much Tea to Choose from!
Victorian Teashop in Matlock Bath stocks quite a few flavours of
tea but I'm not greatly enthusiastic myself. I much prefer a simple
Earl Grey or a Darjeeling, if you can get the real thing, that is.
Although I sometimes settle for a cup of good old 'normal' tea.
Still, we're here to please, so if you want to mess around with
flavours and exotic teas, here's a bit of information about them.
Workers spreading the leaves
it took tea thousands of years to spread throughout the world from
China, it is now cultivated in over thirty different countries in
different continents, including South Africa, Nepal and Argentina
– and there are no fewer than fifteen hundred varieties. It
is not surprising then that tea is the most consumed drink in the
world, apart from water itself.
Carting tea about
Many new tea cultivars have been developed that can thrive in difficult
conditions, such as drought and high altitude. Tea has 'character',
just like wine and is influenced by many subtle attributes including
the elevation of the plantation, the quality of the soil, the weather
conditions, including wind, temperature and rain. How the tea is
collected is also an important factor.
Workers in the fields
though, all tea comes from one plant, Camellia sinensis.
The differences in white tea, green tea, oolong, black tea and pu-erh
all come from the conditions in which the tea was grown and the
way it was processed. Tea is also blended, and there are the herbal
infusions to consider. We can't list all the tea flavours available,
but the following is a pretty good selection. We begin with some
of the important types of tea.
The classic 'English' flavoured tea. A China black tea blended with
natural bergamot oil to produce the traditional citrus taste that
has now been popular for three centuries. However, the blend is
named after the Second Earl Grey, who was British Prime Minister
in the 1830's, after he reputedly received a gift of tea flavoured
with bergamot oil. The tea proved so popular that Twinings were
given a sample and asked to match it. Thereafter, they marketed
the first 'Earl Grey's tea', as it was called.
This is a similar tea to Earl Grey with a blend of Seville orange,
lemon and bergamot. It was once believed the addition of fruits
would counteract "improper impulses" that tea was widely
believed to have upon the female temperament – I can't think
what they mean!
black tea, originally from the Zheng Shan part of Mount Wuyi in
the Fujian province of China. The 'real' Lapsang Souchong is rare
because Wuyi is a small province. Hence, what may be sold as Lapsang
Souchong may not be the actual tea.
Lapsang souchong is withered over pine or cedar fires, pan-fried,
rolled and oxidized before being fully dried in bamboo baskets over
burning pine. This results in a smoky tea with an earthy aroma and
a flavour of campfire smoke, which overlies the flavour of the black
black tea, grown in Sri Lanka, (formally Ceylon) has a citrus-like
crisp aroma and is used both in blends and unmixed form. The production
of black tea in Ceylon began after a deadly fungus destroyed most
of the coffee crop on the island. James Taylor, already experienced
in tea cultivation from his time in North India, became the father
of 'Ceylon Tea' after the first tea crops were sown there in 1867
on 19 acres of land. He experimented with the cultivation of tea
on his estate, rolling leaves by hand and firing them over charcoal
tea is traditionally prized above all other black teas, especially
in Britain and countries of the former British Empire. It originates
from Darjeeling in West Bengal, India. When properly brewed the
product is a lightly coloured liquid with an aroma of flowers and
possessing astringent, tannic characteristics with a certain added
Again though, what is 'real' Darjeeling is a problem. Worldwide
sales greatly exceed the estimated production. To help matters,
the Tea Board of India administers a 'Darjeeling certification mark'
Carting it about again, this time with India Elephants
This is a tea that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing.
Green tea is popular in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea,
and the Middle East, but only recently has it become more widespread.
The West traditionally consumes black tea, such as some of the above,
which is made from leaves more heavily oxidized than the white and
of green tea promote its medicinal benefits, which have been described
for over a thousand years. The 'Book of Tea', written by
Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea can have
a positive effect. He discusses tea's medicinal qualities, which
are said to include "easing the effects of alcohol, acting
as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst, eliminating
indigestion and improving urinary and brain function."
In more recent times, studies have investigated a link between the
consumption of green tea and a lower incidence in a range of cancers
– with mixed results. However, green tea enthusiasts believe
it to be useful for many disorders and beneficial treatments, such
as: improved cognition, reducing certain neurodegenerative diseases
such as Alzheimer's, preventing and treating cancer, treating arthritis,
treating multiple sclerosis, preventing the degradation of cell
membranes by neutralizing the spread of free radicals, which occurs
during the process of oxidation, increasing fat oxidation to help
the body use fat as an energy source and to raise metabolism and
lower LDL cholesterol.
is also believed to prevent lowered T-Cells due to HIV. In lab tests,
EGCG, found in green tea, was seen to prevent HIV from attacking
T-Cells. However, it is not yet known if this has any effect on
is a traditional Chinese type of tea between green and black, so
far as oxidation is concerned. However, the flavour is more like
green tea without the stridently grassy taste. Oolong should be
brewed strong and is a little bitter, but leaves a faintly sweet
tea is made from new growth and young leaves. The leaves are steamed
or fried almost immediately after harvesting to de-activate oxidation.
They are then dried to retain the high concentrations of catechins,
which are present in fresh tea leaves. White tea is a specialty
of the Chinese province Fujian.
tea is aged, post-fermented and usually compressed into shapes called
'bricks'. Its name comes from Pu-erh in South West China. Pu-erhs
have an earthy taste that becomes stronger and more complex with
age. Some pu-erh teas can be over fifty years old and are generally
said to lower cholesterol, aid digestion and cure hangovers.
Herbal infusions, or tisanes as they
are also called, are not strictly teas in the normal sense. They
are made from plants other than Camellia
sinensis and they do
not contain caffeine.
A refreshingly light infusion that provides antioxidants to help
cleanse and protect the body. Soothing Honeybush combines perfectly
with the delicate citrus tang of lemon to create an infusion that
is both calming and revitalising.
The calming effect of Camomile with its light, comforting taste
is an ideal accompaniment to sleep preparation.
Ginger & Mandarin
A stimulating infusion, combining natural ginger and the complementary
citrus flavour of mandarin. Ginger has been used in traditional
remedies for thousands of years.
A lively blend that brings out the full taste of ripe blackcurrants
and is designed to uplift.
Blackcurrant, Ginseng & Vanilla
A reviving infusion with a lively taste. It is designed to give
a boost and is recommended for the afternoon.
Camomile & Limeflowers
A relaxing floral blend with a delicate citrus taste that you might
try in the evening to calm and sooth the body and soul.
Camomile & Spearmint
Another calming infusion with a refreshing taste that is recommended
in the mornings. The renowned digestive properties of spearmint
perfectly complement the reputed soothing effects of camomile.
Camomile & Spiced Apple
This calming infusion, delicately spiced with cinnamon can be enjoyed
at any time of the day. Camomile brings serenity while the cinnamon
is reputed to warm the body on a cold day.
Camomile, Honey & Vanilla
This soothing blend with its hint of honey and vanilla is recommended
as a lunchtime drink. Something to calm you and get you ready for
Cranberry, Raspberry & Elderflower
A tasty and uplifting blend that is not only refreshing; elderflower
is believed to help reduce the symptoms of colds and flu, while
cranberry is reputed to have detoxifying properties.
Echinacea & Raspberry
An invigorating blend with a fruity twist that is recommended for
any time of day.
Elderflower, Strawberry &
This is a delicate and fragrant blend that is refreshing at any
With its zesty lemon tang, this invigorating infusion is designed
to give you a lift in the morning or afternoon.
Mandarin & Lychee
A delicately sweet infusion with a fruity flavour that is recommended
to be refreshing, whatever time of day you choose to drink it.
Orange, Mango & Cinnamon
A delicious blend of fruits with an exotic spice that combines the
taste of the tropics with the renowned warming properties of cinnamon.
Peach & Passion fruit
A revitalising tropical mix with a fragrant and fruity taste. It
is designed to put a spring in your step.
Pear & Guava
A deliciously exotic blend combining the flavours of two succulent
fruits which makes a luxuriously soothing drink recommended for
Pink Grapefruit, Mandarin &
This tea has a bright and refreshing citrus taste which is designed
to perk you up in the morning.
For centuries, the distinctive aromatic tang of peppermint has been
renowned for its digestive properties and can be prepared hot or
chilled with ice to revitalise and awaken the senses.
Raspberry, Strawberry & Loganberry
A blend of soft fruits that is stimulating at any time of day.
Strawberry & Mango
Recommended for the mornings. This tea has has a fruity, exotic
taste with a sweet, uplifting quality.
Blackberry & Nettle
A delicious and revitalising blend with a full flavour, making it
an invigorating evening drink. Nettle is also believed to have cleansing
and detoxifying properties.
The process of rolling tea leaves
back to top >