If you’re looking to get into the world of tea, you’ve made a great decision. I’m a huge tea lover (HUGE)! The caffeine high is slower and steadier (at least that is how it feels to me). Tea has tons of antioxidants and the flavor possibilities are endless. I’ve put together a small guide to help you start your tea collection. Hope it helps.
Black Tea Flavor Profiles
Assam: It hails from Northeast India and has a lovely reddish hue. It is usually full bodied with a hint of malt. This is a wonderful breakfast tea.
Ceylon: This tea from Sri Lanka is also pretty full flavored but its color is more golden and the nose is a bit more elegant. I particularly like this for iced tea since it does not cloud up when iced.
Darjeeling: This is what you want if you feel like getting fancy. It hails from the foothills of the Himalayas (Northeast India). As most black teas, this one is also full bodied, but it has more muscat-like flavors.
Earl Grey: This one is my favorite. The Earl is made by blending various black teas (including Darjeeling) and then it is flavored with Bergamot. Most people think of this as a great afternoon tea, but I love this as a way to start my mornings.
English Breakfast: This is a tea made of Sri Lankan and Indian black teas. By a rule it is brawny with powerful flavors and floral notes. While I am not a fan of milk, this tea lends itself nicely to it.
Keemum: This black Chinese tea is a bit sneaky. It has a pretty potent nose, but the mouth is more gentle than one would expect. If you’re a fan of iced teas, this is a great one to experiment with since it’s a bit more fruity than the others.
Lapsang Souchong: This one is named after its appellation in China (the Lapsang district). The leaves in this tea should be larger. On the mouth it tends to be smokier and sometimes has a minty element to it as well. I recommend that you spend a little more on this type of tea. When they are cheap, they can be brash and too smoky. The good ones are delightful and make for a great afternoon treat.
Green Tea Flavor Profiles
Gunpowder: This Chinese green tea is easily recognizable by its green-gray curly leaves. The tea’s color is more of a straw yellow-green. The flavors can be a bit nutty and pungent.
Sencha: This Japanese tea is one of my favorites in summer. The color is light and on the nose and mouth it is fresh and lively. It reminds me of freshly cut grass on a summer day and fresh veggies.
White: Think of white tea as the baby of the family. It is made from new buds that are picked before they even open. They are allowed to wither (removing moisture). This tea is subtle and elegant.
December 30th, 2011