Earl grey tea

Everything you need to know about your favourite teas

From matcha to rooibos, here’s a breakdown of all the teas lingering in your cupboard

By ,
Everything you need to know about your favourite teas

The tea and coffee aisle can be a mys-tea-fying thing. Does green tea actually have any health benefits? How are you really supposed to drink Chai tea?

And with matcha, charcoal lattes and turmeric teas becoming more and more popular, how are you supposed to know what to buy?

This National Tea Day, we asked the brewing experts over at Typhoo to give us some insight on some of the oldies and newbies of the tea world. From matcha to rooibos and Earl Grey, here’s a breakdown of all the teas you're more likely to stumble across in the supermarket, where they come from, and how they’re best served so you can try something new without feeling daunted.

Green tea

Flavours: Crisp, strong, refreshing
Brew time: 2-3 minutes, according to preference
How to serve: On its own, or with sugar or honey and a slice of lemon
Caffeinated? Yes

Where does it come from?

All green tea originally came from China, but today it’s produced in a number of different countries around the world.”

Does it have any other uses?

“There’s a dish in Japan where it’s poured over rice. And there's a Vietnamese dish where steeped green tea leaves are wrapped around pork loin to infuse into the meat.”

Matcha tea

Flavours: Bitter with some umami notes
How to serve: On its own, or mixed into hot milk to make a latte
Caffeinated? Yes

Where does it come from?

“Japan is most renowned for its matcha, although some matcha is produced in China.”

How do you brew it?

“Matcha is made up of ground steamed green tea leaves, and so it isn’t brewed as such but dissolved into the hot water. The Japanese matcha ceremony involves a great deal of whisking the powder into the water using a special bamboo whisk. If you don’t have that, simply add some hot water to the powder and give it a good whisk with a fork or spoon.”

Does it have any other uses?

“Matcha is high in catechins - a type of antioxidant that boosts the immune system and helps to fight off coughs and colds.

"Because it’s powdered, it’s great for blending into smoothies and juices for a hit of colour and a pop of herbal flavour."

Matcha is also great for giving baking a beautiful lime green colour, like in our tropical cheesecake with granola base.

Redbush (rooibos) tea

Flavours: Slightly sweet with woody notes
Brew time: 5-6 minutes
How to serve: On its own, with lemon, or with milk and sugar
Caffeinated? No

Where does it come from?

Rooibos is native to the Western Cape in South Africa and it grows exclusively there in the same plantations it’s been grown in for generations.”

Does it have any benefits?

“Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, making it the perfect evening drink to help you wind down before bed.”

Does it have any other uses?

"Rooibos is caffeine free, making it a great evening or pre-bedtime option. Rooibos also contans aspalathin - an antioxidant that helps to balance glucose levels - as well as calcium, manganese and fluoride, which all help to improve bone health.

“In the summer, rooibos also makes a great base for iced tea. Prepare the bags using hot water as you usually would, pop the container in the fridge to cool then pour over ice. You can add lemon or sugar, or mix with orange juice to make a fruity tea infusion. Rooibos can also be used as a base for a marinade, and it’s believed to be great for tenderising meat before cooking.”

Chai tea

Flavours: Sweet spices with the crisp background of black tea
Brew time: 2-4 minutes
How to serve: On its own, or with milk and/or sugar
Caffeinated? Yes

Where does it come from?

Spiced Chai tea is a firm favourite in India where it’s traditionally sold by street vendors, or ‘chai wallas’, who brew tea and mixed spiced together with sugar and milk.”

Does it have any other uses?

“For a more indulgent drink, brew the tea in hot milk with a drop of honey for a sweet Chai latte. Alternatively, cool the Chai latte in the fridge then blend with ice or ice cream for a delicious milkshake.”

Earl grey tea

Flavours: Zesty, citrussy and floral with the background of black tea
Brew time: 3-5 minutes
How to serve: On its own, or with a dash of milk and/or sugar
Caffeinated? Yes

Where does it come from?

Earl Grey Tea takes its name from the 19th Century British statesman who reportedly once received a gift of black tea flavoured with bergamot oil. The tea would have traditionally come from China, but today it could be a blend of teas from different origins.”

Does it have any other uses?

“Earl Grey tea works well in baking — soak dried fruit in the hot tea for a fruit loaf with a zesty kick. Alternatively, empty a teabag into a pestle and mortar and finely grind it. Add the powdered tea to cake and biscuit mixtures for a delicate floral flavour.”

Earl Grey also makes a grey base for stocks and soups. Try our salmon pho with Earl Grey broth for a zesty noodle soup with a citrus kick!

Peppermint tea

Flavours: Fresh and minty with herbal notes
Brew time: 5-10 minutes
How to serve: On its own
Caffeinated? No

Where does it come from?

“Peppermint is grown across the world, but the Middle East and Morocco are best known for their fresh peppermint tea."

Does it have any other uses?

"Refreshing mint tea tastes great hot or cold. Brew the tea as usual then cool in the fridge and pour over ice for an icy and refreshing drink.”

"Mint tea is naturally caffeine-free, making it a great bedtime option."

Turmeric tea

Flavours: Aromatic, earthy, spicy
Brew time: 2-4 minutes approximately
How to serve: On its own, or blended into other tea leaves
Caffeinated? Depends on the product

Where does it come from?

“This bright yellow root is native to India and South-East Asia, and can be found in hundreds of food and drink recipes across these regions. More recently, turmeric has gained popularity in the UK and can be found in everything from breads to lattes.”

Does it have any other uses?

“Turmeric is a common ingredient in many recipes in Asian cuisine, including curries, dhals, and even pastries. For a creamy alternative to hot chocolate, add a large pinch of ground turmeric to a saucepan of warming milk with sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves, some black peppercorns and a drop of honey.

"The root naturally contains curcumin - an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits. If you're consuming turmeric for its health benefits, try adding a pinch of black pepper. Pepper contains piperine - a natural substance that improves the absorption of curcumin into the body significantly."

Inspired to find your perfect match-a in the tea department? Find our full range of teabags at Asda or pop into your local store.