And that's the tea, sis
Tea. Something that all generations can bond over, whether it’s drinking Earl Grey out of fine china or spilling the latest gossip among those you tolerate. It’s (arguably) a superior drink to coffee and with so many variations, there’s something for everyone. Here’s James Tapp’s guide to a few different types of tea you could be drinking, spilling or throwing in someone's face!
Ahhhh yes, Earl Grey, the tea of grandmothers. This tea owes its flavour to the addition of bergamot oil, making it one of the most loved yet also one of the most hated teas. It’s named after an English earl but it’s unknown exactly why the tea is named after him, however it seems to have stuck. Earl Grey gives you a slight citrusy-ness to your bog standard black tea and there’s also countless variations, from the vanilla Earl Grey cream to the smoky Earl Grey supreme. It’s a classic.
Possibly the most well-known tea known in Western culture. This tea is made with a blend of assam, ceylon and kenya. It’s a go-to for pretty much everyone, making it the bog standard tea in any Kiwi household, along with the good ol’ gumboot. While you can definitely get varying standards of quality, nothing is more basic than a cuppa of this, though no one said basic was bad. With a splash of milk and some sugar as you please, it’s easy to see why people can drink upwards of four cups of tea a day with ease.
Matcha is possibly the most interesting tea on this list. Originating from China, this ground up green tea is a fine powder used in traditional tea ceremonies in Japan and can be found in a number of foods as well. This includes ice cream, mochi and soba noodles. It’s now made its way to the Western world, with matcha lattes probably being its claim to fame. The real reason matcha is so special is in its growth. It’s grown in the shade and this increases the caffeine levels, as well as theanine, a compound that reduces stress.
Hearing about this tea might be the single most important thing you'll learn this year. An unroasted tea from South America, yerba mate packs a similar punch to coffee. Not only is it jam packed with caffeine, but there’s a number of (potential) benefits with it, including weight loss. This tea has so much to offer. Some like to add sugar to it and you can even get it as a soft drink in South America. With a flavour similar to green tea, yet with a bit more caffeine, you’ll want to make sure not to have too much!
Not many people know that this health craze is actually tea. Most hear the word "bacteria" and it seems to be enough to put them off. Unlike matcha, where there’s been some research about the health benefits, kombucha doesn’t have the same backing. Instead, it appears to have the opposite.* If you decide to make this at home, it could be a deadly decision. This is because it’s made through fermentation and over fermentation can cause health problems, as well as the possibility for harmful pathogens to contaminate your bubbly drink. But don’t let this put you off; with so many flavours available, as well as containing very little sugar, this is the tea that isn’t really tea at times.
*potential for death