Spring is the best time of year for tea enthusiasts, who adore the freshness of early harvests. Competition is stiff, especially for Japan’s rare shincha tea. If you manage to get your hands on this elusive spring tea, you’ll enjoy a potent brew with plenty of character. Shincha tea is high in catechins, which have been proven to reduce oxidative damage to the body’s cells.
One of China’s most popular spring teas, longjing has an early harvest. A unique pan frying process gives it a distinctive roasted flavor, reminiscent of both chestnuts and fresh vegetables. As with other green teas, health benefits include boosted metabolism and lowered risk of infection. Green tea also boosts dopamine and is therefore a great option during times of stress.
Muscatel is a unique taste found in summer harvested Darjeeling black teas. Notoriously difficult to describe, the flavor is well-suited to the summer months. Its fruity aroma has been compared to everything from cantaloupe to lychee. Like all Darjeeling summer teas, brews with the elusive muscatel flavor offer a myriad of health benefits, including stronger bones, boosted immune response, and improved digestive health.
The samovar ryokucha is the powerhouse of green teas combining a toasted brown rice green tea, stone-ground matcha powder, and steamed green tea. Described as toasty, nutty and majorly caffeinated, this all-encompassing flavored, cold brew tea has notes of cut grass, steamed spinach and seaweed and is 100% organic. This tea is perfect to keep you caffeinated through those long summer days.
Bai Hao Oolong
One of few teas to be harvested during the mid-to-late summer months, Bai Hao oolong offers a satisfyingly sweet flavor, along with a honey-infused aroma. Health benefits include stabilized blood sugar, better metabolism, and improved mental alertness.
Tie Guan Yin
The buttery, roasted flavor of Tie Guan Yin is far more satisfying than a pumpkin spice latte. High in polyphenols and amino acids, this Chinese tea is both tasty and wonderful for your health. Although many tea drinkers believe that Tie Guan Yin is best earlier in the year, its stronger fall harvest flavor makes it a great option for brisk autumn evenings.
Sadly, winter tea options are limited, due to minimal harvesting this time of year. However, if you’re willing to give roiboos a try, you can enjoy fresh tea during the dead of winter. Harvested in South Africa every January, roiboos offers antioxidant power above and beyond traditional green tea.
Seasonal tea preferences may be shaped by the freshness of the leaves and the flavor. Regardless of your preferences, you’ll be pleased to find an array of fresh brews to complement every season.