Five teas every tea lover should try: a list of five teas that will make you switch from flavored to unflavored real teas. Have you already tried them?

As I have been surrounded by tea, tea ware, tea photos, books and different pages about tea day and night, all I can do is constantly think about tea. I believe everyone can find a right tea for themselves (same as everyone can find a perfect book), and get addicted very easily.

The tea assortment in our local tea shops is really terrible, with occasional good findings. Flavored teas in the form we are used to are not original teas, no matter what tea vendors claim. There was one article (sponsored) of one tea shop on one page (medical self-help), which claimed that one of their teas was “the original Chinese body cleanser”. This fact is true in the same way as the fact that pigs fly is true. It was nothing more than heavily flavored Chinese sencha (with few other leaves), with many artificial flavors and added dried fruit and flowers, which, by a chance, was named a Chinese name, but the original EU wholesaler. However, tea vendors are giving their best shoot at aiming uneducated tea lovers, especially in countries where tea is still a novelty – like here. Most of the time they forget that their main product should be tea itself, not marketing service and medical issues, and that consumption of even the highest quality teas makes no sense and will not benefit your health if you are not enjoying it. 

Last couple of years I have shared quite a large amount of tea samples among my friends. Many of them found a tea that truly amazed them, with the inevitable comment: I never thought that an unflavored tea could have so many flavor and aroma. I will stop here with my lamentation about my experiences and move on to the list of teas what will be sufficient for every person to fall in love with real unflavored teas. Of course – quality if crucial.

Five teas every tea lover should try

  1. Real gao shan tea – all those who had the opportunity to try a real Taiwanese gao shan tea were really amazed. It is very important that you buy tea that has been stored in good conditions and packed well, from a specialized tea vendor. They will often be very expensive. There are some generic gao shan teas which can be very good, if not excellent, but it is important they were stored correctly. Those types are much cheaper and many tea shops have them. Still, be sure you are amazed by the tea you are drinking, if you are not, change to other tea seller. Gao shan oolong should have beautiful tea leaves, full and with stalks, multiple steepings are a must and each of them should have a very satisfactory result. Aroma is always overwhelming so be sure to smell dry leaves as well. 
  2. Dan cong tea – dan cong tea might be little more complicated to brew, but smell and taste will amaze you. Smell is much more intense that taste itself, so intense it is difficult to believe it is pure unflavored tea. Dan cong teas come from Chinese province Guangdong and it is extremely important you buy it from a respectable seller. Please keep away from those super cheap good-to-be-true deals.
  3. Real Japanese sencha – real and high quality sencha is still unavailable in most countries. Luckily, it is more than easy to order real sencha directly from Japan from online tea vendors for affordable prices. Even the cheapest tea from Japan (tea bags for example) has to be fresh and taste well.
  4. Tie Guan Yin – one of the most popular Chinese oolong teas – in greener floral version is a common find in many tea shops – however, be careful. You can find it even on eBay for 99 cents for 100 grams, but remember, you get what you pay for. Beware of extremely dry discolored tea leaves, light and old without freshness and aroma and with many stems.
  5. Black tea with chocolate taste – black teas are maybe the most popular teas around Europe. Through many years we have been buying black tea without any questions asked. There are some really great teas out there, but so far I have not found any black tea made for mass consumption in Easter Europe that has anything really special to offer. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, all have very special teas to offer with intense chocolate aroma and sweet deep taste, completely different from what we are used to.

This is only a short list of general tea types that could attract many symphaty from those that are entering the amazing world of tea. There are some special types or special teas that were so amazing I still cannot forget them. Some of them were Qilaishan oolong, Haru Bancha, Purple Rain, one Gui Fei and many others. With long-term and often experimenting with tea, you will be able to recognize quality and see that the world of tea is indeed special and attractive.

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