Everything you need to know about Indian teas
Tea, a staple drink for many, enjoys a rich culture and history all over the world. Home to over 14000 tea estates, India too boasts some of the finest teas. A cup of tea offers so much more than just comfort. It is packed with health benefits, has healing properties, and lifts your spirits like no other beverage. So it is hardly surprising that tea beats soft drinks and coffee to be the most popular drink in the world. After China, India is the largest tea exporter across the globe. So if you love your chai, here are some Indian teas you must try out.
1. Darjeeling tea:
The vast tea gardens of Darjeeling are world-famous. Darjeeling tea is called the ‘champagne of teas’, and it is said that when you sip it, you can taste the heady, fresh mountain air of the region where it has been grown. Lighter and less oxidised than most black teas, its taste is dependent on the time it is harvested. A tea growing season is divided into periodic harvests, which are termed as ‘flushes’.
The first flush uses the youngest leaves and gives the most delicate and bright flavours, while the second flush uses the more mature leaves, and has more robust, heady notes. You can even try the white tea variety, a mellow, smooth tasting, pale golden liquid that has additional skin-enhancing benefits and can add a glow to your face.
2. Assam tea: This tea comes from the northeastern state of Assam, which is the world’s largest tea-growing region. Made from the Camellia sinensis plant leaves, Assam tea is a fine tea variant that has an earthy and nutty flavour.
It is said to be full of antioxidants and minerals and can make your body less prone to coughs and colds and boost your immune system.
3. Sikkim tea: Sikkim is renowned for its organic tea from the Temi Garden, which is the only tea estate in the entire state. It is grown at an altitude of 1400 to 2000 meters and is light amber with smooth, floral notes.
Sikkim is also known for its Oolong tea that blends the best of black and green tea and has a flavour profile that ranges from light to grassy or even buttery and smoky, making it a delicacy well worth trying.
4.Nilgiri tea: This is a type of black tea that is grown at a high altitude in the Blue Mountains, which is what the Nilgiri area of South India is called. At an elevation of 8000 feet, it ranks as one of the highest grown teas in the world. It is prized for its immense health benefits that range from reducing fat to keeping your heart healthy.
When consumed regularly, Nilgiri tea can act as a stress buster, and it has a heady aromatic flavour, fruitiness and mellow taste. Its naturally sweet taste with no bitter notes makes it perfect for making iced tea.
5. Masala tea: If you have ever had a cup of masala tea or kadak masala chai that is redolent with the fragrance of spices, you know that nothing can beat its taste. Perfect for all seasons, masala tea has a place in many Indian homes as an intrinsic ritual to be savoured. Made popular in the British era, it comprises a black tea blended with spices and herbs like cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cloves, cardamom, fennel, coriander seeds and peppercorns.
There are numerous concentrations, and most families and brands have their secret recipes. Many people encourage pregnant women to drink masala tea to alleviate nausea. It also helps to boost immunity, control blood sugar levels and improve the condition of the heart.
6. Turmeric tea: Who hasn’t heard of the benefits of turmeric? You may have even tried a turmeric latte or a golden latte by mixing milk with turmeric and other spices. Apart from its happiness-inducing sunshine yellow colour, it offers multiple benefits and consuming it by mixing it in a tea is considered to be one of the most effective ways of having turmeric.
Turmeric tea contains curcumin as its active ingredient, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It is a perfect detox tea to cleanse your body and eradicate harmful toxins. It can also give you relief from pains and aches.
7. Tulsi tea: Tulsi or holy basil is called the ‘queen of herbs’. This perennial herb is native to the Indian subcontinent and has a special place in spiritual texts and mythology. Some say that it’s the earthly manifestation of goddess Lakshmi while others call it the threshold between heaven and earth.
It also finds a place in Ayurveda as a powerful adaptogen that helps the body reduce stress and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a powerful healing agent. It has trace amounts of calcium, vitamin C, iron, and zinc, can eliminate harmful bacteria and germs in your mouth, reduce depression, and even make you more social. Closely related to the culinary basil family, it has peppery notes and a bitter flavour but makes for a refreshing and calming drink.
8. Kangra tea: This tea variant, which comes from Himachal Pradesh, was once considered to be the best in the world. The 1905 earthquake that destroyed the valley also caused permanent damage to the tea gardens. The good news is that the region is gradually recovering, and the beautiful tea estates of the Kangra district are once again enjoying the recognition they deserve.
As an intense, refined green tea, it has a complex flavour with sweet undertones. It even has the green light from the Ministry of Science and Technology confirming its effectiveness in boosting your immune system, making Kangra tea a strong health ally to have in hand.
Tea Is An Anytime Treat
There you have it, a list of 8 exciting teas that all tea lovers should try. But as opposed to how quickly you brew your tea, it takes ample time to source the right tea leaves, mix and match to get the perfect recipe. It takes time to source hundreds of gardens producing thousands of tea batches every year, making tea workers’ journey laborious.
The purity of the herbs is another essential factor to look at as the last thing you will want is to expose your body to harmful pesticides. You also want your brand of choice to be fair trade and not one that exploits overworked and underpaid farmers.
A far more convenient way is to find a brand that does all the hard work for you. With over 60 years of experience, Mittal Teas makes the process easy by eliminating the hassle of shortlisting from so many options by tasting, negotiating and performing quality checks to ensure authenticity.
All you need to do is choose your concoction, sit back and sip your delicious tea. So head to Mittal Teas to get your fix of tantalising tea options.