Originating in China, tea has always played a large role in Asian culture across the globe. In fact, tea is the second most popular drink behind water! Here in the United States, a slew of Asian tea houses have begun to open their doors, eager to educate Americans on their beloved beverage. While there are over 3,000 varieties of tea available, there are four main categories of tea that you can expect to find at your local tea house.
1. Black tea
Black tea is the strongest of the four types and contains the highest level of caffeine because it is the most oxidized. The process of oxidization and fermentation turns the leaves a dark red or black hue. Some common types of black tea are English breakfast tea, Earl Grey and Darjeeling.
2. White tea
White tea is the rarest type of tea in the world as its picking season is only a couple of weeks out of the entire year. The least processed of the bunch, it comes from a young tea bud giving it a delicate flavor.
3. Green tea
Most known for its antioxidants and health benefits, green tea is the least oxidized of the four types and is prepared by pan roasting the leaves. Its flavor tends to be more earthy and sweet. Green tea is quickly growing in popularity in the United States because of its cancer fighting and immune boosting properties.
4. Oolong tea
Oolong is more of a cross between black tea and green tea and means “dragon tea” in Chinese. Oxidized slightly less than black tea, oolong’s flavor is similar to green tea but a bit stronger.
If you’re looking for things to do in your town on the weekend, consider checking out your local Asian tea house particularly when they have a cultural event going on such as the tea ceremony. Not only will you learn about Asian culture and history, but you’ll also get to sample a variety of tasty teas! It’s a unique experience that everyone should try at least once.