This Saturday (April 21) is National Tea Day so what better time to curl up on your La-Z-Boy chair with a cuppa?
In Britain, we drink 165 million cups of tea a day. But although as a nation we drink a lot of our favourite hot beverage, most of us will stick with our tried and tested blend of black tea mixed with milk and possibly a spoon or two of sugar.
Drinking tea is a great way to relax and unwind. The Health Council of the Netherlands recommends drinking between three and five cups a day, claiming this can lower blood pressure and reduce the risks of diabetes and stroke.
But if you’re looking for something a bit different, why not let your tastebuds get acquainted with a more unusual variety? And with more than 1,500 types of tea in the world, there is plenty to choose from.
Here are five cuppas you probably haven’t tasted before:
Hailing from the Yunnan mountains in China, pu-erh may not sound very appetising but this fermented black tea is becoming increasingly popular. With a rich and earthy taste, the Chinese have been drinking this tea for centuries. A cup of pu-erh is believed to make the drinker more mentally alert and the caffeine certainly means it might give you an energy boost. This type of tea is valued by Chinese herbalists who claim it has a number of health benefits from losing weight and lowering cholesterol to aiding digestion and providing a source of antioxidants.
This fragrant white tea is made using only the finest leaves, which are then laid under a bed of fresh jasmine flowers. It is produced in China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces and had a delicate and refreshing flavour. White tea leaves are hand-picked at a young age and handled with care as they are rarer and more expensive than green or black tea. This lack of processing helps the tea to retain a high level of antioxidants and it also has a lower caffeine content.
A mild and refreshing green tea, Ginkgo Biloba is said to help lift the drinker’s mood and promote healthy circulation. Made from the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree – thought to be the oldest variety of tree still in existence – this tea has been consumed by people in China and Japan for more than 4,000 years. The flavour of the tea is light and nutty with a pleasantly sweet aftertaste. It also contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and magnesium.
This is a Japanese beverage made from combining green tea with roasted brown rice. The popped nature of the rice has led many people to give Genmaicha the nickname of ‘popcorn tea’. Genmaicha was traditionally a drink for the poor with the rice being added as a low cost filler to bring the overall price down. Its warm, nutty flavour makes it an easy blend to drink and it is now popular with all walks of life. It has all the usual health benefits of green tea including lowering blood pressure. Genmaicha also contains theanine, which helps your body to relax.
If you fancy trying a tea with a North American flavour, look no further than maple tea. Made in Canada, this takes popular black teas and adds an extra-special ingredient – maple syrup. Designed for people with a sweet tooth, this is often used to make an iced tea during the summer. It is also seen as a healthier alternative to adding granulated sugar to tea.