It contains two significant polyphenolic antioxidants known as theaflavin and thearubigin, both of which can support health and wellbeing.
Indeed, regardless of whether you’re looking for a new digestive aid or a boosted immune system, look no further than Keemun Tea.
Five Keemun Teas to Try
L Stands for Lapsang Souchong
Historians believe that Lapsang Souchong, a bold, smoky infusion, was the first Black Tea ever made. Legend has it that during the Chinese Qing Dynasty, a group of farmers were descended upon by bandits looking to steal their Tea crop.
These villainous raiders demanded that the Tea be ready for taking upon their return to the village. Yet the farmers weren’t prepared to give up so easily.
Harvesting the leaves as quickly as possible, the dutiful workers, keen to get their crop to market, decided to dry it over pinewood fires. The result was an unmistakably smoked Tea.
At first, the farmers grew disheartened, believing they’d ruined their produce. However, as it turned out, they hadn’t. In fact, they had not only created Lapsang Souchong Tea, but also Black Tea as a whole.
In more recent history, this particular beverage has adorned the Teacup of none other than Sir Winston Churchill. Some suggest that this was because smoky Lapsang tasted somewhat similar to his much-loved cigars.. Either that or he simply knew a good, hearty cuppa when he saw one!
Five Lapsang Teas to Try
- Lapsang Souchong Tea Bags
- Lapsang Souchong Tea Falcon
- Lapsang Souchong Tea Tiger
- Lapsang Souchong Tea Crocodile
- Lapsang Souchong Butterfly Tea
M Stands for Matcha Tea
Matcha is a variety of either Green or White Tea and deserve a place in our A to Z of Tea. What makes it different from your ‘regular’ cuppa is the fact that it has been ground into a fine powder.
This extraordinary processing method has a significant influence on the taste and texture of Matcha, as well as its Matcha Tea benefits. Indeed, according to research, it contains 137 times more antioxidant strength than ‘regular’ Green Tea.
But perhaps most important is its flavour, best described as grassy and astringent. Although it doesn’t suit every palate, people seem to agree that Matcha is, at the very least, unique. And it's this uniqueness which has endeared so many for several hundreds of years, particularly in Japan.
Since the 17th century, the Japanese have held Matcha Tea ceremonies. This quiet celebration, performed with grace and beauty, is a spiritual experience, cleansing the body and the mind.
If you don’t have time for such ventures, however, worry not. Matcha Tea, Green or White, makes for an excellent, indeed indulgent choice regardless of your spirituality.
Five Matcha Teas to Try
- Matcha Green Tea Powder
- Matcha Genmai Cha
- Kenya Matcha Tea
- Peppermint Matcha Tea
- Bombay Chai Matcha Tea
Matcha Tea Utensils
N Stands for Nilgiri Tea
From the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, a state in South India, comes this often underrated infusion. While Assam and Darjeeling Tea have long held the spotlight, Nilgiri Tea remains a relative unknown. Yet like all of India’s delectable Teas, this beverage has much to offer.
The word “Nilgiri” derives from the Sanskrit language, translated to mean “blue hill”. This name refers to the blueness of the hillside when, once every seven to twelve years, Kurinji flowers blossom and carpet the landscape with vibrant colour.
Stretching through the states of Kerala and, of course, Tamil Nadu, these hills, sometimes classified as mountains, are where Nilgiri’s Tea estates are found.
Monsoon rain sweeps across the district during the mid-summer months, bringing life to the many producing gardens. Unlike most Tea-growing regions in India, workers often harvest the leaves throughout winter, thus creating so-called “Frost Teas”. When brewed, Nilgiri Tea consists of notes reminiscent of Ceylon Tea, if slightly brisker and sweeter.
Five Nilgiri Teas to Try
- Nilgiri Tea GBOP
- Nilgiri Tea SFTGFOP1
- Nilgiri Tea Tiger Hill FBOP
- Nilgiri Tea Thaishola SFTGFOP1
- Queen Mary English Tea (a blend including Nilgiri Tea)
O Stands for Oolong Tea
Oolong is the “in-between” Tea, a term referring to the fact that it’s only partly oxidised. In other words, it sits somewhere between Green and Black Tea in terms of its production, which is also reflected in its taste.
Yet it’s important to note “somewhere”. This is because seldom do two Oolong Tea shares the same oxidation levels. Some types undergo 8% oxidation while others can be oxidised up to 80%.
Less oxidation means its profile likely resembles Green Tea, while more oxidation almost certainly makes it akin to Black Tea. Either way, you’re in for a treat - especially when you’re looking for a digestive aid.
The reason? Oolong Tea (also known as “Chinese Restaurant Tea” for soon-to-be obvious reasons) can alkalise the gastrointestinal tract, thus reducing inflammation.
But apart from supporting your gut after a heavy, indulgent meal, there are other Oolong Tea benefits worth noting. For example, this infusion, similar to the three other primary types of Tea, can improve cardiovascular health and reduce diabetes risks. Yet, most astoundingly, less than 2% of the world’s Tea drinkers choose Oolong.
Five Oolong Teas to Try
- Oolong Formosa Tea
- Wulong Choice Chinese Oolong Tea
- Oolong Milk Tea
- Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong Ti Kuan Yin
- GABA Oolong Tea
P Stands for Peppermint Tea
Herbal Tea has, in recent years, soared in popularity. Yet none have quite enjoyed the same level of recognition as that of Peppermint Tea. This particular beverage originates from the aromatic, rhizomatous, perennial plant botanically known as Mentha piperita.
It grows up to 90 centimetres (35 inches) high, boasting light purple flowers and green leaves with serrated edges.
Peppermint, a natural hybrid of watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata), belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It contains several chemical compounds, including menthol, menthone and methyl acetate - the latter responsible for the herb’s minty aroma and flavour.
Mythologically, it came into existence after the Greek Goddess Persephone, wife of Hades, turned one of her husband’s lovers into a plant. Saddened by Persephone’s interference, Hades imbrued its leaves with peppermint to honour his former mistress’ sweetness.
In the world of modern science, the Benefits of Peppermint Tea are better known for its ability to promote weight loss and improving oral health.
Five Peppermint Teas to Try
- Peppermint Tea Bags
- Peppermint Leaves
- Peppermint Black Tea
- Peppermint Green Tea
- Peppermint Matcha Tea
Q Stands for Queen Victoria and Tea
What does the 19th-century monarch of the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as the Empress of India, have to do with Tea? As it turns out, plenty! According to one story, Queen Victoria was the person responsible for the name “English Breakfast Tea”.
During a royal visit to Balmoral, Her Majesty met Robert Drysdale, a Scottish Tea Master who had recently made a new blend. Mr. Drysdale had already dubbed his creation “Scottish Breakfast Tea”.
However, the Queen persuaded him to change it to better suit her English roots. Today, this beverage is, in particular, a popular choice when indulging in an Afternoon Tea.
Alternatively, next time you have an assortment of sandwiches, scrumptious scones and heavenly cake, why not try our Queen Victoria Blend? This is another kind of Breakfast Tea, one initially created by us for the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Yet having an Afternoon Tea in Brighton isn’t the only way to enjoy Queen Victoria Blend. Indeed, it is now available to all of our customers.
R Stands for Rooibos Tea
This wholesome, nutritious herb grows exclusively in the Cederberg region of South Africa, located in the Western Cape Province. It comes from the perennial Aspalathus linearis plant, a member of the Fabaceae (Legume) family.
For centuries, the indigenous Khoisan people of the region have applied Rooibos Tea benefits to their daily lives. Now, you can, too.
Rooibos Tea contains alpha hydroxy acid, aspalathin, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc. These constituents combined can, among other qualities, improve skin health, lower blood pressure and even reduce colic in babies.
Most famous, however, is the fact that Rooibos Tea has the potential to alleviate allergy symptoms.
When it comes to taste, this delectable Herbal Tea offers a gentle, natural sweetness with notes reminiscent of nuts, honey and caramel. Additionally, every sip has a distinct, refreshing herbaceousness which never ceases to entice the palate and the reason we have added Rooibos Tea to our A to Z of Tea.
Five Rooibos Teas to Try
- Rooibos Tea Bags
- Organic Rooibos Tea
- Rooibos Green Tea
- Vanilla Rooibos Tea
- Granny’s Garden Strawberry Rooibos
S Stands for Sencha Tea
Did you know that 78% of Japanese Tea drinkers choose Sencha? This type of Green Tea is soft, mild and sweet in flavour, consisting of traditionally grassy notes with every sip.
Although immensely popular in Japan, it likely originates from China. Nevertheless, debates exist between the two countries concerning its true beginnings, with Japan maintaining that they, in fact, came up with it first!
Legend has it that a Japanese Tea farmer from Uji, near Kyoto, created this infusion while experimenting with different production techniques.
Knowing the locals wouldn’t take kindly to his new Tea, the farmer travelled to Edo (present-day Tokyo) to sell it. Few were interested at first until the farmer visited a small Tea shop, where the owner fell in love with it. Sencha became a phenomenon not long after.
Or so the story goes! Whether there is any truth to this tale is questionable. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that Sencha is one of the most famous Green Tea types in the world. Furthermore, putting taste and popularity to one side, it likewise provides avid drinkers with the Benefits of Green Tea.
Five Sencha Teas to Try
- China Sencha Green Tea
- Japanese Kakagawa Sencha Green Tea
- Sencha Tea - Sakura Cherry Green Tea
- Sencha Seaweed Wakame Tea
- Japanese Sencha Genmai Cha
T Stands for Tea Bags
If the legend of Tea began in 2737 BCE, the story of Tea Bags only came about in 1908. It was a New Yorker named Thomas Sullivan who began sending his customers samples of Tea in small silken bags.
Mistaking the bags for part of the product, people started to brew the leaves within its packaging! Yet it proved to be a triumph - and eventually caught on!
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the world of Tea without first thinking of Tea Bags. As such, it’ll likely come as little surprise to hear that using these pockets of goodness is the most popular method of brewing.
More than one hundred years after its creation, however, and Tea Bags have changed dramatically. The idea has since developed, giving rise to a new phenomenon: Pyramid Tea Bags.
Since 1997, these pyramid-shaped wonders have adorned cups and mugs around the globe. Their seemingly inconsequential shape does, in fact, have a purpose, allowing up to 50% extra room for the Tea leaves to infuse. Could Pyramid Tea Bags be the future? It’s very, very possible.
UPDATE to The A to Z of Tea: In January 2020 The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company launched our Plastic Free Tea Bags.
Five Tea Bags to Try
U Stands for Uva Tea
A province in Sri Lanka, Uva has, for centuries, produced some of the finest-quality Ceylon Teas available. The region lies relatively close to Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, two equally prestigious Tea-growing districts. However, Uva remains one of the most remote areas of the country, as well as being the second-least populated.
Those who live here rely heavily on the local Tea industry to sustain their lives, with crops harvested at elevations of 900-1,500 metres. Exposed to winds created by northeast and southwest monsoons, Uva Tea is the product of distinctive climatic conditions.
Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we stock several types of Uva Tea. Our Garden of England Afternoon Tea, for example, includes leaves from this area. Alternatively, there is Hazelnut and Vanilla Tea, a Flavoured Black Tea with robust nutty and creamy notes. Whichever beverage you decide upon, expect to be pleasantly surprised by what Uva has to offer.
Five Uva Teas to Try
- Ceylon Orange Pekoe Uva
- Ceylon Tea Uva Broken Orange Pekoe BOP
- Ceylon Indulgashina Green Tea
- English Breakfast Tea BOP
- Napoleon Tea
V Stands for Vervain Tea
Vervain Tea is a Herbal Tea originating from the Verbena officinalis plant. Some know it as “Enchanter’s Balm”, “Herb of the Cross”, “Herb of Grace”, “Devil’s Medicine” and “Juno’s Tears”.
Others recognise it as “Pigeon Grass”, “Pigeon Weed”, “Simpler’s Joy”, “Wild Hyssop”, “Ironweed” or “Indian Hyssop”. Meanwhile, we simply call it delicious.
The Vervain plant is a slender perennial that can reach heights of up to one metre (three feet), producing pale lilac flowers. Historically, the ancient Egyptians believed that it came from the tears of their God, Isis. Centuries later, European druids, particularly in Ireland, used the herb to ward off evil spirits. Nowadays, people drink it for its earthy, astringent taste and Vervain Tea benefits.
But What is Vervain Tea good for? As it turns out, quite a lot. This particular beverage is antispasmodic, antipyretic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and diuretic. Studies suggest that it can improve sleeping patterns, as well as support kidney and liver health.
W Stands for White Tea
The fourth and final primary Type of Tea is White Tea. This is the least-processed and, as such, least-oxidised variety available - even over Green Tea! Contrary to popular belief, its name does NOT derive from the light liquor it produces. Rather, it comes from the silvery pekoe (hairs or dust) that grow on the unopened buds used in its making.
White Tea has an unmistakably mild, delicate, sweet flavour with slight grassy undertones. It is also exceptionally low in caffeine, making it an excellent choice for those looking to cut down.
Yet its taste and caffeine levels aren’t the only factors influenced by a lack of oxidation. Indeed, this limited processing ensures that it retains the vast majority of its antioxidants, too.
The most crucial antioxidant found in White Tea is that of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a chemical compound of unparalleled potential and one reason its become more popular, due to White Tea Benefits. Evidence indicates that EGCG can positively influence the skin, heart, liver and even your waistline!
Five White Teas to Try
- White Tea Bags
- White Peony Tea
- White Tea - China Pai Mu Tan Tea
- Ying Zhen Silver Needle Top Grade
- Pomegranate White Tea
X Stands for Xian Luo Tea
Believe it or not, there is, indeed, a type of Tea beginning with X - Xian Luo Tea! This particular infusion is a Black Tea known for its dark, slightly curled loose leaves. When brewed, it produces an alluringly pleasant dark red liquor, with sweet notes and a spicy aroma.
Xian Luo Tea comes from China’s Anhui province - one of the country’s best-producing regions. There are many factors to Anhui that significantly and most positively influence the taste and character and this delectable beverage.
Notably, the famous Yangtze river runs through its heart, while to the south lies the Huangshan Mountain range. It’s near these towering peaks, rising over 5,900 feet, that the Tea grows.
Growing conditions here are exceptional, with rich soils, a temperate climate and abundant rainfall levels. However, while Anhui has produced Green Tea for many hundreds of years, Black Tea production only dates back to the 19th century.
Yet what Xian Luo Tea lacks in age, it makes up in quality. Indeed, there is nothing quite like a cup of this invigorating brew first thing in the morning!
Y Stands for Yunnan Tea
The Yunnan province finds itself in southwest China. It’s a largely mountainous region with plenty of rainfall and a moderate climate, making for excellent Tea-growing.
Many recognise Yunnan as the “home of Tea”, with historians suggesting that the cultivation of Tea plants first took place here. Today, most know the area for producing high-quality Yunnan Black Tea.
This beautiful, iconic region started producing Black Tea only relatively recently, during the 1930s. Before then, Yunnan province was exclusively known for Green Tea.
However, in the wake of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), many Black Tea-producing provinces in the southeast became warzones. And as a result, Yunnan became a viable alternative.
Over 80 years later and Yunnan Black Tea has proven to be a tremendous success. Yet no beverage from this area has enjoyed quite the same prestige as that of Pu erh. Indeed, like a fine wine, Pu erh Tea only gets better with age.
It is one of the most oxidised varieties in the world, the product of wholly unique processing methods. Expect a mellow flavour and outstanding Pu erh Tea benefits with every sip.
Five Yunnan Teas to Try
- Yunnan Tea
- Yunnan Green Tea
- Pu erh Loose Tea
- Pu erh Special 3 Year Old Vintage Tea
- Yunnan China Black Tea Superior
Z Stands for Zhejiang Tea
Zhejiang is a coastal province in China known to some as the “land of rice and fish”. It is also, of course, a great location for producing delicious Zhejiang Tea. The area has a moist, subtropical climate and mineral-rich soil. These factors, in particular, contribute significantly to the taste and profile of the exceptional Green Tea produced here.
The most famous beverage from Zhejiang is, undoubtedly, Gunpowder Tea. This is a variety made from leaves shaped into small, round pellets - which unfurl in front of your eyes when brewed. There are several theories as to why it became known as “Gunpowder”.
The most likely suggestion, however, is that its pre-brewed appearance resembles the lead shots used in muskets.
Furthermore, there is Dragon Well Tea, a sweet, well-rounded infusion boasting a wholesome flavour with notes reminiscent of nuts and butter. It first originated from the Chinese village of Longjing. However, its popularity has since spread across the country and, indeed, the world.
Five Zhejiang Teas to Try
Over 1,000 Types of Tea Available Here
If this A-Z Tea guide hasn’t unearthed the right brew for you, why not browse through our vast selection online? Otherwise, visit our Pluckley-based factory shop, nestled within the beautiful Kentish countryside, and discover more about what we do face-to-face.
The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company pack every Tea, Tisane and Coffee fresh to order. This is our way of guaranteeing not only quality but also consistency.