Oolong, green and black teas can mimick thousands of different flavors. From freshly cooked green vegetables, to fresh mowed lawn in spring, and deep chocolate notes, there is something for every tea lover. With the teas from our list, you are sure to tick off some of the tea bucket list items.
How to pick the best tea flavors
To pick the best tea flavor, first you have to decide do you want a pure or flavored tea. There are pros and cons to both of them. With pure teas you will be able to truly get to know what the world of tea has to offer. On the other hand, with flavored tea, you can have a fun tea time every day. Flavored teas may be a great way of adding a bit of aromatherapy into your daily life too. For example, inhaling bergamot essential oil, the oil used for scenting Earl Grey tea, may help reduce stress and anxiety. By drinking pure tea, you will learn how to recognize and appreaciate small nuances and understand tea cultivars, harvests and different processing methods.
Best Black Tea Flavors
Black tea is not only about caffeine and energy boost. If you drink your black tea with milk and sugar, you may miss many unique and, sometimes, delicate flavors. Here are our top picks.
Pure black tea flavors
- Chocolate flavor
Some black teas can taste like chocolate. Golden Monkey, Laoshan black tea, Golden Yunnan and even some Breakfast teas have a wonderful, either light or strong chocolate note.
- Smokey flavor
Lapsang Souchong is the most popular tea in the category of smoked teas. The original Lapsang Souchong tea leaves are smoked over pine wood, although it’s possible to find teas that are not made using traditional methods. For a less intense smokey flavor, try Russian Caravan, a tea that’s usually blended with Lapsang Souchong and other non smoked teas.
- Ripe fruit flavor
That same Lapsang Souchong can be unsmoked too. In that case it may have a delicious ripe fruit note. Some low grown Ceylon teas and African teas have that same note too.
- Malt flavor
The most popular black teas with a malty flavor are Assam teas. They are strong, robust and full-bodied and have a very unique malty note.
Flavored Black tea
Among flavored black teas, the best flavors are:
Earl Grey is the proof that bergamot is the most popuar ingredient for scenting black tea. The unique aroma of bergamot orange blends amazingly well with black tea leaves. In aromatherapy, bergamot is used for its soothing and calming properties, so don’t forget to inhale the scent of dry tea before brewing.
The winner in the category of fruit flavored black teas is blueberry. Blueberry blends so deliciously with black tea that it doesn’t need other ingredients for creating balanced flavor.
The most classical flavor in the world – vanilla – is as made for blending with black tea. It goes well with milk too.
Best Green Tea Flavors
Umami is sometimes called the sixth taste, and is one of the best kept secrets of green tea. It will be the strongest in gyokuro, a shaded green tea, but can be present in other semi-shaded or even unshaded teas like sencha. To taste umami, keep the water temperature at around 140°F.
- Fresh spinach
Fresh spinach and other green vegetables are words often used for describing the flavor of Japanese sencha or steamed green teas. This flavor, just like umami, is best experienced in loose leaf tea, and rarely in tea bags.
- Freshly baked bread
Lightly toasted notes of freshly baked bread or light chestnut are flavors you can find in pan fired Chinese teas like Dragon Well.
Flavored Green Tea
The best flavors of scented and flavored green teas are minty, flowery and fruity ones:
Moroccan mint is the best example how green tea and mint go hand in hand. This fresh flavor is the national and traditional drink of Morocco and highly popular in other countries too.
Jasmine scented green teas are the oldest and most popular scented green teas in the world. Tea leaves are blended with fresh jasmine flowers and left to soak up the scent. This process can be repeated many times until they get the perfect flavor.
- Roasted rice
Roasted rice blended with bancha or sencha leaves is an ingredient of the famous Japanese Genmaicha tea. Technically, Genmaicha is neither flavored nor scented – it’s blended with roasted and even popped rice, and sometimes matcha. Flavor is light and nutty, with a strong roasted rice note.
Best Oolong Tea Flavors
Oolong of black dragon tea is the most versatile category of tea. Flavors range from light green and airy, to creamy smooth notes and textures to strong charcoal and tobacco flavor.
- Ripe fruits
Some oolongs, especially from Wuyi mountains and bug bitten Taiwanese teas may have an intense ripe fruit note. It usually comes with other subnotes, such as woody, mineral and muscatel.
The intense honey flavor is a characteristic of some Taiwanese and Vietnamese teas – mostly those that are bug bitten and with medium to high levels of oxidation. Honey flavor is often mixed with spiciness, making these teas so unique and strong you may thing they are not 100% pure.
- Dan Cong teas
This whole category of oolong teas from the Chinese Guandong province is especially popular because of intense and unique flavors – all completely natural. Dan Cong teas will usually have the flavor in its name. The most popular? Honey orchid, magnolia, almond, walnut and even a duck s**t aroma. Don’t be fooled by that one, behind a very unusual name hides a very delicious tea.
Flavored oolong teas
- Milky flavor
Milky flavor is one of the most popular oolong tea flavors in the world. The unflavored milky oolongs have a delicate milky flavor (if any) and creamy textures. They usually come from Taiwanese high mountainous region. On the other hand, flavored milky oolongs have a strong recognizable milk note and usually come from other countries or lower altitudes.
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and pomelo are the top choices for scenting and flavoring light green Chinese oolongs with natural citrusy and light soury notes.
One of the sweetest tasting flowers, osmanthus, blends amazingly well with green oolongs, giving them a light peachy flavor.
Best White Tea Flavors
When you try the pure fresh Silver Needle white tea for the first time, you will see that spring, indeed, has a flavor. This light and airy taste with a hint of underlying sweetness is unique and very difficult to describe.
- Fresh hay
Although the old hay notes are very unattractive in tea, fresh hay is more than welcomed. This flavor, blended with floral and woodsy fresh notes, is typical for White Peony teas.
- Malty flavor
Not only black teas have a malty flavor. Yue Guang Bai, a special tea with a very unique appearance has a distinctive malty and sweet taste.
Best flavored white tea
Although white tea blends great with some ingredients, because of its delicacy it’s often drank pure. But, Silver Needle is sometime scented with jasmine flowers. Stronger flavors of Pai Mu Tan and Shou Mei blend well with berries and even spices – especially pepper.
Best Flavors of Herbal Tea
Although herbal tea is not technically a real tea and can be made from any plant except the tea plant, we are including the top 3 most loved flavors in the world – mint, chamomile and hibiscus.
Mint is versatile, tastes great hot or cold, may provide many health benefits and blends well with other herbs. It’s one of the most popular herbal teas in the world. However, mint is a name that includes many different plants, with the most popular being peppermint and spearmint. The difference? Peppermint has more menthol and a stronger scent and flavor.
Just like mint, chamomile is also a name that include different types of plants, with the most popular being German and Roman chamomile. They both taste delicious with lots of floral, even honey-like sweetness.
If you ever tasted strong, but pleasant sourness in your tea, it’s very likely it has come from hibiscus, especially if your tea had a very intense beautiful red color. Hibiscus flower used for making tea may come from different hibiscus plants.