A drizzle eventually turning into downpour, book in hand gradually demystifying the plot and a cup filled with perfectly brewed tea makes for an ideal tranquil setup. Especially for ones who are big time loners .
While many of us can endure bad weather and horrible reads, we just can’t take a badly-brewed cuppa tea.
Ask a tea enthusiast any time about the recipe to an enriching cup of tea that has it all to take you over by its delightful aroma.
He or she would call your attention for many things – the type of tea, temperature of water in the teapot, time of steeping, re-steeping, if at all you must re-steep a particular tea variety, choice of method for re-steeping and the like.
That being said, if you yearn for those perfect brews, you certainly need to understand the classes of tea and how each type must be prepared.
If we talk about the classic teas that are made from tea leaves, all are harvested from the same plant known as Camellia sinensis. Be it Black tea, Oolong tea, Green tea or White tea, all originate from the same leaf.
Then what makes each variety different from the rest? It is the processing method and not the tea plant that creates the difference in these tea varieties.
Let’s just make it a hell lot simpler and understand how processing method brings about that difference.
Unlike Black and Oolong tea, green tea is ‘not allowed to ferment’ while processing.
The tea leaves and buds are simply picked, dried for few hours, steamed or roasted, dried again and then stored in packaging containers, which is why they tend to retain more of teas natural antioxidants and have lesser caffeine.
The other types of teas such as herbal teas, root teas, spice teas, yerba mate are actually not teas as these do not contain tea leaves.
These are alternatives to classic teas that are flavored with flowers, fruits and spices. Since these ‘do not’ contain tea leaves, they have ‘no caffeine’.
Here’s an info-graphic that tells you all about the tea types, their preparation and things to keep in mind while helping yourself with a cup of tea the next time.
The tea sommeliers in India, some as old as twenty years in the industry, have introduced some of the finest classic teas, handmade teas and bespoke infusions to the tea enthusiasts of our country.
Keen on taking your tea sipping and tasting obsession to a whole new level? Here is a list of gourmet teas from India you must hinge on!
Anandini Himalaya’s Silver Needle Tea is a White Tea that is the most rare and delicate of teas produced from the first flushes of delicate, downy tea buds handcrafted one by one.
The tea, when brewed, gives a distinctive, fresh flavor with a subtle hint of sweetness to it. In comparison to the green tea, it is less oxidized and is rich in antioxidants that provides protection from a host of conditions.
Apart from classic teas, Anandini Himalaya also offers a range of Tisanes and infusions crafted from premium tea leaves, herbs, spices and flowers each one having a unique flavor and healing properties.
Price – 850 INR for 35 g
Availability – anandinihimalayatea.com
Marigold Green Tea is one of the best selling Tea blends at Tea Trunk founded by Tea Sommelier Snigdha Manchanda who curates finest teas of India and crafts them into unique blends using natural ingredients.
The blend is crafted using Marigold, lemongrass and organic green tea to give a brew that has a refreshing, balmy and floral taste to it.
The goodness of green tea in terms of high level of antioxidants and the curative properties of lemongrass oil is just perfect to improve digestion and compliment your detox regime.
Price – 400 INR for 100 gm Loose Tea
Availability – teatrunk.in
Milk Oolong leaves have a rich buttery taste, thanks to the method by which these are processed.
This hand rolled Oolong is dipped into milk and fermented to leave it with a creamy, buttery profile. And that’s the very reason why it’s called Milk Oolong.
It’s got a creamy, butter like aroma and has a bright yellow straw like appearance.
The very foundation of rich dairy notes allow Milk Oolong to treat your palette to a velvety, smooth buttery texture and impart a well-rounded long finish to the brew.
Take your tea indulgence to a whole new level by sipping and tasting Milk Oolong with munchies like cookies, biscuits and macaroons.
Price – Rs. 749 for 50 gms
Available At – tglteas.com
Halmari special summer black is a quintessential Assam tea – a perfect balance of malty, rich sweetness.
The rich taste of malt, dates and Asian Jamun impart a velvety mouthfeel with sharp notes of caramel, dates and wood adding way too much to your tea indulgence.
It contains medium caffeine and is best consumed hot.
Price – 799 INR for 100 gms
Available At – teabox.com
My Chai diaries came into existence in the year 2013 after Ami Bhansali’s several year stint of traveling within India.
Offering connoisseurs with tea blends from tea regions of China, India, Taiwan, South Africa, Japan and USA, these tea blends are appreciated for their rich aromas, pleasant tastes and smoothness of their flavors.
White Organic Tea from the house of My Chai Diaries features a perfect blend of four giant spices namely lemongrass, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, all these on a smooth white tea base.
Price – $18 for 8 Oz zip pouch
Available At – mychaidiaries.com
A fusion of fennel, star anise and liquorice, the Fennel Infusion flavored tea from the house of Dancing Leaf, a gourmet tea boutique that prepares tea brews by carefully picking teas, spices and herbs, provides a plethora of benefits to body, mind and soul.
With the richness of essential oil of fennel, antioxidants derived from star anise and the healing powers of liqourice, this flavored tea is perfect for improving your digestive health.
Price – 650 INR
Availability – dancingleaftea.com
With the memories of her childhood in the backdrop and an intent to preserve those scintillating old world experiences that head back to the pre – independence era, Radhika Chopra founded No. 3 Clive road in the year 2015.
This luxury brand serves connoisseurs not only with hand blended teas, but also high end letter pressed stationery and bespoke locally made accessories.
They’ve got an incredible collection of tea blends that puts together flowers, fruits, spices and classic teas from tea regions of Assam and Nilgiri.
Malabar Blend is a perfect concoction of black tea from southern gardens of Nilgiri and sweet – scented vanilla.
Black tea leaves impart dark color and an intense, aromatic flavor, bringing you the tastes from the Tropical South West of India.
Price – 1285.71 INR for 100 gms
Available At – threecliveroad.com
Gardner Street proclaims to be a gourmet tea brand that exists to experiment with high quality whole tea leaves, fruits, flowers and spices to craft healthy beverages that can be had way beyond the breakfast table.
With the very intent to introduce India, world’s second largest producer of tea, with the newer ways of savoring tea, Rashi Sanghvi took the onus and founded Gardner Street.
They have a tea collection ranging from signature, wellness, luxury to assorted sets.
One of the tea offerings is the Kashmiri Kahwa that combines Green Tea along with saffron, cinnamon, toasted almonds and rose petals, that leaves you reminiscing grama’s love and warmth.
Price – 500 INR for 50 gms
Available At – gardnerstreet.in
Known for health benefits like weight loss, healthy skin and keeping diabetes under check, Goodwyn Oolong Rose tea is an incredible blend of premium quality Oolong tea leaves and dried rose petals.
This is regarded as a traditional Chinese tea in which the tea leaves are withered in the presence of scorching sun, before these head for oxidation, curling and twisting.
These tea leaves are then combined with dried rose petals, that leaves us with a fragrant and sweet tasting tea.
Price – 749 INR for 100 gms
Available At – goodwyntea.com
A concoction of senna leaves, carrom, holy basil (tulsi) and star anise, the Happy Stomach Tea from Jugmug Thela, a purveyor of fine teas and gourmet coffees based in South Delhi, is a mild flavored herbal tea that helps in cleansing bowels, all thanks to the laxative properties that senna leaves offer.
Apart from easing stomach disorders, this herbal infusion relaxes and calms the digestive system and also helps in relieving anxiety and stress given the medicinal characteristics that the varied herbs offer.
Price – 500 INR
Available At – jugmugthela.com
A specialty tea maker that creates new-age tea blends of varying aromas and flavors, LaPlant Beverages offers a range of green teas blended with varied aromas and flavors including lemon, tulsi, honey and lemon, ginger and mint.
Of all the green tea blends, the top rated green tea is the one blended with natural mint. The infusion delivers delicious taste along with a soothing aroma that not only rejuvenates senses bul also promotes overall well being.
The concoction, when brewed, instantly turns into bright greenish yellow infusion and delivers strong mint flavor and aroma just perfect for a great tea experience.
Price – 150 INR
Available At – laplanttea.com
The Darjeeling Autumnal First Flush Tea from the house of Aap Ki Pasand is one of all time favorites of the tea connoisseurs who have been a regular to its Cafe located on Netaji Subhash Marg, New Delhi.
The black tea leaves are rich in antioxidants that help in reducing stress and stimulating metabolism. The floral aroma adds to the authentic tea experience for which the brand is known from past four decades, given the extensive research undertaken and the knowledge that the Master Taster Sanjay Kapur and his team has.
Price – USD 25
Available At – aapkipasandtea.com