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10 Teas to Try Before You Die

Updated on September 30, 2015

10 Teas to Try Before You Die

I love tea, just as millions of other people 'round the globe do.

It's been the beverage-of-choice the world over for millenniums.

Just recently tea has started to take off, and get bigger than it's ever been, as more and more health benefits are discovered. Tea can help you:

-lose weight

-perk up and

-sleep. It can also aid in

-digestion, supplement the

-vitamins you're missing, and

-replace coffee without all the toxic effects.

Also, so many flavours are offered now. Walk into a specialty tea store and you'll find you can get flavours like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, even candy and marshmallows. Tea is really starting to sound like the perfect drink!

But sometimes the older - and more beneficial to your health - teas go unnoticed by the public, in favour of all these flavoured and herbal ones.

This page is here to inform the budding tea enthusiast of TEN teas that they ought to try during their lifetime; if not, they're missing out! If you're a tea enthusiast like I am, read on!

So What's So Great About Tea?

You may say "yeah, yeah. I know tea is good for me and all that. But I've tried it all - tea is boring!"

Perhaps you've grown up with a family like mine, that had plain orange pekoe with every meal. Maybe you've explored the basics like green tea, earl grey, and chamomile, and figured that's as far as you should go. You may have even tried a variety of herbal teas featuring a variety of fruit, like lemons, oranges and berries, or perhaps some nice seasonal teas like pumpkin spice for autumn, or mint and gingerbread for Christmas.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with those teas, in fact, I've tried all of those listed above. They're all quite drinkable, all are delicious and beneficial to health. I'd easily recommend any of them to a non-tea drinker. What I am trying to say is this:

There is more beyond the basics, my friend.

If every tea you drink can be found on this list, then it's time to move on.

On beyond the tea bag, my friend. I want to introduce you to a variety of teas that just might blow you away. Most of these teas are best enjoy as loose leaf - in fact, some of them are rare to find in traditional tea bags. If the idea of brewing loose tea leaves is foreign to you, then you needn't be afraid to jump right in.

You will need a few things, like a tea infuser, and perhaps a good teapot. These are easily picked up at most department stores, or perhaps even dollar stores. If you'd like, you can find these items online as well. I've posted a few links to them on Amazon below, if you'd like to have a look at their selection of tea accessories.

Now, On To the Tea

Now, I will list for you, the

TEN TEAS TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE.

These aren't in any particular order, it isn't a top ten. Each of these teas is wonderful, and worth a try.

For each section, I will have a description, brewing instructions, personal opinion, and links to Amazon in case you intend to purchase some of these fantastic drinks.

Read on, future tea aficionado!

#1: YERBA MATE

YER'-buh MAH'-tay

What Is It?

A very popular tea in South America, this tea actually comes from a small tree, rather than a herb plant. Natives of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay have been brewing this tea for over a hundred years, well aware of it's specific benefits.

Yerba mate firstly is known for its high caffeine content, as it is a great alternative to coffee, without all the negative effects. The market for Yerba Mate in South America is enormous, equal to that of soft drinks and vastly dominating coffee and other teas. Traditionally, mate is drank from a hollowed-out gourd, through a metal straw known as a bombilla. These days however, it is available in many different forms.

Mate can also be considered a dessert tea, and is flavoured with lemon, chocolate, vanilla, and others all over the world. Again, it can be enjoyed many ways, but it is quite the experience having your Yerba Mate with the traditional gourd and bombilla straw.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1.5 teaspoon

Temp: 98 C/208 F - almost boiling

Steep Time: 5-7 minutes

Caffeine Rating: HIGH

What Do YOU Think of It?

I very much enjoy yerba mate, and keep a box of basic tea bags of it, flavoured with clover, lemon and honey. Just as promised, it's an excellent (and tasty!) alternative to coffee. Of course, the loose varieties are by far better than the bagged versions. I would recommend it to anyone.

Video: Preparing Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate should be prepared in a special way as well, to be drank traditionally. Have a look at this video for details.

Buy Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate Sampler
Yerba Mate Sampler

Loose Yerba Mate to try in your favourite infuser or teapot.

 
ARGENTINA MATE GOURD YERBA TEA WITH STRAW BOMBILLA 0035 by Mategreen
ARGENTINA MATE GOURD YERBA TEA WITH STRAW BOMBILLA 0035 by Mategreen

Try Yerba Mate the authentic way, with a gourd and bombilla!

 

#2: GENMAICHA

jen-MAI'-kuh

What Is It?

"Genmai" literally means brown rice, which is exactly what flavours this otherwise normal green tea ("Cha" means "tea" in Cantonese, by the way. That's why many tea names end in "cha"). Brown rice is roasted and "popped" much like corn, and added to the tea. Due to this, and the nutty, roasted flavour this tea has, it has become known as "popcorn tea".

This tea is quite popular in Japanese and sushi restaurants all over the world, and is enjoyed by many. However, back during the time of its conception, it was known as a "poor man's tea" in Japan. Brown rice was roasted and added simply as filler to drop the cost of the tea, not intended to flavour it.

Though the idea of having a popcorn-flavoured drink may not appeal to some, Genmaicha has a sensational nutty flavour that quickly grows on people.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1 teaspoon

Temp: 80 C/176 F - not quite boiling

Steep Time: 3-5 minutes

Caffeine Rating: Low

What Do YOU Think of It?

I first tried genmaicha at our local sushi restaurant, where they automatically bring you a fresh pot when you sit down, without either party asking. The smell immediately drew me in, and I became a big fan. I always look forward to a couple of pots of it during any sushi outing.

I have attempted to make this tea at home, by popping brown rice in a frying pan, and combining this with sencha green tea. It worked, believe it or not, but wasn't nearly as good as the restaurant version.

Davidson's Tea Bulk, Genmaicha, 16-Ounce Bag
Davidson's Tea Bulk, Genmaicha, 16-Ounce Bag

Bag of loose Genmaicha, to try it out suited to your own taste!

 

#3: LAPSANG SOUCHONG

LAP'-sang SOO'-chong

What Is It?

This is perhaps one of the most epic teas in existence. One because it is actually the first black tea in history, secondly for its amazing, unique flavour, and lastly because it has a story behind it. The legend goes as follows:

"The tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi Mountain. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines."

Due to that method of roasting the tea leaves, the result is a tea with a strong, "smokey" flavour, compared to that of Barbecue, campfire, or even malt whisky. This flavour actually comes from a complicated compound not found in any other type of tea, involving pine smoke and much more.

This tea is definitely not for everyone, as it can be quite strong with its smokey taste. It has been touted as a "manly tea" because of the flavour.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1.5 teaspoon

Temp: 100 C/212 F - boiling

Steep Time: 3-5 minutes - though this tea gets strong fast

Caffeine Rating: Medium

What Do YOU Think of It?

Lapsang is a relatively new tea to me, introduced by a friend. I noted that it smelled slightly like bacon, which made me curious about whether or not bacon tea exists. Apparently it does.

I found bacon tea online, but also found out that it is nothing more than Lapsang Souchong with bacon bits mixed in! So I decided to try it myself, mixing basic, bulk food store bacon bits into my loose Lapsang - and guess what?

It's incredible. If you do get yourself some Lapsang Souchong, and feel daring enough, add some bacon bits to the tea and try it out!

Video: About Lapsang Souchong

More details about this awesome tea, if you'd like to listen!

Buy Lapsang Souchong

Twinings Lapsang Souchong Tea, 20 ct
Twinings Lapsang Souchong Tea, 20 ct

Twinings Lapsang - basic but quality way to try Lapsang Souchong.

 

#4: ROOIBOS

ROY'-boss

What Is It?

South African "red bush" tea, rooibos is becoming popular for its numerous benefits. It is said to be a calming tea, which assists in relieving nerve tension, allergic reactions, and indigestion. Even more important, studies have indicated that rooibos contains quite a lot of antioxidants, but no caffeine.

Some would say that rooibos has a similar taste to root beer; indeed, it is quite naturally sweet. It is widely considered one of the most dessert-like teas, and it is commonly mixed with vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and other sweet flavours. Besides this, rooibos is also made into lattés, cappuccinos, iced teas, and even liqueurs.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1.5 teaspoon

Temp: 100 C/212 F - boiling

Steep Time: 5-7 minutes

Caffeine Rating: NO Caffeine

What Do YOU Think of It?

I'll be honest with you, rooibos is not a favourite of mine. Though I like root beer, brown sugar and many other sweet things, there's just something about rooibos that I don't find appealing. I think it has a slight metallic aftertaste. Of course, this is only my opinion. Rooibos is definitely a popular tea, and if you've never tried it at all, it's worth at least one try. Though I'm not entirely fond of rooibos, I would drink it again. There's lots of flavours I haven't tried, after all.

Video: Health Benefits of Rooibos

If you want to know more about the benefits of rooibos, have a look at this video by Being Health TV.

Buy Rooibos

Rooibos Teas Sampler
Rooibos Teas Sampler

Sample of four different flavours of Rooibos!

 

#5: OOLONG

OOO'-long or WOO'-long

What Is It?

Oolong is more of a type of tea then a single brew. It is made using an intense drying and oxidization process, then the leaves are curled and twisted, which gives many oolong teas a unique appearance. The tea can either be wrapped into small beads with a "tail", or more traditionally, into long, curled leaves. This tea really can't be labelled as "black", "white" or "green" tea, it's really somewhere in between them all, making oolong its own category.

As stated, this is more of a type of tea, with a variety of tastes. It can be light and sweet, with flavourings like honey and fruits, or it can be heavy and have a roasted or woody taste. Usually the amount of oxidization and fermentation in oolong is what makes it "heavier". In addition to this, oolong is another tea that is popular with flavourings like citrus, vanilla, fruits, and others. There are also other variations, such as the creamy Quangzhou oolong.

Oolong offers a world of its own tea, as it is a category rather than simply a single variety. If you decide to try it out, you'll find there are many varieties.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1.5 teaspoon

Temp: 94 C/201 F - almost boiling

Steep Time: 3-5 minutes

Caffeine Rating: Low

What Do YOU Think of It?

It's hard to really form an opinion on oolong tea in general; there are many kinds, and you may find that you love one, and dislike another. I personally enjoy the darker, "fuller" oolong teas that have that "woody" taste, rather than the lighter teas, which taste somewhat flowery.

Video: How to Brew Oolong

Some detailed directions to the perfect cup of oolong.

Buy Oolong

#6: MATCHA

MAH'-cha

What Is It?

Matcha is a very unique sort of tea. As you can see from the picture, it comes in a powered form, rather than leaves. It is actually a Japanese green tea that is stone ground to a fine powder, then is simply dissolved to make the tea.

The grinding, preparing and drinking of matcha are what makes up the "Japanese Tea Ceremony", which can date back as far as the early 16th century. The ceremony of preparing and consuming matcha was associated with spiritual awakening and self improvement. Today, ironically, studies have shown that matcha contains very high amounts of antioxidants (More so than berries, spinach, and orange juice, it is suspected), and also boosts metabolism and lowers cholesterol. On top of this, prepared matcha tea contains more catechins and chlorophyll than other green teas, likely because you are literally drinking the leaves with your tea.

Since this tea comes in a powder form only, it can be used for more than just tea - why not as an ingredient in a recipe? In fact, many things are now flavoured with matcha powder:

There are matcha cakes, cookies, breads, noodles, and ice cream, among many other items. Due to all the benefits of matcha, food that contains it could be considered health foods.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1 teaspoon or less, to personal taste

Temp: 74 C/165 F - not boiling

Steep Time: No steeping. Powder is mixed and foamed with a whisk. Can be stirred with a spoon if no whisk is available

Caffeine Rating: Medium

What Do YOU Think of It?

I was introduced to matcha only a few years ago, by my wife, and I was immediately impressed by the strong, grassy taste. It's much more potent than other green teas, but in a soothing way, not really bitter at all. One small downfall is that matcha powder can be expensive, because of the process involved. You can buy liquid matcha latte mixtures, which taste pretty close - notably one by Tazo, which we use at home - but it is processed and sweetened matcha powder, so the taste and experience is far from authentic. Still, it's a cheap alternative.

Video: Preparing Matcha

Proper matcha preparation for the best cup of matcha green tea!

Buy Matcha

Pure Matcha, Premium Ceremonial Grade Matcha
Pure Matcha, Premium Ceremonial Grade Matcha

Pure matcha powder for making matcha tea at home.

 
Matcha Whisk Set - Chasen (Green Tea Whisk), Small Scoop,Tea Spoon by BambooMN
Matcha Whisk Set - Chasen (Green Tea Whisk), Small Scoop,Tea Spoon by BambooMN

Authentic Matcha tea whisk to make a proper, foamy Matcha!

 

#7: BLOOMING TEA

BLOOM'-ing

What Is It?

Now this is a tea not so much for the benefits, for for the experience! Blooming teas start out as a small ball. The ball consists of one or more dried flowers wrapped in dried tea leaves. When the ball is placed in hot water, the tea leaves unwrap and the dried flowers "bloom" in the water, all while steeping your tea. Obviously, this is best done in a glass teapot, and with friends around to enjoy it with you!

Common flowers used in blooming teas include lily, jasmine, hibiscus, osmanthus, globe amaranth, and chrysanthemum, though there are some others. The tea leaves used to wrap the flowers can be white or green (Black would be too dark), so caffeine is generally low to medium.

Blooming tea offers a spectacle to behold, and unique twists on regular white or green tea with the flower mixed in. Everyone ought to experience this at least once in their lives!

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1 bloom. Pot can be refilled 3-4 times

Temp: 85 C/185 F - not boiling

Steep Time: 10+ minutes

Caffeine Rating: Low

What Do YOU Think of It?

As I said before in the section at the top of the page, I own the glass teapot that I have posted from Amazon. We got it as a set to try out some blooming tea, and it was definitely a worthwhile experience. Blooming tea tastes great, looks great, and is relatively inexpensive - a dozen of them might cost $12-$20, even online!

Video: Blooming Tea in Action

As the video says, take a deep breath. Listen to the beautiful music and watch as these flowers bloom in the teapot. They are just as majestic - and more so - in person!

Buy Blooming Tea

#8: DARJEELING

dar-JEEL'-ing

What Is It?

Named for the Darjeeling region in West India, this tea is already known around the world for its uniqueness. Darjeeling differs from most Indian teas because it is brewed from a small-leafed tea plant rather than the large leafed Assam plant.

This tea is fresh and strong, yet musky and rich. It has been called the "champagne of teas", and with good reason. The strong musky taste mixed with a faint spiciness makes this tea an excellent experience. Though Darjeeling is sold as a black tea, recently they have been making oolong and white varieties of it.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1,5 teaspoon

Temp: 98 C/208 F

Steep Time: 4-6 minutes

Caffeine Rating: Medium

What Do YOU Think of It?

I heard of Darjeeling tea only a few years ago, and it has become a staple in my tea cupboard. You can get Darjeeling in simple teabags, which is what I started with - and that's fine, it is still pretty good. Later however, I order a tin of loose Darjeeling online, and was very impressed. It has a very full taste, and goes well with many foods and desserts. I'd say start with the teabags if unsure, but if you want the full experience, try the loose leaf.

Video: Darjeeling Tea

A quick video describing the experience of Darjeeling tea, from an experienced Darjeeling connoisseur!

Buy Darjeeling

Twinings Of London Darjeeling Tea(pack Of 20) [Health and Beauty]
Twinings Of London Darjeeling Tea(pack Of 20) [Health and Beauty]

Twinings Darjeeling - great way to start trying this unique tasting tea! This is the first one that I tried.

 

#9: WHITE

white

What Is It?

Granted, white is more of a method of processing tea than an actual type. Basically, the buds of the tea plant are picked early - when they still have silvery-white "hairs" on them. They are simply withered in the sunlight, and do not go through the full oxidization and processing that oolong or black tea does. Despite the name "white", the tea itself is a pale yellow, not unlike a white wine.

White tea has historically been considered a luxury; tradition claims that it was once served only to Chinese royalty. Indeed the tea can be considered luxurious, with it's complex but sweet taste, and a faint hint of classic tea bitterness. Though it lacks the "oomph" of most black teas, white tea is definitely worth a try for its subtle but comforting taste.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1,5 teaspoon

Temp: 94 C/201 F

Steep Time: 4-5 minutes

Caffeine Rating: Medium

What Do YOU Think of It?

White tea is pretty versatile when adding delicate flavours like fruit and berries, spices, chocolate and other things. I enjoy this tea once in a while, and find that it is better than herbal flavoured teas, since it does still have that faint tea taste. To me, this tea is soft and easy-drinking, though most times I'd prefer something stronger. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys light and herbal teas.

Video: What is White Tea?

A video with the details about white tea.

Buy White Tea

#10: PU'ERH

POO'-aire

What Is It?

Arguably the most unique and least heard of tea on this page, pu'erh is definitely a different kind of tea altogether. Firstly, it is the only true "black" tea. What we call black tea in Europe and North America, China calls "red" or "brown". this tea is truly black, and can easily be mistaken for coffee.

Pu'erh can come as loose leaves or in bags, or in a special compressed form, making the tea into bricks or discs. Sometimes these are done in decorative ways, with writing, symbols and pictures in the mould. This is the average pu'erh tea brick, portioned for individual pots:

Each of those pieces can be reused between 10-20 times, which goes to show why pu'erh bricks can be worth a lot.

One big factor of pu'erh is whether the tea is "raw" or "ripe". Raw pu'erh tea is not processed or aged, and could technically be considered a green tea, rather than the characteristic black. Ripe pu'erh on the other hand is aged, and produces the dark, black tea with rich flavour. Like a fine wine, pu'erh tea can be aged for long periods, and older compressed tea bricks - such as those made in the 70s and 80s - can be worth a lot today.

However, regardless of how fancy this tea can get, one can still give the basics a try. Recently made, smaller tea discs are inexpensive.

How Should I Brew It?

*These are general guidelines, since different flavours may change brewing directions*

Amount: 1.5 teaspoon for loose, small chunk of brick to taste

Temp: 100 C/212 F - boiling

Steep Time: 4-8 minutes, depending on taste

Caffeine Rating: Medium

What Do YOU Think of It?

Funny story for you here: my mother-in-law once bought us what she though was a "coasted made of dry tea", for four bucks at a thrift store. Knowing my wife and I were both tea fans she figured we'd like it. At the time we didn't know about pu'erh tea, and all the writing on the box was in Chinese. We assumed it was a coaster of some kind, and actually used it to rest our teapots on several times.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered that it was not simply a disc of compressed tea, but an actual drinkable tea! Not to mention, it was worth a heck of a lot more than four dollars! Since we both enjoy a strong tea or coffee, this pu'erh was a special treat. We will definitely be buying it again, and would recommend it to others. Having the tea in a brick makes quite a spectacle for guests as well!

Video: Preparing Pu'erh

There are a number of steps to preparing a proper cup of pu'erh. Have a look at the video here!

Buy Pu'erh

Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Tea Tribute Gift Package "Longshi" (Year 2007,1Fermented Brick + 1 Unfermneted Brick)500g
Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Tea Tribute Gift Package "Longshi" (Year 2007,1Fermented Brick + 1 Unfermneted Brick)500g

If you want more of a special experience with Pu'erh tea, try this gift package!

 

Which of These Teas Do You Want to Try First?

Or if you have tried them, which is your favourite?

See results

In Conclusion

Thank you so much for visiting this page, and I hope it's enlightened you about some teas you've never had the chance to try, or given you some facts about some teas you've heard of. Again, I would definitely recommend trying each one of these teas at least once in your lifetime. I'd love to hear from anyone who has read over this page, and what you think of it. Feel free to leave a comment in the next section below.

As for me, I plan to have a seat with a hot cup of Darjeeling right now. Happy tea drinking, friends

Thanks again for reading my lens, every like will be appreciated and every comment answered.

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    • GLacharity profile image
      Author

      GLacharity 3 years ago

      @Zeross4: Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed this page! I've just spruced it up a little bit, and am considering writing a sort of sequel as well.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      You have done an amazing job on this article, It looks wonderful. I can tell you put a lot of time and effort into it. There were so many teas I'd never heard of, and several I'd like to try! Thanks