More than just a collection of leaves available to brew, tea provides a multitude of flavors that you can explore. And with tea culture varying so much from country to country, each sip can provide you with a new cultural experience.
Whether you’re new to the world of tea or you’re just looking for inspiration to diversify your existing collection, below we’re sharing our seven favorite globally-inspired teas to enhance your palate.
Our Top Picks of Globally Inspired Teas
1. Gunpowder Green Tea
Teas from around the world contain a cosmos of flavors, and gunpowder green tea is a brilliant example. This tea type, which originates from China but has gained popularity around the globe, is well-known for its distinct qualities. The name is derived from compactly coiled leaves, which display a striking similarity to tiny gunpowder pallets.
In North Africa, this tea plays an important role in the preparation of conventional Moroccan mint tea. Gunpowder green tea offers a range of potential health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, and is an excellent source of antioxidants.
2. Black Tea
Any list of international teas would be incomplete without black tea, a globally loved classic. Black tea is famous for its mild caffeine content and bold flavor, making it a top pick for morning sips and afternoon relaxation.
The popularity of this tea stretches all the way from Europe to South Asia, where the cherished chai reigns supreme. Versatile and aromatic, there are a multitude of ways one can take black tea. You can do as the Brits do and take it with milk, sugar, and perhaps an accompanying biscuit or two. If you prefer a stronger brew, simply take it black and add in a lemon slice, like Eastern Europeans tend to. Those craving even more flavor can opt for Asian chai, a beautiful mixture of black tea and a range of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and cloves. Chai occupies a vital place in Indian culture, and is commonly presented to guests as an expression of warm hospitality.
In terms of health benefits, black tea has the ability to lower LDL cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, promote heart health, and have a positive impact on digestive well-being.
Teas from around the world commonly include matcha, an exquisite powdered green tea deeply connected to Japanese customs and tradition. Matcha holds an important place for its striking green color and distinct preparation method.
The key compounds of this tea including catechins, L-theanine, chlorophyll, and caffeine, maintain a balance that makes it special. Matcha provides an energy boost without the restlessness commonly associated with various caffeine products. It’s an important part of the Japanese tea ceremony, called chanoyu, which encompasses both aesthetic and spiritual practice. It contains a wealth of antioxidants, which could protect the liver and may even exhibit anticancer properties.
Matcha has a distinct, earthy aroma which may take some getting used to at first. You can try it in the form of a latte to soften the flavor and add creaminess.
4. Russian Samovar Tea
When exploring globally inspired teas, don’t overlook the smoky allure of Russian samovar tea. Russians have preferred black tea historically, but green tea is slowly but surely making inroads.
The process of brewing is a highly important component of Russian tea customs. A concentrated and strong tea is brewed in a petite ceramic pot known as samovar, which is later diluted with warm water adjusted to personal preferences.
In Russian culture, tea is more than just a drink; it’s a delightful experience. Tea is commonly served with a variety of cakes, cookies, candies, lemon slices, syrups, sweets, and different jams; you would never want to have ‘naked’ tea (or tea served on its own), especially if guests are present! The antioxidants, especially polyphenols, in Russian samovar tea, are related to inhibiting cancer and preserving youthful skin.
5. Earl Grey
Earl Grey, a mixture of black tea and bergamot, is among the most familiar international teas. A beloved British tea variety, it sets itself apart with its outstanding citrusy taste, making it a popular choice for evening and morning tea rituals. The name of Earl Grey tea is associated with Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who acted as the British Prime Minister in the 1830s. In British culture, it is a custom to add milk to this tea. Americans enjoy it with a touch of sugar and a lemon slice. Besides its rich flavor, this tea is believed to have antidepressant and antiseptic properties, turning it into more than just a pleasing brew.
You can also try a London Fog if you’d like your earl grey to be even richer in flavor. Originating in Canada in the 1990s, this drink has become a beloved alternative to coffee in the Great White North. Simply add a pump of vanilla syrup and frothed milk to your regular earl grey tea, and you’ll have a delicious tea latte.
Also known as redbush, this flavorful tea finds its roots in the mountainous valleys of South Africa. Rooibos has been a staple of the African country for centuries but has steadily been gaining traction across the globe for its versatility, health benefits, and unique flavor profile.
Rooibos can be taken in virtually any way – on its own, with milk and/or sugar, or as a tea latte. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with honey, vanilla, or fruit infusions. Best of all, it’s filled with health-boosting antioxidants and is naturally caffeine-free. Whether you’re fully caffeine-free or you’re looking for an evening pick-me-up, rooibos will be the perfect tea for you.
With so many different flavors of tea available, there truly is something out there for everyone. Which globally-inspired teas will you be adding to your collection?