Tea is the ultimate in casual wellness drinks – no matter how you enjoy it. A study, reported by Bloomberg, found that people in the UK – a nation very fond of tea – lived longer if they had a few cups a day. Interestingly, the study also seemed to find that the preparation of the tea didn’t matter – milk or sugar, green or black, it all contributed. The health qualities of green and black tea have long been established, of course, but what this shows is that anyone can find a tea blend that works for them and benefit from it. Within that, there are perhaps three main routes to go down.
Black and green tea
The oldest tea preparation is probably the black, green or white tea enjoyed in east Asia. China is probably where tea drinking really took off; as travel gurus The Culture Trip highlights, it was in the third century when tea drinking really took off, and it was here that the grassy and fresh tastes of tea started coming up. In this world, there really is a huge amount of variety, and it can be useful to try a monthly tea service, or to buy some samples, before committing. Try out Yunnan, Keemun, and Oolong for starters. These are classic, well-rounded blends, that promote the grassy earthy tastes of tea leaves without overwhelming them. Oolong is probably the richest among them – its natural oils promote a very nice mouthfeel – but won’t leave you overwhelmed.
Milk and sugar
A step away from the understated wellness of black and green tea, and you have teas best experienced with milk and sugar. English breakfast tea, Chai, and Ceylon tea are all examples of this and are a good place to start. English tea is simple, combining the richness of milk and sugar if you like. Chai is more advanced, combining several different spices to give a very rich and flavorsome experience that almost feels dessert-like. Somewhere in the middle is Ceylon – Sri Lankan – tea, which uses milk, but also lemon, and has crystalline honey for sweetener rather than sugar.
Fruits and herbals
While not tea in the strictest sense, as it doesn’t come from tea leaves, fruit and herbal teas are being lauded for their increasing popularity. Studies have shown the impressive antioxidant properties of fruit teas in particular, while herbal teas have a role to play in wellbeing. For instance, chamomile promotes healthy sleep, and lavender can help to reduce anxiety. Alongside green teas and black teas, these can provide the clearest sense of well-being and contribute to a healthy diet – and, by proxy, a healthy life.
Tea is a wonder of a drink. There’s a reason it’s the most popular in the world, with billions enjoying it every day. No matter what the preparation, there’s a huge amount of joy to be derived from the simple steeped drink – black, white, green, and with whatever accompaniments make it taste best for you.