Nothing soothes the throat (and in a way, the soul) like a hot cup of tea. But with so many different types of tea out there, how do you know which one is best?
Discovering which of the multiple kinds of tea are your favorite can be a delicious journey all its own. From rich and bold black teas to light and fruity white teas, there are so many different types of teas that it's impossible not to find one that suits your tastes.
Scroll down to see our list of tea varieties (with deals for each kind!), or click here to see deals at tea shops near you.
The most flavorful of teas, black teas are oxidized for longer than their green and oolong counterparts, creating stronger aromas and robust tastes. Expect full-bodied, rich flavors, and colors ranging from black to dark red.
Reported Benefits: Some studies have shown that black tea could reduce the risk of stroke, regulate cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
Caffeine? Yes, though typically a little less than a cup of coffee.
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Perhaps the most famous of all black teas, earl grey is flavored with bergamot oil (which, for the few of you who aren't huge bergamot fans, is an orangey citrus fruit), lending it a perfumey musk.
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Take black tea and add ginger and cardamon (and sometimes cinnamon, clove, or anise), then serve it with milk and sugar, and you get masala chai. This tea is especially popular in India, but it has found a home in contemporary Western coffeehouses in the last few decades.
This traditional Chinese tea is made from leaves that aren't oxidized as long as black tea leaves, producing flavors that range from earthy to toasty to seaweedy. Expect the color to be ... well, green! Though sometimes it could look yellow-ish.
Reported Benefits: There's a bunch: increased metabolism, lower cholesterol, and possibly decreased risk of heart failure.
Caffeine? Yes, roughly about half of a cup of coffee.
Of the many different types of tea, Matcha is a little peculiar. You won't find matcha leaves—this green tea comes as a stone-ground powder, and is so beloved in Japan that there's a ceremony centered around how to prepare and serve it. If you see green-tea ice cream, that's derived from matcha.
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Sencha is also one of the most-popular Japanese teas, but it differs from matcha in that it's served as leaves, not as a powder, and grown in the sunlight (whereas matcha is grown in shaded areas).
Oolong tea is made from the same plant that produces black and green tea, but while black tea is fully oxidized and green tea is not oxidized, oolong is semi-oxidized, then rolled to give it its signature shape. Oolong could be green-ish or brown-ish in color, and the variations in flavors are vast.
Reported Benefits: It's less-researched than black or green tea, but some studies show oolong tea could help reduce the risk of diabetes. Plus, it comes with a range of antioxidants.
Caffeine? Yes, but typically less than black tea.
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Another Chinese variety, Pu'erh is a fermented tea, using aged tea leaves—some are aged for decades before used. What you'll taste in pu'erh will vary, but you can expect smooth, mature flavors.
Reported Benefits: Pu'erh tea can aid digestion and has also been known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which could alleviate joint pain. It also could help with mental alertness.
Caffeine? Yes, but the amount can vary (no more than a cup of coffee)
Like green tea, white tea is not oxidized. But white teas are generally considered to have a lighter, more mellow flavor than green or black tea. Expect a yellow-ish, dim color.
Reported Benefits: Drinking white tea could aid in cardiovascular health, and its antioxidants have a range of purported benefits, from better skin to cell production.
Caffeine? Yes, but the amount can vary—no more than a cup of coffee, and sometimes lower than most teas.
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"Herbal tea" is a catch-all term for most any tea that doesn't consist of tea plant leaves. Instead, an herbal tea is created by steeping spices, herbs, and other plants.
Reported Benefits: It's a stress reliever, it aids digestion, and it's a soothing friend when you have a nasty cold.
Caffeine? Usually there is no caffeine in herbal teas.
A popular tea to wind down the evening with, chamomile is an herb that, when steeped, creates a tasty, perfumey brew. Some believe chamomile is the most stress-relieving of teas.
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You've seen the flowers, now drink the tea! Chrysanthemum tea, predictably, tastes a lot like what you might imagine a flower would taste like—feel free to add a little honey to balance the bitterness.
Made from the petals of the roselle flower, hibiscus turns water into a handsome shade of red, and has perhaps the most fruity, tart flavor of any tea on this list.
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Rooibos is made from a South African plant and accordingly is especially popular in southern African countries. It's somewhat similar to hibiscus, but adds earthy tones to its tartness.