World of Tea Varieties

Fortunately for tea lovers, there is a whole world of tea varieties from which to choose. There are as many types and blends of tea as there are kinds of coffee and that is a delightfully high number.

For the lover of strong brew, there is the Assam black from India - a malty cup that can really wake you up in the morning. The Keemun black from the interior of China is a great alternative for those cold, rainy days of Fall. There are the smooth Ceylon blacks from Sri Lanka, that make a wonderfully relaxing drink at the end of a hard day. Ceylon is a former name for that country. Or one might try the renowned Darjeeling muscatel from high in the Himalayas.

Green Tea Varieties

But many prefer the gentler green tea varieties from throughout Asia. The Japanese generously provide a platter full of options. The Kukicha is a mix of leaves and twigs, just the thing to spice up an otherwise bland drink. China offers a Mandarin with hints of apricot that does that noble country proud.

World of Tea Varieties - Roiboos, Java Green and Keemun Black

From the Fujian province in China comes the Pi Lo Chun that no sensible tea lover will pass up the opportunity to test. The White Monkey should be sampled, if for no other reason than to try to guess what the name has to do with this delicious green.

Africa, Kenya in particular, is now one of the largest exporters of black tea in the world. But size doesn't always characterize the country best. The red Rooibos of South Africa is simply delicious. And taste is the final arbiter anywhere.

The Rooibos makes for an excellent drink plain or combined with a broad palette of additives. Vanilla, mango, berry even the perfumey Earl Grey are superb variations on an already first-rate brew.

Oolong Tea Varieties

But, oh, those Oolongs. Formosa Oolong may be the most well known and certainly ranks among the finest, but there are other Oolong tea varieties equally worth tasting. A Wu Yi from coastal China is a must. The Jasmine, with an aroma that brings memories of spring to the mind and delight to the soul, is mandatory.

Darjeeling, India produces an Oolong that does credit to one of the world's oldest and largest producers of fine tea. After all, not everything Asian is Oriental. Heavy domestic demand has limited the supply and therefore raised prices. But a tea this good is worth a little more.

Being provincial is a natural human impulse. But those with the daring to explore the world are the fountainheads of human progress. Join their ranks and sample some of the planet's fine tea varieties from across the seas.