In First Person: Love Tea, and Tea Will Love You Back

in first person

In First Person is a monthly meme here on Books and Hot Tea. Every first of the month I talk about a certain lifestyle topic I’m passionate about. Feel free to leave comments and chat with me!

Yes, I know today is the 2nd of March, so this is the first time I’m doing this meme and I’ve already failed. XD Anyway, for my first In First Person post I decided to talk about – big surprise! – tea. It is very fitting, considering the title of my blog. 😉 I’ve talked about tea before, but I’ve learned more since. And I’ve tried more teas. Now, let’s end this too long introduction, and start with the topic.

Tea bags.

I’ve been a tea drinker for years. I haven’t started drinking tea because of its health benefits, though in my family tea was mostly reserved for the times you were sick. I simply loved the taste and the smell. It made me warm when I was cold and it made me feel cosy when I was tired. People are mostly coffee drinkers here in Croatia, but I never liked the taste of coffee. So, no, I never drink coffee. I also don’t drink my tea with milkmi. Until lately, tea with milk was even considered strange in Croatia. xD I usually drink mine with just some lemon since I don’t like honey in tea (this is something people find strange).

When I say the word “tea” I mostly think of tea made from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Those are white, green, yellow, oolong and black teas. Other herbal teas are made from different plants and these include Rooibos, Mint, Chamomille, Nettle, Sage and many others. There are also different fruit teas, which I jokingly call “hot juice”. (It sounds less disturbing in Croatian…) The tea plant teas are the ones I will talk about in this post.

Types of tea. Picture from Oolong Tea Community.

Black Tea

Black tea is probably the most popular type of tea. It’s the most oxidized kind, and it’s completely fermented. That makes it the strongest in flavour and darkest in colour. It contains most caffeine, but caffeine level can vary quite a lot in different kinds of black tea since it depends on the part of the plant used and the brewing technique. The caffeine levels in tea can boost your blood pressure, but the effect doesn’t last long, and can help those with low blood pressure when they suffer for dizziness. The antioxidants in black tea are proven to strengthen your immunity, improve metabolism, and lower the risk of a stroke and heart attack since they help you fight high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

When it comes to taste, black tea is usually too bitter for me (especially since I don’t drink tea with milk), but I adore Earl Grey tea – a tea blend which is flavoured with the oil of bergamot. The flavour and smell of bergamot is lovely! And it really makes the tea taste less bitter. Nowadays, there are also green tea variations of Earl Grey, and though not traditional, they’re very good, too.

Black tea.

Another kind of fermented tea is Pu-Erh tea. Pu-erh traditionally begins as a raw product known as “rough” and can be sold in this form or pressed into a number of shapes and sold as “raw”. Both of these forms then undergo the complex process of gradual fermentation and maturation with time. This is the type of tea I haven’t tasted before except blended with another kind of tea, so if you have, I’d like to hear what you thought of it!

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is the next type of tea when it comes to the level of fermentation. It’s higher in the level of antioxidants than black tea. The general rule is – the less the tea is fermented, the more antioxidants you get from it. Oolong has all the health benefits of black tea, but it’s even more powerful. To learn more about this typoe of tea, you can visit Oolong Tea Community.

Oolong tea is said to be most varied kind of tea when it comes to taste, so I’ll leave it to you to try it. 😉 I only tasted it once, to be honest, because it’s not very popular where I live, so suggestions would be appreciated.

Green Tea

Green tea is less oxidized than black tea and it belongs to the group of teas that are not fermented. This means that green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea, so you get even more health benefits from it. Green tea helps with prevention of some types of cancer, Parkinson’s and even Alzheimer’s disease. It boosts your metabolism and lowers your cholesterol level more than black and oolong tea. It’s also frequently used in cosmetic products. Because of the antioxidants it contains, it’s a good anti-inflammatory agent, it rejuvenates the skin, and has a sun protective effect. The non-fermented teas are generally great for skin health. And for your liver, too.

Green tea tastes a little grassier than black and oolong tea, which is something not everyone’s a fan of. Since I always drink my tea with lemon, I don’t have a problem with grassines. The lemon really helps tone it down, so I suggest you try it as well.

Fruit tea, black tea, green tea.

Matcha tea is a kind of green tea that is finely ground in a green powder. The green tea used to make matcha is shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed in processing. It contains more caffeine than green tea. The match powder is used to make green tea ice-cream and other green tea foods.

Sencha is also a type of green tea, from Japan.

Now, another type of tea I’d like to mention here is gunpowder tea. To make this type of tea, each leaf is rolled into a small round pellet – its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea or oolong tea, but the rolling method maked its taste stronger, which differentiates it from other green and oolong teas. It can also have a “smoky” flavour, which is fitting when you consider its name. XD

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is another non-fermented tea. It’s processed in the same way as green tea, but the drying process is longer – damp leaves are left to sit and gain yellow colour, which gives it a different taste and smell.  It’s made from the buds of the tea plant, before they turn to leaves. Yellow tea has the same amount of antioxidants as green tea, and similar health benefits. However, it’s taste is milder and much less grassy.

I love the taste of yellow tea! I remember how sad I was when my mother almost forbid me to drink it once. She said her friend drank a lot of yellow tea to lose weight, and it did help, but a little too much. She lost too much weight in a short time and had many health issues because of that. Yellow tea is often used for losing weight (and it helps with body fat and metabolism), but it can’t do that kind of damage to you. The woman from the story was probably on a strict diet. My mother also realized that, and now I can drink yellow tea again. 😉

White Tea

White tea goes through minimal oxidation during processing and is one of the non-fermented teas. Similarly to yellow tea, it is made from the buds and leaves of the tea plant, and the buds give it its white colouring. Its taste and smell are similar to that of green tea, but a little milder, and less grassy. It contains the most antioxidants, so it is the best “cleaner” of the liver and your entire body. It is great for the skin, helps fight tumors, and since it has the least caffein so it’s great for good night sleep, and can even help with headaches. White tea is my favourite! I love its mild taste.

White tea.

Now, if you want to experiment, there are so many different blends of teas out there. If you don’t like the taste of any of these teas, but like fruit teas, try a blend! I currently have a white tea and cranberry blend in my cupboard, and the cranberry really changes the taste. However, I prefer teas blended with flowers ond herbs. These change the taste less, but give a wonderful smell to your tea and make it more flavourful. My favourite is a tea called The Rose of Orient from a local tea shop, a blend of green and gunpowder tea with jasmine, marigold and rose. It smells and tastes wonderful! I suggest to try, explore, and enjoy the journey! 🙂

Now, there are many other herbal teas, so maybe next time I’ll talk about those. This post is already so long! Thanks for reading and happy blogging! 🙂

And happy tea drinking as well!