For thousands of years the Eastern world has deemed tea a crucial part of their culture, believing that consuming tea would bring happiness, health and wisdom. Only recently though, has the West begun waking up to the great benefits of tea!
Recent studies have concluded that some teas may encourage weight loss and lower cholesterol, help prevent illnesses, such as some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes, and bring about improved mental alertness. However, for me, it is simply the relaxing benefits of a nightly cup of tea that is the real pleasure. The author Lin Yutang, of The Importance Of Living, concluded that “there is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life,” and the 19th century British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, once concluded something similar, saying that “If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.” So, due to these wonderful benefits I wanted to list 8 teas so exotic that you may not yet have heard of them.
1. Peach Cobbler Guayusa
Guayusa (pronounce gwhy-you-sa) is a rare tea native to the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador and is produced from the leaves of a holly tree (ilex guayusa). Due to it being heavily caffeinated it has an awakening effect similar to coffee. (Guayusa contains 90 mg of caffeine/cup making it the second most caffeinated plant on earth next to coffee).
It is available pure, or infused with a number of different flavor such as mint, chocolate or chai, however my favorite is Peach Cobbler. It has a scrumptious aroma of juicy peaches and spice. Guayusa tea contains 50% more anti-oxidants than green tea, and has been found to balance the bodies pH and blood sugar levels, improve the functioning of the kidneys, improve digestion and lower blood pressure. Many people find drinking Guayusa both relaxing and stimulating at the same time!
2. Black Forest Cake Pu-erh Tea
Enjoy the taste of Black Forest Cake without the guilt. Black Forest Cake tea, like Peach Cobbler, is a tea for those who like tea and dessert, and even won second place in its category at the 2013 North American Tea Championship! This tea however is a pu-erh based tea. Pu-erh tea comes from China and is from the same plant used in making green, oolong and black teas. It is considered a healthy beverage with benefits that include help in losing weight, preventing cancer and anti-aging benefits. In one study – albeit on laboratory animal – pu-erh tea was the only kind of tea that actually lowers the bad and raises the good level of cholesterol.
3. Mate Teas
Mate teas come from the South American yerba mate plant, which is mainly found in Argentina. Yerna mate is more nutritious than green tea and has been used as a base for herbal medicines in South America for centuries. It contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex, and minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc. It is rich in antioxidants too – it’s got about 90% more antioxidants than green tea, enhances your ability to focus, and the chemical compounds and nutrients in mate tea affect your metabolism to make your body use carbohydrates more efficiently.
4. White Pearls White Tea
This white tea is comprised of 100% newly sprouted buds, hand-rolled into small pearls, that then gently unfurl when infused. White tea comes from a special strain of the tea plant and is harvested only a few days of the year and produced solely in China, mainly in the Fujian province. It is difficult to obtain as production is extremely limited and therefore it is a very expensive and rare tea.. Its health benefits include reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disorders, and it contains anti-aging properties which help in maintaining good health and healthy skin.
5. Insect Poop Tea
is probably not familiar to you! It is one of the most expensive teas in the world actually, priced between $250 – $1000 per pound. It is made by bugs digestesting tea leaves, and then their ‘poop’ dropping is sifted together and dried into a tea-like substance. The drink itself is safe and nutritional, and is considered quite the delicacy!
6. Matcha Tea
Matcha – literally meaning “powdered tea” – is getting a lot of attention in 2015! It is associated with Japanese tea drinking and the Zen movement and is a type of green tea. It is a richly flavorful drink, and drinking it gives many people a sense of well-being and it’s also well know for its high antioxidant content. One cup of matcha green tea actually has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of regular tea!
7. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea is an African tea made out of an herb that is fermented. It is a red tea that carries a malty and slightly grassy flavor. It has absolutely no caffeine and the health benefits of red rooibos tea includes its use as a cure for insomnia, asthma, headaches, eczema and hypertension.
8. Yellow Gold Tea
The final exotic tea in this list is Yellow Gold Tea. It is considered to be the most expensive tea in the world and was once a favorite of Chinese Emperors! Today it is mainly found in Singapore. Each tea bud is lavished in 24ct gold, which once infused, yields a delicately metallic and floral aftertaste. Enjoy! These are some of the top exotic teas from across the globe, but irrespective of whether you prefer to indulge in a nice cup of insect poop tea or a more simple Chamomile, I encourage you to adopt tea into your daily diet. The benefits of tea have been known in the East for a very long time, whereas in the West drinking tea – like yoga and meditation – is only just beginning to become recognized for its benefits. So drink up!
Featured photo credit: Dollar Photo Club via dollarphotoclub.com