Discovering the Best of Asian Teas
There's no denying that tea has played an important part in Asian culture for centuries in both the health and social aspects. Enjoyed by anyone and everyone including royalty dating back to ancient times, it surpasses coffee as one the most consumed drinks in the world (just after water).
Tea has great health benefits with green tea touted as being the most healthy out of all the teas - no wonder the Japanese have the longest long life span in the world! Here's some of the great things about tea:
- Antioxidants - substances that can protect you from the damages of free radicals thus may reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease and some cancers
- Tea has a good source of minerals
- It's comforting and nourishing - you can just feel it relax you as soon as you drink it
- Tea is often served during social settings (I mean who doesn't want to gossip over a cuppa) and celebrations
Discover the different types of tea
Caffeinated tea includes green, oolong and black tea varieties - these are all made from the same plant (camellia senensis) - that's right you read that right - even though these all have different flavours and aromas they are from the same plant! They are different because of the level of oxidisation they go through - how each type is processed. As soon as the leaves are plucked oxidisation starts. Green tea is mostly unoxidised, oolong is partially and black tea is fully oxidised.
And then there's herbal teas. These differ to caffeinated ones, in that they are made from different plants and made from the leaves, roots, flowers, seeds and/or other components of the plant eg. peppermint tea is made from leaves of the mint plant. In Chinese culture, herbal teas are used for their medicinal and health benefits - some more well known to make you feel better rather than tasting nice - put your hands up if you grew up not liking 'fu cha' (not the brick tea but loosely translated as bitter tea - the awful bitter tasting herbal tea that mums fed their children to make them feel better).
Personally I enjoy a cup every morning. My child health nurse said to me when I became a first time mum to do something for myself every day. It's one of the best pieces of advice someone has given me to look after myself. It's my daily ritual - enjoy my favourite 'cuppa' in my favourite cup (I actually collect beautiful tea cups). In addition, whenever I have a headache, the first thing I do is sip a cup of hot tea and it makes it go away - no joke! Generally I have a cup of either English Breakfast or green tea.
There are so many varieties around and it can be confusing to choose one. We breakdown some of the popular and well known ones below.
Discover the range of amazing Chinese herbal and black teas we have available today:
- Chrysanthemum - great for reducing cold symptoms and a popular tea to have at yum cha.
- Hakka Lei Cha - this is actually a soup! Meaning 'crushed' or 'pounded' tea. Commonly made from oolong tea, crushed puffed rice, an array of roasted nuts and seeds, and mung beans - packed with nutrients.
- Malaysian Chinese herbal teas - bringing out the best of the natural ingredients to help combat various ailments such as cold symptoms.
- Tangerine peel tea - this one is my go to whenever I feel the onset of a cold/sore throat. Stops it in its tracks. The older the peel the better!
- Blue Butterfly Pea Flower Tea - this is a superfood tea and used by Chris Hemsworth's health and fitness company - read what's so awesome about this here.
- Teh Tarik - the famous pulled tea highly popular in Malaysia and Singapore.
Not a tea drinker, no sweat, we got you covered if you're a coffee lover instead! Read our article on what makes Malaysian coffee so unique and so good!
IMPORTANT NOTE: As with everything, consume things in moderation. Though tea in general has great benefits if you have too much of it, it can cause negative side effects such as digestive issues and disrupted sleep.