Every day, the population of the world drinks approximately 6 billion cups of tea. It is consumed in various ways- hot or cold, with sweeteners or without- in the most delectable flavours, in the form of popular teas. While the history of tea itself is shrouded in mystery and myth, its current and long lasting popularity is a force to be reckoned with. One of the reasons for its popularity is that people love the choices available in tea.
The simplicity of combining tea, herbs and spices during the brewing process offers brew masters an endless array of flavors to play with. Because of this dexterity in tea’s nature, new things like Bubble tea, Cheese tea and Nitro tea, making the headlines everywhere. However, there are some popular teas that we look at in the menu and order without blinking, because we know that they will taste amazing. There are some blends and flavours that are just timeless.
Some Of The Most Popular Teas In The World:
English Breakfast Tea:
In 1843, Richard Davis, an Englishman, moved to America on a determined quest to be the best in the tea business. This, ultimately, gave rise to one of the most popular teas in the world- The English Breakfast Tea. In 1844, Davis used the Fujian province Congou tea as the base, blended it with the Golden Orange Pekoe and Pouchong, and named it the ‘English Breakfast tea’. Marketed as ‘one of the most popular teas in England’, this new blend was unrivalled for a while, until another rival purchased his blend in bulk, which was examined by Chinese experts and reproduced. However, after the 2nd Opium War in 1856, a ban placed on all trade with China led to the customisation of a new blend of this tea. The new English Breakfast tea was a mix of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan teas and was even more popular than the previous one. This tea is revered for its heavy malty flavour, with notes of honey and a smoky taste. While the texture of this tea is smooth with rich colour, it has a crisp mouthfeel. As the most favoured morning beverage all over the world, not only does it open your eyes but also adds the freshness to your day’s start.
Earl Grey Tea:
One of the very first flavoured teas ever created, every tea lover has tried this tea at least once in their lifetime. Flavoured with bergamot orange oil, the Earl Grey tea is amongst the most popular teas of the world. The initial accounts of this tea date back to 1820s in England. However, the first commercial advertisement of Earl Grey appeared in the 1880s by Charlton & Co. Named after the Prime Minister of Britain in 1830s, Charles Grey (2nd Earl Grey), this tea was believed to be created for him as a diplomatic perquisite. Despite this, there are few other stories that travel around the origins of the Earl Grey tea. Some say that the tea master used bergamot as a flavoring to balance the lime flavor in the water of the Grey estate. Another version speaks of how the blend was created by accident, when a gift of tea and bergamot oranges were shipped together from China and the flavour of the fruit was absorbed by the tea. Despite its confusing history and origins, there is no denying the fact that the Earl Grey tea is a fan favourite. The flavour of this tea is slightly smokey with hints of citrus. Made with a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas, it is so popular that many variations of this tea has become a hit in the market like Lady Grey tea, Yorkshire Grey etc.
When we talk of popular teas, missing the masala chai is a sin. A tea found in almost every coffee and tea house in the world, masala chai and India share a bond steeped in tales of centuries old royalty and herbal medicine. It is said to have been created by an Indian king as a cleansing, spicy- sweet drink without any tea leaves. However, in 1853, when tea leaves made their way into local markets, it gave rise to the now known blend of masala chai, complete with spices, milk, sweeteners and tea. Initially, it wasn’t as widely consumed as today, for black tea wasn’t easy to afford for the local buyer. Things changed drastically as the CTC tea was introduced into the markets in 1960s, and masala chai became the neighborhood’s ‘go to drink’. The CTC’s bold, tannin rich flavour sat well with the existing sweet and spiciness of the drink. From an antioxidant rich base to immunity boosting properties, Masala chai is loaded with benefits for drinkers. Today, an average person consumes 3-4 cups of masala chai every day.
Mint Green Tea:
A kind of tea that can be drunk both hot and iced, Mint green tea is as popular as popular teas can get. Not only admired for its refreshing taste, mint green tea is also appreciated for its indigestion and stress relieving properties, among many other benefits. Initially known by the name- Maghrebi mint tea/ Moroccan mint tea- it is a simple combination of mint leaves and green tea (sometimes black). The earliest references to this tea date back to 12th century in the accounts of scholar and traveller, Ibn Battuta. In Maghreb, it was made with a mixture of tea leaves exported from overseas and mint that was locally grown, making it one of the first examples of globalisation of cuisine.
Grown in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, Darjeeling tea is one of the most popular teas from India. The origin of the Indian tea plantation was from the hills of Darjeeling, when in 1841, Archibald Campbell brought the plant seeds there as an experiment. By 1850s, tea was commercialised and the first tea garden in Darjeeling was opened in 1856. Processed in all forms, it has a thin bodied, light coloured liquor, a floral aroma with a tinge of astringent tannic and musky spiciness. Darjeeling tea comes in various varieties and grades, namely: First Flush, In Between, Second Flush, Monsoon Tea and Autumnal Flush. When sold, these teas are graded on the basis of size and quality into four basic grades- Whole leaf, Broken leaf, Fannings and Dust. Currently, there are 87 licensed estates spanning over the hills of Darjeeling and producing the finest grade its popular teas for all of the world.
This famous tea has been around for centuries, with traces of its use dating back to over 2000 years. Famously called the ‘herbal medicine from the past with a bright future’, chamomile’s history begins in Egypt, 1550 BC. The flower multitasked as a remedy for fever, as well as a cosmetic product. Later on, the Romans used the flower to flavour drinks and incense. Chamomile is one of the most popular teas out there, considering that its average consumption is more than a million cups per day. Also known as the “Plant’s Physician” chamomile tea has different medical properties. It works as an Anti-inflammatory and Anti-cancer agent, all the while aiding in relief from cardiovascular and digestive ailments. In addition to this, chamomile tea has helped people with dermal conditions and osteoporosis for ages. Recently, it has been used as a remedy for anxiety and sleeping disorders. Not only is this tea filled with benefits for the human body, but also has a culturally rich past, which makes it a favourite of people all around the world.
While the list of popular teas is longer than this, there is no denying that the popularity of tea is skyrocketing day by day. Trends come and go. But being the most widely consumed beverage after water, tea is here to stay.