There’s nothing like ringing in the new year with a warm cuppa. Whether you are an avid tea lover looking for something fresh, or a beginner tea drinker who doesn’t know where to start, team teapasar’s guide featuring our Top 10 tea recommendations will offer some tips for the best sips in 2021. From traditional pu-erh tea to the popular Japanese green tea, there is always a perfect blend for everyone.
Introducing exquisite teas that are not part of the regular repertoire of blacks and greens, read on to find out surprising facts about the different teas and how they can benefit our health with every brew.
1. Saffron Tea
Saffron is known as the most expensive spice in the world and can cost anywhere between US$1000 to US$11,000 PER kg! Its high price tag may be attributed to the fact that saffron can only be harvested from the stigma of Saffron Crocus flowers – and each flower only produces three stigmas. This roughly translates to harvesting almost 380,000 saffron flowers just to get 1kg of saffron. To add to this predicament, saffron can only be harvested by hand, due to its delicate nature.
Despite its exorbitant price, it is highly sought after by many because of its extensive health benefits. For one, saffron contains antioxidants, which are known to help improve inflammation, aid digestion, and elevate your mood. Combine saffron and tea, and you will be in for a whole new tea experience.
teapasar recommends: You can try Botanatea’s Herbal Tea with Apricot, Mango and Greek Saffron, a blend that contains lots of vitamins and minerals. Alternatively, Udyan Tea’s Kashmiri Saffron Kahwa Green Tea is a traditional Kahwa green tea blended with Indian spices, including exquisite Kashmiri Saffron, which has a unique refreshing aroma and sweet-spicy flavour.
2. Chamomile Tea
For centuries, chamomile has been used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mild astringent and healing medicinal herb. The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids that contribute to its medicinal properties. It can be used to alleviate wounds, ulcers, eczema, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker sores, neuralgia, sciatica, rheumatic pain, haemorrhoids, mastitis and other ailments.
Today, chamomile is more commonly known as a soothing remedy for the mind and body. Researchers believe that chamomile tea function like benzodiazepines which are prescription drugs that help to reduce anxiety and induce sleep. So, if you ever struggle to fall asleep, try taking a cup of chamomile tea before bed!
teapasar recommends: The Calming Blend by whitetree is a gentle blend of chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm and other tisanes. It focuses on alleviating symptoms such as restless sleep, stress and mental fatigue. The 1872 Clipper Tea Co.’s Anti-Stress blend, as its name suggests, helps to calm and relax you while restoring well-being – all of which are so important in today’s hectic pace of life!
3. Indian Holy Basil
Indian Holy Basil, otherwise known as tulsi, isn’t the same kind of basil as the one that you would add into your marinara sauce or a delicious bowl of Thai basil minced pork. This plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and has a history of being used as Indian medicine. It is high in nutritional value as it contains vitamin A and C, calcium, zinc, iron and chlorophyll. Other health benefits include helping to relieve stress, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, easing inflammation and joint pains, and protecting the digestive system.
Combine this with green tea and you get a flavourful tea that is both stimulating and calming but also packed with nutrients.
teapasar recommends: The Hillcart Tale’s Indian Holy Basil is a delicate and soothing green tea blend infused with tulsi. The soft flavours of green tea blends seamlessly with the sweet, spicy and floral notes of basil. The Ayurvedic properties of tulsi also helps to promote calmness and lower the body’s heat levels.
For hundreds of years, chrysanthemum has been used in Chinese medicine to treat a multitude of health problems such as chest pains, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, headaches, inflammations and colds.
Made from the dried chrysanthemum flowers which have a signature golden-yellow hue, this tea has a floral flavour reminiscent of chamomile, with a subtle sweetness that is light to the palate.
teapasar recommends: Try Infusion-de-vie’s Recover; carefully blended with fresh golden chrysanthemum flower buds, natural sun-baked goji berries, and premium ginseng roots, this caffeine-free tea will surely give you an energy boost. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something different, Kindred Teas’ Chrysanthemum Pu-Erh Tuocha contains tiny pu-erh bricks with a light dusting of chrysanthemum petals. With light floral notes that complement the full-bodied post-fermented tea, this rich and complex flavour will definitely keep you coming back for more.
5. Jute Tea
Native to the Bengal Region, Jute is a leafy vegetable, long known as a traditional medicinal plant among Bengalese natives. It is packed with lots of vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, C and E – which helps prevent eye disorders and loss of vision, fight colds and cases of flu, treat inflammation, and supports cell growth and skin health. Jute is also high in fibre and is lauded as one of the most important fibre crops around the world.
Fun fact: legend has it that Cleopatra once used jute leaves and infusions in ancient Egypt to preserve her enchantingly youthful appearance!
teapasar recommends: Try the world’s first Jute Tea, a healthy, caffeine-free innovation with an exotic taste.
6. Mulberry Leaf Tea
If you enjoy eating the Mulberry fruit, which has been a popular superfood in recent years, you ought to try the Mulberry leaf. For centuries, the Mulberry leaf has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly as a herbal tea. The leaves are loaded with high nutrition-containing compounds like polyphenol antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
With such a high nutritional value, sipping on this perfect pairing between the Mulberry leaf and tea has a variety of health benefits. It has the potential to lower blood sugar and insulin, which is perfect for people who do not want to drink something sweet.
teapasar recommends: Try Kindred Teas’ Mulberry Leaf infusion, a mildly sweet and smooth cup that tastes amazing both hot or iced.
7. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos, otherwise known as “red bush”, originated from the western coast of South Africa. Characterised by a natural sweetness with a slight nutty taste, rooibos is known for its high levels of antioxidants which include aspalathin and quercetin. Interestingly, it is also the only known natural source of the antioxidant aspalathin, which animal studies suggest may have anti-diabetic effects. Moreover, it’s completely free from caffeine!
teapasar recommends: Chill Tea Tokyo contains a blend of Rooibos, hibiscus and strawberry, which culminates into a wonderfully decadent and refreshing cup of tea. Alternatively, A.muse Projects’ Noir Tea, which is a tribute to the most highly-prized wine in the world, boasts a tea blend that mimics the light-bodied, fruity and fun flavour of the Pinot Noir.
8. Yaupon Tea
Yaupon, or yaupon holly, is the only known indigenous plant native to North America that produces caffeine. According to a study, the consumption of the yaupon holly can possibly reduce inflammation in the body. Yaupon does not contain tannins; this means that the tea never turns bitter, nor produces a dry mouthfeel. For avid tea drinkers, yaupon can be re-steeped several times without losing its flavour or becoming unpalatable; as such, a small portion can last you throughout the day!
teapasar recommends: Beginners to Yaupon Tea can try Yaupon Brother’s take on the traditional blend that is both mellow and sweet, grassy and smooth. Catspring Yaupon also has its own medium roast yaupon, inspired by the Lost Maples – a forest in Texas.
9. Echinacea Tea
Echinacea is a herbaceous flowering plant that has been used to fight colds and cases of flu. This species contains phenols, which are active substances that control the activity of a range of enzymes and cell receptors. This protects the plant from infections and ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage. Phenols have antioxidant properties, which may be good for human health.
Echinacea is sold in pharmacies as supplements, and there is a belief that it helps alleviate pain, improve health and relieve skin problems.
teapasar recommends: Unlike most teas, Echinacea tea has more of an acquired taste. To make it more palatable, Bodhi’s Immunitea adds a balance of sweetness and sourness by incorporating Echinacea and the flavours of spearmint, elderflower, ginger root, elderberry and lemongrass.
10. Sencha with Matcha
Calling all green tea lovers who can’t decide between sencha or matcha – you can enjoy the best of both worlds with Chill Tea Tokyo’s Organic Sencha Matcha Tea!
Sencha and matcha both come from the same plant species, but what makes them different is the way in which they are grown. Sencha, like most teas, are grown out in the sun, whereas matcha is grown by covering it with straw or bamboo mats. This serves the purpose of ‘starving’ the plants so that they consume more sunlight, thereby increasing its chlorophyll intake which gives matcha its unique deep green colour.
As both types of green tea have their own hosts of health benefits, you can expect them to be rich in minerals and antioxidants. Sencha, with its refreshing grassy flavour, carries hints of sweetness that complements aromatic matcha. This results in a delicately balanced cup of tea with bold umami flavours and a full-bodied taste profile.
teapasar recommends: Taste the refreshing blend of sencha and matcha with Chill Tea Tokyo’s Organic Sencha with Matcha Tea.
Thirs-tea for fun new options or need more convincing to add tea into your daily routine? Stay tuned for teapasar’s up-and-coming series, Tea’s for Thursdays on our Facebook and Instagram pages to learn more about this comforting beverage.
Who knows, you might just find your new favourite cuppa!