Tea Time: How to Avoid Infusion Confusion

There's no simple reply to the "would you like a cuppa" anymore. Avoid infusion confusion with our guide to tea
Tea Time: how to avoid infusion confusion
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Tea Time: how to avoid infusion confusion
January 10, 2019
By Karen D'Souza

Grown under varying climatic conditions, black tea is available in several blends and is one of the most popular varieties. It's rich in antioxidants, which help fight inflammation in the body. India and Sri Lanka are among the top producers of this kind of tea with, Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was formerly known) being the most well-known types. For a heart-warming, flavourful cup of chai (hot black tea mixed with milk and sugar), we’d recommend:

  • Tea India Masala Chai
  • Cardamom Chai
  • Waitrose Assam
  • Decaffeinated Earl Grey tea bags

Widely believed to have many health benefits (including boosting the immune system, slowing the ageing process, preventing the loss of bone calcium and reducing elevated cholesterol and blood pressure), green tea differs from black and oolong teas due to the variations in the withering and oxidation process. It retains its colour since the leaves aren’t processed. Green tea is often combined with flavours such as ginger and lemon, but other interesting flavours include:

  • Higher Living’s Green Tea Coconut
  • Pukka Supreme Matcha Green

Neither black nor green, oolong falls somewhere between the two. It's available in many flavours ranging from fruity and sweet to woody and fresh, which is dictated by the way it is processed. Both China and Taiwan lay claim to the origins of this tea, where it is grown in mountainous regions. Newby Teas offers two fragrant blends:

  • Milk Oolong
  • Ginseng Oolong 

The former is a relatively recent blend, while ginseng has been used for medicinal purposes in China for thousands of years, and adds a floral tone to the oolong.

Originating in South Africa’s Western Cape region, rooibos tea has a distinct, earthy taste and a reddish-brown colour. It is naturally caffeine-free and rich in antioxidants. Khoisan Tea is an organic brand that produces a fine vanilla-flavoured rooibos that is conveniently available in tea capsules. While rooibos is usually consumed like black tea, you may prefer to add splash of milk. It works well as an iced tea, too.

Available in almost every flavour imaginable, herbal teas are made from brewing various herbs and spices in hot water, and are usually caffeine free. Although called teas, they aren’t tea in the true sense of the word. While an all-time favourite is peppermint tea, which aids digestion and boosts the immune system, why not try Traditional Medicinals' range, which includes dandelion tea. This supports liver and kidney function. Another good option after a rough day at the office is spinneysFOOD Pure Chamomile Infusion with its delicate floral taste. Chamomile promotes sleep and soothes the nervous system. For mothers-to-be, Yogi Tea offers a specific blend of herbs that support a healthy pregnancy. And Higher Living produces inventive flavour combinations from organic ingredients such as licorice roots with herbs, spices and citrus peel, and turmeric with ginger and rose petals.