India is known for its diverse and delicious tea culture. In this article, we explore the best types of tea in India and recommend some of the top tea brands to try for each type. We also discuss the health benefits of tea and provide tips to help you choose your perfect cup of tea.
India is renowned for its diverse tea culture, with a range of teas available in different regions across the country. Tea is the perfect accompaniment to a healthy breakfast, a rainy day, or an evening pick-me-up. From the classic chai to the more exotic varieties, there is a type of tea to suit every taste. In this blog post, we explore the best types of tea in India and recommend some of the top tea brands to try for each type. We also discuss the health benefits of tea and provide a comparison table to help you choose your perfect cup of tea.
Table of Contents
Not Just a Warm Treat: Health Benefits of Tea
Tea is not just a beverage, but also a natural remedy with numerous health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of drinking tea:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease: Tea contains antioxidants called flavonoids that help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Helps with weight loss: Some studies have shown that drinking tea can help with weight loss by boosting metabolism and reducing appetite.
- Boosts the immune system: Tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that help boost the immune system.
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Drinking tea can help reduce stress and anxiety levels due to the presence of L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation.
- Improves digestion: Tea contains tannins that help improve digestion and reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
What’s Your Cup of Tea? Types of Tea in India
Tea is so intrinsic to Indian culture and economy that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India has a special Tea Board that classifies the various types of tea in India, from staples such as Darjeeling Tea, Masala Chai, Nilgiri Tea, and Assam Tea, to regional delicacies such as Munnar Tea, Dooars-Terai Tea, and Sikkim Tea. Let’s dive into the flavourful world of tea and see which cups of warm goodness find their way to your heart!
Chai: The Heart and Soul of India’s Tea Culture
Chai is more than just a drink in India – it’s a way of life. For many Indians, chai or masala chai is the first thing they drink in the morning and the last thing they drink at night. Chai is an integral part of India’s culture and heritage, and it’s no wonder why it’s the most popular tea in the country.
How Chai is Made
The process of making chai is simple yet precise. First, tea leaves are simmered in water along with a blend of aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Once the tea has steeped and the spices have infused their flavor, milk, and sugar are added to the mix. The result is a rich and creamy drink that’s bursting with flavor.
The Rich and Spicy Flavor of Chai
Chai has a warm and comforting flavor that’s perfect for cold mornings or rainy days. The combination of tea leaves and spices creates a unique taste that’s both sweet and spicy. The addition of milk adds a creamy richness that balances out the spices, making chai the perfect beverage to enjoy any time of day.
Health Benefits of Chai
Chai is not only delicious but also packed with health benefits. The spices used in chai, such as ginger and cinnamon, are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help boost immunity and aid in digestion. Drinking chai can also help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Versatility of Chai
Chai is as diverse in itself as the country it comes from. There are a plethora of regional variations of chai depending on the geographical and climate conditions and regional traditions. In Kashmir for example, chai is called ‘Kashmiri kahwa’ and is brewed with green tea in place of black tea, and is flavoured with warming spices, such as cloves, elaichi, cinnamon, saffron, and almonds.
In Bhopal, on the other hand, tea is enjoyed with a little bit of salt. In Western India with its extremely hot and dry weather conditions, warming spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and pepper tend to be avoided and are substituted with cooling ingredients such as mint and lemongrass.
Want to try it?
Here are some of the top chai brands to try:
- Tata Tea Chakra Gold
- Brooke Bond Red Label
- Wagh Bakri Tea
- Society Tea
- Lipton Chai
Darjeeling Tea: The Champagne of Teas
Darjeeling tea is often referred to as the champagne of tea due to its delicate flavor and aroma. Grown in the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, this tea is one of the most sought-after teas in the world.
The Unique Flavor Profile of Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling tea has a light and floral tea that’s unlike any other tea. It’s often described as having a musky spiciness that’s balanced by a sweet and fruity taste. The unique terroir of the Darjeeling region, with its high altitude, cool temperatures, and misty climate, gives Darjeeling tea its distinct flavor and aroma.
The History and Origins of Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling tea has a rich history that dates back to the mid-1800s when the British established tea plantations in the region. Today, Darjeeling tea is still primarily grown on small family-owned farms, and the tea is carefully handpicked and processed to maintain its delicate flavor and aroma.
Health Benefits of Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling tea is not only a treat for the senses but also has numerous health benefits. It’s high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Darjeeling tea also contains caffeine, which can help boost mental alertness and concentration.
Want to try it?
Here are some of the top Darjeeling tea brands to try:
- Harney & Sons Darjeeling Tea
- Teabox Darjeeling Tea
- Golden Tips Darjeeling Tea
- Twinings Darjeeling Tea
- Goodricke Darjeeling Tea
Nilgiri Tea: The Refreshing and Aromatic Tea of South India
The Brisk and Floral Flavor of Nilgiri Tea
Nilgiri tea, also known as blue mountain tea, is grown in the Nilgiri hills of southern India. It has a brisk, floral flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste. The tea is grown in the high altitudes of the region, which gives it a unique flavor profile.
The Unique Terroir of Nilgiri Tea
Nilgiri tea is grown in the Blue Mountains of South India, which is a region that has a unique terroir. The soil in this region is rich in nutrients and minerals, which provides an ideal environment for tea cultivation. The cool and misty climate of the region also contributes to the unique flavor of the tea.
Health Benefits of Nilgiri Tea
Nilgiri tea is a rich source of antioxidants and has been shown to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It also contains caffeine, which can help improve focus and concentration. The tea is also low in calories, making it a great option for those looking to maintain a healthy weight.
Want to try it?
Here are some of the top Nilgiri tea brands to try:
- The Tea Shelf Nilgiri Tea
- Golden Tips Nilgiri Tea
- Sancha Tea Boutique Nilgiri Tea
- Teabox Nilgiri Tea
- Eco Valley Nilgiri Tea
Green Tea: The Light and Refreshing Tea with a Host of Health Benefits
The Subtle and Delicate Flavor of Green Tea
Green tea is one of the most popular types of tea in the world and is known for its subtle and delicate flavor. The tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is also used to make black tea, white tea, and oolong tea.
The Process of Making Green Tea
Green tea is made by steaming or pan-frying the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This process helps to preserve the natural antioxidants in the tea, which are known for their health benefits. The leaves are then rolled and dried, creating the distinctive shape and texture of green tea leaves.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants, which help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It has been shown to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Green tea is also known to help improve brain function and may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Want to Try It?
Here are some of the top green tea brands to try in India:
- Typhoo Green Tea
- Tetley Green Tea
- Twinings Green Tea
- Lipton Green Tea
- Eco Valley Organic Green Tea
White Tea: The Delicate and Rare Tea with Amazing Health Benefits
The Sweet and Subtle Flavor of White Tea
White tea is one of the rarest and most delicate types of tea. It is made from the young leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant and has a sweet, subtle flavor with floral undertones.
The Unique Processing Method of White Tea
White tea is processed in a unique way that helps to preserve the natural antioxidants in the tea. The leaves are picked and then immediately withered and dried, without undergoing any oxidation. This minimal processing helps to retain the delicate flavor and health benefits of the tea.
Health Benefits of White Tea
White tea is a rich source of antioxidants, which help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It has been shown to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. White tea is also known to help improve skin health and may help to reduce the risk of premature aging
Want to try it?
Here are some of the top white tea brands to try in India:
- Teabox White Tea
- Golden Tips White Tea
- Vahdam White Tea
- Sancha Tea Boutique White Tea
- The Tea Shelf White Tea
Assam Tea: The Bold and Strong Tea of India
Assam tea is known for its bold and full-bodied flavor and is often used in blends for Indian masala chai. Grown in the Assam region of India, this tea is the backbone of India’s tea industry.
The Full-Bodied Flavor of Assam Tea
Assam Tea is a type of black tea that has a bold and robust flavor. The tea is grown in the Assam region of India, which is located in the northeastern part of the country. The unique climate and soil conditions of the region contribute to the tea’s distinct flavor.
The History and Origins of Assam Tea
Assam Tea has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The credit for discovering tea in Assam goes to a Scottish explorer named Robert Bruce, who found wild tea plants growing in the region in the early 19th century.
However, it was his brother, Charles Alexander Bruce, who began experimenting with cultivating tea in Assam in 1823 after his brother’s death, and successfully produced the first commercial tea crop in the region in the 1830s. Today, Assam is one of the largest tea-producing regions in the world, and its bold and full-bodied tea is enjoyed by tea lovers all around the globe.
Health Benefits of Assam Tea
Assam Tea is high in antioxidants, which can help to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. It is also believed to help boost the immune system and improve heart health. Assam Tea is also a natural source of caffeine, which can help to improve mental alertness and concentration. Drinking Assam Tea regularly can be a great way to stay healthy and energized.
Want to try it?
Here are some of the top Assam tea brands to try:
- Makaibari Tea
- Jivraj Tea
- Mana Organics Assam Tea
- The Tea Shelf Assam Tea
- Vahdam Assam Tea
Oolong Tea: The Rich and Complex Tea with a Host of Health Benefits
The Flavor Profile of Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea is a type of tea that is known for its rich and complex flavor. It falls somewhere between green and black tea in terms of oxidation and has a unique taste that is hard to describe. Oolong Tea is grown in several regions throughout Asia, including China and Taiwan.
The Unique Processing Method of Oolong Tea
One of the things that make Oolong Tea unique is the way that it is processed. The leaves are first withered in the sun and then shaken to bruise the edges of the leaves. The leaves are then partially oxidized and then roasted to stop the oxidation process. The unique processing method gives Oolong Tea its distinct flavor and aroma.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea is high in antioxidants, which can help to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. It is also believed to help boost the metabolism and aid in weight loss. Oolong Tea contains caffeine, which can help to improve mental alertness and concentration. Additionally, Oolong Tea is believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve bone health. Drinking Oolong Tea regularly can be a great way to stay healthy and enjoy a delicious cup of tea at the same time.
Want to try it?
Here are some of the top oolong tea brands to try in India:
- Golden Tips Oolong Tea
- Teabox Oolong Tea
- The Tea Shelf Oolong Tea
- Eco Valley Oolong Tea
- Sancha Tea Boutique Oolong Tea
Choosing the Right Tea For You: A Comprehensive Guide
To help you choose the best tea for you, we have created a comparison table of different types of tea based on several factors:
|Type of Tea||Flavor Profile||Health Benefits||Popular Brands|
|Chai||Spicy and Rich||Reduces Stress and Anxiety|
Boosts Immune System
|Tata Tea Chakra Gold|
Brooke Bond Red Label
Wagh Bakri Tea
|Darjeeling||Floral and Fruity||Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease|
| Harney & Sons Darjeeling Tea |
Teabox Darjeeling Tea
Golden Tips Darjeeling Tea
|Assam||Strong and Full-Bodied||Boosts Metabolism|
|Makaibari Tea, Jivraj Tea|
Mana Organics Assam Tea
|Nilgiri||Brisk and Floral||Reduces Stress and Anxiety|
|The Tea Shelf Nilgiri Tea|
Golden Tips Nilgiri Tea
Sancha Tea Boutique Nilgiri Tea
|Green||Light and Refreshing||Boosts Metabolism|
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
|Typhoo Green Tea|
Tetley Green Tea
Twinings Green Tea
|White||Delicate and Sweet||Promotes Healthy Skin|
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
|Teabox White Tea|
Golden Tips White Tea
Vahdam White Tea
|Oolong||Rich and Complex||Reduces Cholesterol Levels|
Promotes Healthy Bones
|Golden Tips Oolong Tea|
Teabox Oolong Tea
The Tea Shelf Oolong Tea
Some Delightful Regional Tea Variations
India is a land of diverse tea varieties, each with its unique flavor profile and brewing techniques. While Assam and Darjeeling teas are perhaps the most well-known Indian teas, there are several other regional varieties that are worth exploring.
Tibetan Butter Tea
Tibetan butter tea, also known as “po cha,” is a rich and creamy tea made with yak butter, salt, and tea leaves. It’s a staple beverage in the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas and is known for its ability to provide warmth and nourishment in harsh weather conditions. It is a must-have for people before they go into work, and is served as a welcome drink to guests. In India, this tea is enjoyed in the Ladakh and upper-Himachal areas of Lahaul-Spiti.
Moving towards the eastern region of India, Sikkim tea is gaining popularity in the global tea market for its unique flavor and aroma. Grown in the picturesque hills of Sikkim, this tea is known for its floral and fruity notes, with a delicate sweetness and a smooth finish. It’s a rare and exotic tea that’s perfect for those who want to explore something different.
Kangra tea, on the other hand, is a variety that’s grown in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Known for its fresh and earthy aroma, Kangra tea has a slightly sweet taste with a subtle astringent aftertaste. It’s a tea that’s perfect for those who prefer a milder flavor profile.
If you’re looking for a tea that’s grown in the southern part of India, Munnar tea is a must-try. Grown in the misty hills of the Western Ghats, Munnar tea has a robust flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste. It’s a tea that’s best enjoyed with a dash of milk and sugar.
Lastly, moving towards the northeast region of India, we have Dooars-Terai tea. Grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, especially in the Brahmaputra river valley this tea has a strong and robust flavor with a slight astringency. It’s a tea that’s best enjoyed without milk and sugar, as it has a natural sweetness to it.
India is home to a wide variety of teas that offer unique flavors, aromas, and health benefits. From the bold and robust flavor of Assam Tea to the delicate and rare White Tea, there is a tea for everyone to enjoy. Each type of tea has its own history, processing method, and health benefits, making it a fascinating and enjoyable topic to explore.
Not only are these teas delicious, but they also offer numerous health benefits. Drinking tea regularly can help to reduce the risk of cancer, improve heart health, and boost the immune system, among other benefits. Plus, the act of brewing and enjoying a cup of tea can be a relaxing and enjoyable ritual that helps to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
So, whether you’re a tea enthusiast or just looking to try something new, there is no shortage of amazing teas to explore in India. From the traditional Chai to the unique and complex Oolong Tea, each type of tea offers its own distinct flavor and benefits. So, why not take a sip and enjoy all that India’s tea culture has to offer?
Frequently Asked Questions
How many types of Tea are there?
There are several types of tea available, including black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, herbal tea, and more. Each type of tea has its own unique flavor, aroma, and health benefits.
What type of tea is healthiest?
Green tea is often considered the healthiest type of tea, as it is high in antioxidants and has been linked to numerous health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, improving brain function, and aiding in weight loss.
Which tea is best for taste?
The best tea for taste is subjective and can vary based on personal preference. However, many people enjoy the rich and spicy flavor of Chai, the delicate and floral flavor of Darjeeling Tea, or the refreshing and aromatic flavor of Nilgiri Tea.
Which tea is more expensive?
The price of tea can vary widely depending on the type, brand, and quality. Generally, rare and exotic teas such as White Tea and some varieties of Oolong Tea can be more expensive than more common teas like Black Tea.
How do I choose a good tea?
When choosing a good tea, consider the flavor, aroma, and quality of the tea leaves. Look for teas that have been grown in high-quality soil, harvested at the right time, and processed with care. It’s also important to choose a reputable brand that is known for producing high-quality teas.
Which is the strongest Indian tea?
Assam Tea is often considered the strongest Indian tea due to its bold and full-bodied flavor. It is also high in caffeine, which can help to boost energy levels and improve mental alertness.