What’s your cup of tea?

What’s your cup of tea?

Masala, green, lemon... there are varieties of tea flavours to choose from, writes Yezdi S Mistry

Green tea does not undergo the oxidation process like other teas and so its shelf life is lesser.

Tea-drinkers would have come across a wide variety of tea types and flavours and it is safe to say that there are some flavours that have withstood the test of time and others that have made a surprise entry into the market. India is the second largest producer of tea and we love our teas so much that we consume almost 70% of our produce. There are some important distinctions in the preferences of Indians when it comes to tea. Here are some popular flavours:

The classic black tea

We, Indians, like our cup of tea strong, flavoury and aromatic, and the consumption of our black teas are a testimony to the same. Black tea is stronger than other teas due to the oxidisation process that it undergoes. This tea has a much longer shelf life than other, less oxidised varieties.

The Indian masala tea

Indians are also huge fans of spices. That is exactly what the masala tea offers — a perfect blend of black tea with aromatic spices and herbs. Having originated in India, traditionally, masala tea was prepared by brewing black tea with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper. 

Cardamom & ginger teas

The specific flavours of cardamom & ginger in tea are also an Indian favourite. Cardamom is a highly therapeutic flavour of tea that is known to contain antioxidants. According to studies, this tea also improves digestion, enhances blood circulation, and even treats bad breath. Ginger tea is a herbal medicine in India. If you want relief from cold, flu, nausea, or even a digestive issue, chances are that you will be given a steaming cup of ginger tea. Researchers say that the active compounds and the pungent phenol compounds present in ginger make it superior and when combined with tea, it is the best healing therapy.

Lemon tea

Lemon is a preferred flavour in India today, in both black and green varieties of tea. Drinking hot lemon tea early in the morning has become very popular among tea-drinkers. Vitamin C in lemon tea has many health benefits, including cultivating immunity. What better way to consume it other than in tea?

Rose tea

Indians have used rose abundantly since time immemorial, be it in cooking or cosmetics. This makes it a naturally loved flavour for tea. If you are looking at healthier skin and hair, rose tea is your answer. This stress buster and mood enhancer is also known to help in weight loss. 

Green teas

This is one flavour that has made a sudden entry thanks to the health-conscious tea consumers of today. Green tea does not undergo the oxidation process like other teas and so its shelf life is lesser. It is one of the less processed tea types. Green teas are of many varieties. Some of the popular flavoured green teas are ginger, lemon, jasmine and mint. Unsweetened tea is almost completely calorie-free so it is certainly a preferred drink of choice. Almost everyone enjoys a cup of tea, as it’s a drink that has many flavours to choose from. It is nearly impossible to not find a tea flavour that you won’t enjoy. 

(The author is head of quality control, Ripple Tea, Munnar)