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A-Z List of types of teas

different teas
Chai tea or oolong tea? Herbal tea or caffeinated? There's a wide variety of different types of teas! Learn which is best for you from descriptions and benefits.
From oolong to classic breakfast, there are so many different types of tea to choose from. So, if you’re struggling to find the perfect pick for you, you’re in the right place.

There are lots of things to consider when trying a new tea. Do you want caffeinated tea? Do you like it with milk? Do you want it to support a specific health area?

You get it, it can become pretty overwhelming! That's why we’ve created an A-Z list of types of tea to give you the full picture before you make your choice.

From oolong to classic breakfast, there are so many different types of tea to choose from. So, if you’re struggling to find the perfect pick for you, you’re in the right place.

There are lots of things to consider when trying a new tea. Do you want caffeinated tea? Do you like it with milk? Do you want it to support a specific health area?

You get it, it can become pretty overwhelming! That's why we’ve created an A-Z list of types of tea to give you the full picture before you make your choice.

What are the different types of teas?

The different types of tea can be broken down into five groups:

But there is a vast range of teas within those groups too, not to mention herbal teas, which we’ve listed below.

Alfalfa tea

Kicking things off with alfalfa (Medicago sativa), this is a type of herb which can be used to make tea. The tea is made by drying the leaves and seeds of the herb and brewing it in hot water. Strangely, it’s also been used as feed for livestock, but it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for humans too.1

Flavour: Those who drink alfalfa tea describe it as having a mild, earthy taste, with a subtle vegetable hint, making it an ideal warming drink for a cold winter's day.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Ashwagandha tea

A part of the night shade family, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been used to make tea for many years in Ayurvedic remedies. It's often been used to help manage stress, support concentration, and increase energy.2 It’s also what is known as an adaptogen – aka a natural herb which helps your body to adapt to stress.3,4

Flavour: An acquired taste, ashwagandha tea is said to have a very earthy flavour, so it is often used with fruit extract or honey.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Assam tea

A UK favourite, assam tea is a type of black tea, which is often used to make the English breakfast variety alongside some Sri-Lankan and African types. It is made from Camellia sinensis var. Assamica leaves and is said to possess antioxidant properties.5

Flavour: It is often described as having a rich and malty flavour and goes well with a dash of milk.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Black

Burdock root tea

Native to Europe and Northern Asia, Burdock is a root vegetable that has been used in holistically for many years. Various studies have shown that it contains various types of antioxidants such as quercetin, luteolin and phenolic acids – as well as blood detoxing properties.6,7

Flavour: Burdock root tea has an earthy flavour like many other teas but is said to be naturally sweet too.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Chai tea

Chai (or masala chai) is a type of sweet and spicy tea that has been used in Ayurvedic practises for centuries. It is usually made from a combination of cinnamon, black tea, ginger, cardamom, fennel, and cloves, which is what gives it its distinctive flavour. The ginger in chai tea may also provide anti-nausea effects.8

Flavour: Chai tea has a warming spicy flavour, with a hint of sweetness, making it a popular beverage in cafes today.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Black

Chamomile tea

Chamomile is a herb that comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family. The flowers are dried and then infused into hot water to make chamomile tea. There are quite a few benefits associated with chamomile tea.

The main one is that it may contribute to maintaining normal sleep and it contains naturally occurring antioxidants.9 Chamomile may also support digestion.10

Flavour: Chamomile has a mild and light taste and is lightly scented and flowery. There’s also a slight earthiness. The tea itself is a light-yellow colour.11

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Ceylon tea

Made in the Sri-Lankan highlands, Ceylon tea is another popular tea option from the Camellia sinensis plant. It also contains high levels of multiple antioxidants, including: myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.12 

Flavour: The key note in Ceylon tea is citrus and it has a full-bodied consistency.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Black, White, Oolong & Green

Dandelion tea

You may think of dandelions as the cheerful-looking weeds in your garden, but it actually makes an impressive herbal tea as well!

It can be made in one of two ways; one is by infusing the plant leaves and the other is with roasted dandelion roots. It's been suggested that it helps to reduce water weight and promote liver health.13,14

Flavour: Roasted dandelion root offers a smokier toasted flavour, while dandelion leaf tea has a more delicate, sweet taste.15

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Darjeeling tea

Another tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant, Darjeeling is often considered the top dog when it comes to this type of tea. Darjeeling tea contains a range of aromatic compounds which is why it is considered to be the best of the best when it comes to quality, flavour, and aroma.16,17,18

Flavour: Fans of Darjeeling say that it has a sweet, musky taste, with delicate mossy and fruity notes too.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Black

Earl grey

Also known as bergamot tea, Earl Grey is a type of tea that combines black tea with bergamot orange extract. This is what gives it its unique flavour and aroma. But that’s not all, it also contains a range of antioxidants and polyphenols from both the tea and the bergamot extract.19,20,21 This means that it may be able to help your body manage oxidative stress from free radical damage.22

Flavour: Since Earl Grey tea contains bergamot, it has a strong citrus and floral flavour.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Black

Fennel tea

Originating from the Mediterranean, fennel has been grown and used for centuries as a medicinal plant. It is the seeds from the plant which are used to make a tea with a strong yet relaxing aroma. It also boasts antimicrobial properties, which means that it may help to support your immune system.23

Flavour: It has a mild aniseed flavour, leaving a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Fenugreek tea

Used for many years in traditional medicine, fenugreek seeds are often taken in supplement form - but did you know it comes in a tea format, too? Throughout history, this clover-like herb has been used to help with a range of different health reasons, from skin conditions to inducing labour.24

Flavour: Fenugreek tea is said to have a nutty, maple syrup-like flavour.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Ginger tea

A well-known beverage used to help with nausea, coughs and colds, ginger tea is another popular choice.25 It is made by combining slices of fresh ginger root with boiling water, so it is a super simple option if you’re tight for time.

Flavour: Ginger tea offers a lovely spicy, warming flavour.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herb

Green tea

Although green tea originated in the East, Western societies have adopted it into their lifestyle. In fact, green tea is now available in a variety of different formats if you’re not as keen on its original flavour. Considered a very healthy drink, green tea is said to offer a range of health benefits, which is likely down to its nutritious plant compounds like polyphenols.26

Flavour: Green tea is often described as having a semi-sweet, grassy, vegetal taste.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Green

Hibiscus tea

This crimson red beverage is made from parts of the Hibiscus plant that have been dried and then added to boiling water. Like with a lot of the other teas we’ve mentioned, hibiscus tea is full of beneficial antioxidants and possesses antibacterial properties.27,28

Flavour: People describe Hibiscus tea as having a tart, cranberry-like flavour.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Jasmine tea

Usually based on green tea, jasmine tea is a delicate option that should offer the same kind of benefits, but with a slightly different flavour. Originating from China, this beverage has long been used as a welcome gesture to guests – and remains a well-loved option today.

Flavour: Complementing the bitter taste of the base tea, jasmine tea has a sweet, floral flavour.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Green (sometimes in white or black varieties)

Kombucha tea

Okay, hear us out. Maybe the most different out of all the teas, kombucha is actually a fermented tea that is fizzy! But that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. In fact, kombucha tea also contains antioxidants and potentially even probiotics too.29 It’s made by combining certain strains of bacteria, sugar, and yeast with green or black tea.30

Flavour: Kombucha has a slightly tart, vinegar-like taste with a hint of sweetness.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Green or Black

Lemon balm tea

Lemon balm, also called Melissa Officinalis, is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the same family as mint.

You’ll most commonly find it growing in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia; it's grown around the world, too. Lemon balm has been traditionally used for many years to improve mood and boost brain power. It’s believed to be able to help reduce mild anxiety and support sleep and indigestion.31,32,33,34

Flavour: As the name suggests, it tastes citrusy (like lemons), but with a hint of mint. It also goes wonderfully well with honey, agave syrup and a dash of lemon juice.

But if you had to describe it in one word? Well, that word would be… refreshing.35

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Matcha tea

Like many other teas in this list, matcha tea originally comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but it’s grown differently to other teas. Interestingly, for the last three weeks of its growth, it’s grown in the shade which causes an overproduction of chlorophyll. This is what gives it the bright green colour.36

Flavour: Matcha tea is described to have a mellow, grassy, and nutty flavour.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Green

Nettle tea

Coming from the leaves of the nettle shrub, nettle tea is made by steeping the dried leaves in water. But this drink is more impressive than in sounds, and it certainly doesn’t sting your tastebuds. In terms of benefits, studies have shown that it may help to reduce symptoms of urinary tract issues in men.37 Plus, it also contains a healthy dose of polyphenols.38

Flavour: Nettle tea is said to have a similar taste to vegetable broth, which is ideal if you don’t like your teas sweet.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Oolong tea

One of the rarer varieties, oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea with similar qualities to green and black tea. Oolong tea is created when the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are left to wilt in the sun, before being partially bruised to allow for some oxidation.39

Flavour: Oolong tea is described as fruity and floral with a full-bodied consistency.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Oolong (yes it has its own category!)

Passionflower tea

A perennial climbing vine native to North America, passion flowers are now grown throughout Europe.

The flowers, leaves and stems are used for herbal supplements. Meanwhile, passionflower is used as infusions, teas, liquid extracts, and tinctures.40 Google 'passionflower tea' and we can guarantee that better sleep, or something very similar, will feature among the list of benefits, as it is believed to support relaxation and sleep.41

Flavour: It has a mild flavour and a grassy earthiness to it. Passionflower tea can also be sweetened with a floral honey.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Peppermint tea

Peppermint, also known as Mentha Piperita, is an aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family and is a cross between water mint and spearmint.

It’s native to Europe and Asia and has been used for thousands of years for its pleasant, minty taste and health benefits. Drinking peppermint tea is believed to be able to support digestive functions.42

Flavour: It has a slightly spicy peppery flavour, with a tiny bit of sweetness and a touch of mint, although it is not as minty as you might expect.43

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Red raspberry leaf tea

Red raspberry leaf tea, often referred to as the ‘woman’s herb’, comes from the red raspberry plant, which can be found growing in Europe and parts of Asia.

It’s best known for the sweet, nutritious raspberries that it produces.

The leaves from these raspberry plants are also pretty special, too. They are packed full of nutrients and often used to make herbal tea.44

The leaves are dried and then crushed to make red raspberry leaf tea.

Flavour: Don’t let the name misguide you because it doesn’t taste like raspberries.

Many people describe it as tasting like floral black tea (think Earl Grey), it has a full taste, but also tastes a bit earthy and fruity too.45 Some people sweeten it with honey if they aren’t keen on the unique taste.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

Rooibos tea

Rooibos tea, also known as red tea or redbush tea, is made from the leaves from a shrub called Aspalathus Linearis, which tends to be found growing in South Africa. Rooibos has no connections to green or black tea.46

It’s a great caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea and happens to contain fewer tannins than black or green tea too.

Tannins, natural compounds present in green and black tea, interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as iron. Rooibos teas also contain antioxidants.

Flavour: Don’t be misled by the colour… while brewed rooibos is an intense shade of red (hence the redbush and red tea name), the flavour is actually subtle in comparison. It’s often described as light and earthy with a natural sweetness.47

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Red

Turkish tea

Coming in a range of varieties, Turkish tea is most loved in its sweet, black format. This rich, auburn coloured beverage is similar to the Ceylon variety, and is best enjoyed without milk and with some added sugar.

Flavour: On its own, Turkish tea can have a slightly bitter or sour taste, so it’s best with some sugar added.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: Black

Valerian root tea

Valerian (or setwall) is a tall plant that is native to Europe, however, when made into a tea, it uses dried roots. Historically, it has been used to help people who experience insomnia. One scientific review investigated this and found that valerian foot helps to improve sleep quality, which backs up the traditional use of valerian root tea.48 

Flavour: Valerian root tea is often described as having a woody or earthy taste.

Caffeinated: No

Tea type: Herbal

White tea

And last but not least, we have another tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. White tea is made by picking the buds and leaves before they’ve opened fully and when they’re covered in thin white hairs – hence the name.49 It’s also worth noting that it is less processed than its green and black counterparts, meaning that it retains a decent level of its antioxidants.50,51

Flavour: White tea is considered to be refreshing and light in flavour, with subtle honey notes.

Caffeinated: Yes

Tea type: White

The final say

And that wraps up our A-Z list of the different types of tea, from Alfalfa all the way to white tea.

 Feeling more clued up on your hot beverages? We hope so. But if you’d like a little more advice, check out our article on which teabag you should choose.

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  44. https://www.agriculturejournals.cz/publicFiles/37219.pdf
  45. https://senchateabar.com/blogs/blog/raspberry-leaf-tea
  46. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1004514303787
  47. https://simplelooseleaf.com/blog/rooibos/rooibos-tea-taste/
  48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394901/
  49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466773
  50. http://scidoc.org/IJFS-2326-3350-02-201.php
  51. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814607010631
 

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