1. This tea has a feel of home. It has taken inspiration from India but was reinterpreted Down Under. It was supposedly created so that baristas can use it in the coffee machine. The way it’s blended, the ingredients are sort of clumped in chunks. This way, the heavier ingredients of the blend don’t sink to the bottom. Once made, it doesn’t need sugar added.
2. This is, well, a southern thing, as they like to say in the southern US. It’s less popular for the flavours of tea than it is as a choice on a hot day. In fact, there is a day (10 June) dedicated to it in the US.
3. This is a favourite with Mma Ramotswe, who fills several books of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. While she also drinks “ordinary tea”, this is her preferred tea. It’s native to South Africa and does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
4. This tea is one of the most famous tea blends, dating back well over a century. No one holds a patent to it. A simple definition is that it’s made with a base of Assam black CTC tea, blended with either Ceylon or Kenyan teas. It is best enjoyed with milk and sugar, and, for many, it’s the go-to morning cup.
5. This famous actor has played a detective and a sorcerer, and can be found online narrating “I’m a little teapot!’ A pet peeve is people calling chamomile tea, tea. It’s a tisane, people! His preferred tea involves two parts Earl Grey to one part lapsang souchong leaves steeped in near-boiling water for four-five minutes.
6. This black tea is a seasonal special and has something in common with wine in its very grape-y notes. It’s believed that this flavour is made possible because its leaves are bug-bitten, setting off enzymatic reactions. The story took hold and created sufficient intrigue and interest, bringing this tea a fairly large following of tea connoisseurs.
7. This tea featured rather prominently in a 2021 Netflix release. It is not an Indian tea style, it comes from Arabia. The original drink is either made as a tisane or a tea. It’s essentially black tea with one additional ingredient. Incidentally, this show was based on a short story whose author was devoted to his daily Darjeeling.
8. This tea must include mint and lemongrass. And if possible, some spearmint. It has deep cultural roots in an Indian community that’s known to take its teatime seriously. It has to be a proper English service, served with an assortment of baked snacks. This tea is, therefore, best enjoyed in proper bone china cups, with pinkie finger extended if you please.
9. And finally, a tea that we in India find terribly oxymoronic. It tastes nothing like the tea we have always known and comes from a machine with an inch of milk froth. Love it or hate it, it’s also a tea that has popularised our much beloved beverage across the Western world.
1. Sticky Chai; 2. Iced tea; 3. Bush tea or rooibos; 4. English Breakfast; 5. Benedict Cumberbatch; 6. Darjeeling muscatel; 7. Chai noomi basra; 8. Parsi choi; 9. Chai tea latte.
Tea Nanny is a fortnightly series steeped in the world of tea. Aravinda Anantharaman is a Bengaluru-based tea blogger and writer who reports on the tea industry. @AravindaAnanth1 on Twitter.