You’ve definitely heard of the gazillion health benefits associated with taking tea regularly but when you tasted it, it tasted more like a bitter medicine than something you would take regularly, let alone “love.”
If that resonated with you, do not give up. You see, you probably took something meant for seasoned tea-takers, or it was just a cup of very badly brewed tea.
Before we get to the best teas for beginners, familiarize yourself with the types of tea first because their names will be mentioned throughout. The common types are:
A detailed discussion regarding the types is beyond our scope here, so we’ll leave it at that.
If you are new to tea-drinking, instead of diving straight into the deep end, you should start with something more welcoming – a ateway tea’ if you would call it that.
Whether you are a coffee drinker looking to substitute it with tea or someone who wants to start taking it to expand your beverage horizons, here are a couple of options:
1. Dragon Well Green Tea
It is a roasted Chinese tea widely known for its health benefits. It has a creamy smell and nutty taste; probably chestnut or hazelnut.
It can also have floral and fruity undertones to it if you steep it correctly.
I would recommend that you go the loose leaf route in order to appreciate it fully as opposed to making it from a teabag. Green teas made from teabags are a hit and miss because they are prone to overstaying on the shelves plus their taste tends to lack in depth.
2. Blood orange (herbal)
It is made from blood oranges blended with apple to add natural sweetness and smooth out the sour taste of the oranges.
Although this tea is decidedly acidic, the fruity flavor is quite apparent. You can add small amounts of natural sweeteners if the acidity comes on too strong.
3. Ginger and Liquorice (herbal)
This caffeine-free variety is perfect for people who have never tasted tea and would like to start with something with a soothing taste. It is spicy and naturally sweet thus doing away with the need to sweeten it with sugar.
As its name suggests, it is made from Ginger and Liquorice – if you are unfamiliar with liquorice, it is a plant known for its sweet flavor and alluring aroma.
If traditional tea varieties have always intimidated you for being bitter, this is a good place to start.
Related Article: Why my Tea so Bitter and Astringent? How to Avoid Bitterness?
4. Imperial Breakfast tea
If you drink tons of coffee every day, this tea will transition you into tea seamlessly. It has a nutty flavor and aroma. It tastes more bitter than most of the other teas on this list.
It is a stimulant though not as potent as coffee – this helps because completely abandoning caffeine is usually rough.
5. Masala Chai
It is commonly referred to as “Chai tea” in the West. This tea variety usually has a black tea such as Ceylon or Assam as its base spiced with a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla.
You can add cream and a sweetener like honey or sugar if that’s your preference. You don’t have to add them if you are okay with the natural taste which is quite flavorful on its own.
Related Article: Keto Masala Chai Tea Recipe
6. Huangshan Mao Feng tea
Yes, that name is a mouthful and it refers to a popular Chinese green tea. In fact, one of the most popular teas in China.
The name translates to “Yellow Mountain Fur Peak” because of the appearance of the tea leaves as they grow.
People like it because of its delicate fruity flavors and numerous health benefits.
It is a perfect fit for beginners because you don’t have to add anything to it – adding new components to tea can easily go wrong.
7. Pumpkin Spice tea
You are probably familiar with the pumpkin spice latte coffee blend but this tea is not affiliated with it. It is a black tea that is blended with fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
Its pumpkin pie undertones are enveloped by the spicy flavors added to it. It is reminiscent of autumn – the perfect time to have a cup of pumpkin spice tea.
Although you can add cream or milk, they are not a good match because milk or cream tend to blunt the rich flavors that it possesses naturally. That being said, you can add a sweetener to accentuate the pumpkin pie flavor.
8. Green Tea Coconut
This is essentially green tea blended with coconut and ginger, lemongrass, and vanilla. It has an oriental feel to it that can be linked to countries in South-East Asia.
Green tea is usually more delicate than black tea. If you do not steep it correctly, however, it can quickly lose its delicate appeal.
Coupled with these ingredients, it is spicy and smooth and the spices add a tropical twist.
If the taste is too much for you, you can add a sweetener to round it off nicely. Then as you get used to it, you can drop the sugar and savor the flavor uninhibited.
9. Earl Grey Tea
It is a black tea flavored with oil extracted from bergamot orange. Bergamot orange, found in Italy and South America, is said to be a cross between bitter orange and lemon.
Bergamot is not only known for its exquisite taste but also its health benefits – good for the heart and the digestive system.
If you don’t mind the sour taste, it is a novel way to drink black tea. Since there are many varieties of black tea the Earl Grey tea can have one of many tastes – you can have different flavors depending on the black tea used. Assam and Darjeeling are ideal for beginners.
10. Earl of Harlem Tea
Although it is a variant of the Earl of Grey tea we just discussed, it is worth mentioning on its own. The base is created by mixing black tea and jasmine tea.
The leaves are smoked hence its charred look. Besides the look, the smoking process adds a distinct smoky-ish layer to the distinct taste of bergamot oil. Bergamot is more hidden in this variant but you can still feel it from afar.
If you have never taken a strong tea before, you can sweeten it to blunt the potent flavor. Once you get used to it, it is very rich on its own. It’s also worth mentioning that milk and cream don’t augur well with it.
11. Oriental Beauty (A Taiwanese Tea)
Also known as Eastern Beauty or Dongfang Meiren, it is a pretty strong Oolong tea that has a surprisingly fruity aroma. You will like it if you prefer your beverages strong.
Its color ranges from bright red to orange.
It is oxidized for longer than normal (not roasted) and the best variant should be insect bitten. Yes, it sounds like a bizarre requirement but you will find insect-bitten tea to be sweeter because the insects infuse it with Terpene.
12. Hot Cinnamon Spice
It is a naturally sweet tea whose base is a black tea mixed with orange peels, cloves, and cinnamon. The sweet flavor comes from those additives.
It has a rich flavor which makes it quite popular with connoisseurs just as much as with new users.
You don’t have to add sugar to it because its own ingredients are sweet enough.
Careful with the Teabags
Many tea experts warn us to stay away from teabags and switch to loose leaf, and with good reason:
- Bagged tea loses a good chunk of the scent and flavor as a result of their processing
- Teabags release tannin more liberally resulting in a slightly more bitter tasting drink
- Teabags sit on shelves for a long time thus losing its taste and wonderful health benefits.
Steeping tea is an art and most people who are new to it mess it up the first time. So, rather than steep your tea, you should ask someone to do it for you. Alternatively, you can visit a high-end tea shop to get a gist of how different varieties should taste like.
Remember, the list is not exhaustive. There are many other good options for beginners out there. If you are new to drinking tea, you will find the scented ones more welcoming than the stronger ones. However, do not restrict yourself particularly if your palate is used to strong flavors.
There’s no harm in trying many blends before you find the ones that you end up loving. Be warned; some varieties are either so rare that you have to comb through a bunch of cheap knockoffs before you find the real deal or so expensive that you have to spend a few times more than you are used to on a beverage.
Herbal teas (do not have actual tea leaves in them) are very popular these days. They don’t lack in taste and are suited to those who want to dive into something healthy and medicinal.
Tea is an amazing beverage because it comes bursting to the seams with helpful oxidants and other useful nutrients and very few calories (if drank as it is). Therefore, it is worth the effort.
Related Article: Top 10 Reasons to Choose Organic Tea