Most Popular Types Of Tea Around The World
Are you tea obsessed or more of a casual drinker? Do you prefer a hot drink or a cold brew?
Whatever your answers are, tea is always an excellent choice of beverage for any time of day, regardless of where you are located in the world and how you are feeling. It’s also a drink that is steeped in rich history.
There is a detailed record of tea being used as a beverage in countries like China since 2,000 BCE. Over time, tea has become one of the most consumed drinks in the world by people of all ages.
But what makes tea so great, we hear you ask? Well, for starters, there are so many flavors and types of tea available—meaning it won’t be difficult to find a flavor that best appeals to you.
Each of the types of tea available on the market today also comes with a set of immense benefits that could work in favor of your physical and mental wellbeing. This differs depending on the type of tea you choose to drink.
Tea also contains lots of antioxidants that work amazingly to protect your body against free radicals which can play a significant role in cancer, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.
However, the sheer number of available types can be both overwhelming and confusing at times. You may struggle to know exactly what the difference is between the different types.
If you want to know more, here are some of the most popular types of tea around the world.
Types of Tea
5 Basic Types of Tea:
Black tea is perhaps the most common type of tea available on the market today! So when people speak about tea in western culture they are often referring to this type of tea.
Black tea comes from the same tea plant as other western teas. But thanks to a different fermentation process, it also has its fair share of unique qualities and delightful flavors that sets it apart from other types of tea.
Black teas brew strong and bold flavors and are often heavily oxidized. This drink is typically malty with hints of vanilla and chocolate, meaning you’ll enjoy every sip.
With an iconic deep color, a high caffeine content, and such a delicious taste all wrapped up in a single drink, it may not surprise you to find out that black tea can be quite addictive.
Some specific variations loved around the world include Keemun, Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Whatever type of black tea you choose to have, you can all but guarantee an enchanting and highly aromatic beverage!
Green tea is “true” which means it comes directly from the tea plant known as Camellia sinensis.
There are many varieties of this particular tea. However, these differ depending on the different strain of the tea plant that has been used, cultivation methods, growing conditions, how it is processed, and the time of harvest.
Green tea contains several tasting notes that are generally floral, spicy, savory, and fruity all at once. You may think this is an overwhelming taste profile but you couldn’t be more wrong! Again, the specific taste depends on the variation of the drink that you choose to have.
In addition to excellent taste benefits, green tea can also positively impact your health. Notably, it has been linked to promoting a healthy heart. It also retains polyphenols and antioxidants that may protect against cold and flu and boost immunity.
Popular types of green tea include Chun Mee, Bancha, Hojicha, and Matcha.
References to white tea can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) when it was only served to royals. Then, during the reign of Emperor Guangxu in the late 19th century, the popularity of white tea grew significantly.
As a result, white tea was then exported to meet the demands of tea lovers living in western nations. And we haven’t looked back since!
In terms of its flavor profile, white tea goes beyond bold to bring you a potent taste that is both sweet and gentle. This is because it undergoes the least processing. Each small sip will delight the senses and leave behind an elegant yet delicate aftertaste that sits on the tongue long after you’ve finished drinking it.
White tea is often produced in Nepal, yet the finest white tea is generally considered to come from the Fujian province of China.
Popular white teas include Bai Mudan, White Peony, Silver Needle, and Fujan New Craft.
Oolong is a traditional semi-oxidized tea that is complex to produce, meaning there are many more variations involved in each step than other teas.
It combines the qualities of multiple types of tea which gives it lots of health benefits. Notable benefits of consuming oolong tea include stress reduction and weight loss. Oolong tea also contains lots of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins—much like black and green teas.
Quality oolong tea can be steeped multiple times (up to around eight times) with each steep releasing bursts of additional yet equally as enticing flavor.
Some of the most famous oolong teas out there include Da Hong Pao, Dong Ding, Tieguanyin, Baozhong, and Jin Xuan.
Each type of oolong tea provides a different type of flavor. But one thing remains the same; its roundedness, complemented by notes including bold roasted flavors, milky creaminess, and sweet honey.
The finest and best tasting oolong tea can be found in China and Taiwan.
This is a fermented type of tea that was traditionally used as medicine in Asia. It is native to the Yunnan province in China and can be divided into two different styles: shou (cooked) and sheng (raw).
It is made from the stems and leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Pu-erh tea also features a rich and earthy flavor profile that is often aged to further increase the depth of the overall aromas and flavors.
Once the leaves have been oxidized, only a small amount of moisture remains. Leaves are then aged for months or even years. Color-wise, some variations of this type of tea will brew light while others will be much darker.
Lots of people drink this tea because it provides a whole load of health benefits. Not only does it increase energy thanks to a large amount of caffeine, but it is also said to aid in weight loss and promote a healthy heart.
This type of tea can also be purchased as loose tea or in compressed tea leaf cakes.
UK - The English Breakfast Tea
English Breakfast tea has become a kitchen cupboard staple in households throughout the country.
English Breakfast is a traditional blend of black tea that varies according to its manufacturer. It is also typically copper or dark brown yet this can change if milk is added.
This tea was designed for consumption in the morning alongside a hearty yet traditional English breakfast to give its drinker a boost. However, it can be consumed at any time of day and with any meal (or consumed by itself, the choice is yours!)
With a strong flavor that is arguably one of the best in the world and a moderate amount of caffeine, sitting down with a bold-tasting cup of English Breakfast tea is a great way to unwind.
The leaves are sourced from Assam, East Africa, and Ceylon, and are then combined to produce this hearty brew that is well-loved by people everywhere.
Overall, this popular blend is extremely rich which means it can be easily enjoyed by adding milk and sweeteners (including sugar). However, a quality English Breakfast tea can be quite smooth, meaning it can then be enjoyed without additional flavors.
Ireland - The Irish Breakfast Tea
Irish Breakfast tea combines several black teas to create its distinctive robust flavors. It is most often a combination of Ceylon and Assam teas which give it a signature malty taste.
These tea leaves are sought from Rwanda, Kenya, and India. It has been said that the African leaves are what contribute to making a delicious yet highly refreshing breakfast tea drink.
It is one of the most popular blended teas and is extremely popular in tea culture. Irish tea culture began in the 18th century after tea was initially transported into the country from China. To this day, Irish Breakfast tea remains a countrywide favorite.
Dairy products are a large part of the Irish economy, which is a big reason why so many people will drink this tea with milk. This is also because of its strength. Like English Breakfast tea, it can also be consumed black, with honey or sugar.
As Irish Breakfast tea is black, it typically has higher caffeine content than white, oolong, or green teas. If brewed correctly, it will be red.
Though it’s called “breakfast tea” it can be consumed anywhere and at any time of day.
UK - Earl Grey
As one of the best-known tea blends on the market, Earl Grey tea needs no introduction! It has been associated with royals and has also become a staple at a variety of high-profile events. This includes meetings between the heads of state.
This is a quintessentially British tea that features a traditional black tea base infusion, including Darjeeling, Keemun, and Assam. It is also then flavored with bergamot oil which gives it a distinctive tangy yet floral flavor.
This type of oil is derived from the bergamot citrus fruit typically found in Morocco, Italy, and Algeria. Other bases that are used include oolong, green tea, and rooibos.
All resulting citrus, floral, and brisk flavors mean that this tea is a delight first thing in the morning or as the last thing you consume at night. These contrasting flavors make the beverage a distinctive tea that is beloved by many.
Earl Grey tea has long been popular and has been noted for its variety of health benefits from digestive health to heart health.
Russia - Russian Caravan Tea
The Russian Caravan tea is a heady blend of Lapsang Souchong and a classic black tea like China Keemun. It is generally described as being a more full-bodied tea that often has a rich and smoky flavor thanks to its blend.
Depending on the blend, the Russian Caravan might contain little amounts of oolong tea. Some varieties of this blend also use Yunnan black tea instead of Oolong for a stronger, copper-colored tea with a mellow aftertaste.
It has a signature smoky and sweet flavor that is said to come from the campfires that were lit throughout the six-month-long trade journey from Europe to Asia via Russia. These are balanced out by the earthy flavors of a classic cup of black tea.
Because of this, it can be an acquired taste. For some tea drinkers, however, Russian Caravan Tea is the essence of coziness.
Russian Caravan tea has many benefits. Not only is it high in antioxidants and great for your skin, but it can also help to reduce inflammation and soothes headaches.
Morocco - Mint Tea
There is always a time for tea while in Morocco!
Moroccan mint tea is likely the most famous emblem in the country. Everyone is aware of it and can appreciate the taste, but the process of how it is made remains a complete mystery.
Mint Tea is as important to Moroccans as Earl Grey tea is for Britons, and Green Tea is for the Chinese. Like many other types of tea, Mint Tea can be served at any time of day and is an excellent accompaniment to both savory and sweet foods.
Mint Tea contains simple ingredients such as water, sugar, fresh mint, and gunpowder tea. Gunpowder tea is a type of green Chinese tea where each individual leaf has been rolled into a small pellet. After these rounded pellets are steeped in water, they will expand in size to become surprisingly large.
Moroccan Mint Tea is typically served hot in colorful glasses, but it is equally as nice as a cold brew during the summer. It’s really up to your personal taste.
Moroccan Mint tea also contains menthol. This is a well-known analgesic and anti-inflammatory that works to soothe the respiratory tract. So if you find yourself struggling to catch your breath or have blocked sinuses, a hot cup of Moroccan Mint tea might be exactly what the doctor ordered!
India - Chai
Despite having limited to no popularity among locals when it was first grown, Indian Chai tea (proper name: masala chai) has quickly become one of the most famous exported teas in the world.
It is deliciously spiced and also milky, meaning it has the potential to cool you down even when the drink itself is piping hot. This spiced drink is usually prepared by adding milk and boiling water to tea and spices which gives its signature strong flavors. It is then usually sweetened with sugar.
Specific recipes for chai tea vary across continents, towns, cultures, and families. The traditional ingredients used in this spiced tea blend are usually the same: black tea mixed with bold spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. You can also spice up Chai tea using fennel and bay leaves.
Chai tea is a prime source of antioxidants including theaflavins and catechins. These actively work to fight off oxidative stress and also tend to play a large role in the prevention of cancer and many other conditions.
However, this sweet taste has little to nothing in common with the origins of Indian chai.
China - Green Tea
Green tea is a non-oxidized tea that can be characterized by its herbaceous notes and its striking bright green coloring. It’s consumed all over the world but has its origins in China.
Chinese green tea is made using the tea leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. However, each cup will differ in its exact origin, harvesting, cultivation, and production process. Some of the most well-known and beloved examples of this tea include Gunpowder and Longjing.
Thanks to such a wide variety of this tea being made, there is a large flavor spectrum that covers anything from grassy and buttery to savory and smokey. You’ll never be able to guess exactly how a specific cup will taste!
Green tea is also commonly used in blends or flavors. Thanks to so many existing varieties of green tea, its flavor profile is often quite complex. Generally, you can expect to taste vegetal, fresh, floral, and grassy elements (as individual flavor profiles or mixed.)
Aside from a unique flavor, Chinese green tea can also contribute to ensuring a whole host of health benefits for you. This includes aiding in the prevention of cancer, helping anti-aging, and losing weight.
Yunnan, China - Pu-erh Tea
While you can age several different kinds of tea, there is nothing more desired than a tea steeped in rich history with thousands of years of hard-core brewing in the past.
Also known as vintage or aged tea, Pu-erh is a renowned type of tea that is still exclusively produced in the Yunnan province of China to this day. However, there are other provinces including Guangdong and Hunan that work to produce similar types of aged tea.
Pu-erh tea is partially fermented and looks similar to black tea in terms of its character. Good quality Pu-erh appeals to coffee enthusiasts, pairs well with decadent desserts, and also works as a digestif after consuming a heavy meal.
Leaves are harvested, harvested, pan-fried, or steamed to stop oxidation, and are then correctly shaped and fully dried to get their full flavor. This tea brews a dark brown-black color and has a full body with an earthy, rich, and an acquired overall taste.
These drinks contain pretty high levels of caffeine which equals that of a cup of black tea. This is about half of the caffeine present in a generic cup of coffee.
Japan - Matcha Tea
This trendy form of green tea has been consumed in Japan for centuries. However, it has recently moved into the mainstream with an increased number of matcha lattes, shots, teas, and even matcha-based desserts appearing in coffee shops and grocery stores around the world.
Matcha is a special form of green tea. Traditional green tea involves infusing leaves into hot water, and then throwing them away, whereas matcha involves drinking the leaves themselves.
As a result, its leaves can be turned into a fine powder that can be added to water to create a much stronger taste than “normal” tea. And remember, a little can go a long way!
Many people say that matcha has a creamier and generally sweeter taste than regular green tea. However, it may also be quite bitter and have a vegetal almost grassy taste and smell. This is especially true if you use a lot of the powder.
Matcha contains the nutrients from the entire tea leaf, which results in a greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants than typically found in green tea.
Studies of matcha and its components have unearthed a variety of benefits, showing that it can help protect the liver, promote heart health, and even aid in weight loss.
China - Jasmine Tea
Jasmine Tea has a green tea base that is then scented with the aroma of jasmine blossoms. Sometimes it features a base of black or white tea instead of green tea, with a resulting flavor that is sweet and highly fragrant.
Different types of Jasmine tea are made with different variations of green tea. The best tasting Jasmine teas have a large ratio of tea buds to leaves and will have a much more delicate flavor than those made with larger leaves and far fewer buds.
When drinking Jasmine tea, make sure to enjoy its soothing aroma and gentle aftertaste. But if you find it not to your tastes, you can try a different type of Jasmine tea, shorten your steeping time, or can even lower the temperature of your steeping.
A well-steeped Jasmine tea will be clean and light, with a beautiful aroma and a resulting aftertaste much like a fine perfume.
Drinking Jasmine tea may also provide you with the same type of health benefits that you’d get from drinking green tea by itself.
Ancient Rome and Egypt - Chamomile Tea
Simply put, chamomile tea has remained a popular tea drink since ancient times with no signs of slowing down.
Whether it is used for its fragrance, flavor profile, or relaxing properties, Chamomile tea has a rich history that cannot be questioned. It plays an important part across many continents and is a sacred part of several cultures too.
The flowers of the plant and the buds are usually harvested and then dried to make Chamomile tea. This process is only undertaken as the flowers begin to open. In Egypt, flowers are picked using a chamomile rake or by hand every seven to ten days.
Ancient Egyptians dedicated Chamomile tea to their Gods because of its medicinal properties, which they believed would help cure ailments.
The Romans, on the other hand, used it as incense and also sipped on bitter Chamomile to utilize all of its healing properties. Notably, it was once used in salves, creams, tea, and additional beverages.
Nowadays, chamomile tea is an effective household elixir that can be used to relax the mind and induce deep sleep. It has been said that drinkers of this particular type of tea develop feelings of calm and general wellbeing.
Taiwan - Oolong Tea
Drinking tea is a huge cultural element in many Asian countries with many business associates and friends often choosing to meet over a cup of tea. Oolong tea is largely consumed in Taiwan and China.
Oolong is neither black nor green tea and instead falls into a separate category thanks to its partial fermentation. However, it may end up sharing characteristics of black or green tea depending on the methods of the tea master during the creation process.
Using artisanal shaping techniques, oolong teas are often twisted, curled, or rolled into thin strands or tight balls. Again, this depends on the approaches of the tea master who is making the tea.
Rolling is a crucial part of processing oolong. It can have an impact on the color, aroma, and general appearance of the leaves of the final product. And, depending on when and how the leaves are rolled, the tea master can influence the overall taste of the tea’s final flavor.
Though oolong tea only accounts for around 2 percent of global tea consumption, it has various benefits for any drinker. It is said to lower cholesterol levels, contribute to weight loss, and prevent dental issues.
South America - Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a herbal tea. Also commonly known as “mate,” Yerba Mate is widely popular in many parts of its native South America. And like black tea, it contains a significant amount of natural caffeine—more than a “normal” cup of tea, but less than a coffee.
Yerba Mate tea isn’t supposed to be a quick caffeine fix that you drink within a couple of minutes. Instead, it is meant to be topped up with hot water constantly for a couple of hours.
The twigs and leaves of the yerba mate plant are usually dried over a fire, and then steeped in hot water to create this type of herbal tea. There’s no specific way to drink this type of tea, which means it can be served either hot or cold.
Yerba Mate tea is traditionally drunk from a hollowed-out shell of a gourd (a fruit). Currently, this tea is made and then served in stainless steel, ceramic, wooden, or silicone gourd-like vessels. This is a nod to tradition while also still being highly functional.
Yerba Mate tea is said to aid in weight loss, treat headaches, and even relieve fatigue.
South Africa - Rooibos
Rooibos is a popular cup of tea that has been consumed in the Cederberg mountain region, South Africa, for over 300 years.
Rooibos tea is usually made by cutting and then bruising the stems and leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, fermenting them, and then leaving them to dry naturally under the heat of the sun. This process gives these leaves their characteristic reddy-brown color.
Despite having no links with traditional green or black tea, rooibos can be enjoyed similarly. Feel free to add milk and sugar, or drink it completely naturally. Whatever suits your palate the most!
Rooibos also contains a rich antioxidant content. These protective compounds can help to protect against lots of free radical damage that may lead to conditions including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Thanks to extremely low caffeine levels, rooibos tea can be consumed at any time of the day. This makes it an excellent caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea.
And remember the longer you leave the tea to infuse, the more robust the flavor will be. Aim to leave it for 10 minutes to promote the optimal bold antioxidant-rich brew.
That concludes this article about the most popular types of tea around the world today.
Though there appears to be a large variety of tea flavors in this list, it is merely a small fraction of the overall tea flavors that are currently being crafted all around the world.
Thanks to evolving taste palates and an ever-developing interest in creating unique taste experiences for people to enjoy, the tea industry is booming now more than ever before.
So whether you prefer a fruitier tasting beverage or one with more of a grounding earthy flavor, there is no shortage of delicious tea out there for you to sample! Though this is often a good thing, it can also be difficult to narrow down exactly which tea around the world is the absolute best.
As long as you remember that taste will always be a subjective opinion that varies from person to person, you’ll have a great time trying out and experimenting with different flavors.