Recipes

Black, Green and Herbal tea – What’s the difference?

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As a frequent tea drinker myself, there’s this one surprising fact that I didn’t know until recently, I did a research and found out that all Green, Black, White, Oo-Long and Pu-erh tea leaves are all derived from the same plant species – Camellia sinensis. It is the level of oxidation of these tea leaves that results in a different variety of teas. I initially thought that each tea type is brewed using tea leaves obtained from a different plant type. We learn something new every day, huh? That’s the reason why I am sharing this.
Now, what about herbal teas? Herbals teas brewed using dried flowers, fruits, spices, herbs and other plant parts other than its leaves. They are usually caffeine-free because they do not contain any tea leaves.
Taste-wise, it’s so different. Some teas are combines flowers with tea leaves but very often the fragrance of the tea leaves dampens the scent of the flowers. Hence, you don’t really get a natural taste of the fruit and flower teas.
I understood this much better when I tried brewing my own fruit and flower tea using Hi-tea concoction of loose herbal tea. When dried flowers and fruits are steeped in hot water, the aroma that comes through is very light, not as overpowering as tea leaves per se.

Taste-wise, it’s very different. Some teas are combines flowers with tea leaves but very often the fragrance of the tea leaves dampens the scent of the flowers. Hence, you don’t really get a natural taste of the fruit and flower teas.
I understood this much better when I tried brewing my own fruit and flower tea using Hi-tea concoction of loose herbal tea. When dried flowers and fruits are steeped in hot water, the aroma that comes through is very light, not as overpowering as tea leaves per se.
Hi-tea is a Singapore-based tea company that specialises in flower tea, blooming tea and fruit tea. I’ve tried five of their tea varieties which are also available on their online website.

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Dried Lemon Slice 

This is the real lemon tea brewed from real dried lemon slices. The lemon tea which we’ve been drinking off the drink dispenser or bottles are a mixed of lemon with black tea. 
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It’s light and very refreshing. It could also be eaten on its own and use as an ingredient for garnishing your dishes. You can also soak the lemon slices in room temperature water to make flavoured water.
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Dried Lemongrass

This is great as a detox tea. It’s very calming and soothing as well. I actually prefer to make it using fresh lemongrass steeped in hot water as the aroma is much stronger. However, if you prefer a lightly-scented tea, using the dried lemongrass is an option.
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You can also use dried lemongrass as a wardrobe refresher as it carries a lifting and refreshing scent and at the same time, it get rids of nasty odour.
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Jasmine Flowers

This tea tasted very different from the usual Jasmine tea I’ve tasted before as the ones I’ve drank is Chinese Jasmine tea which is mixed with some tea leaves. The actual scent of jasmine is quite unique. The scent is unique the ones found in perfumery.
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It’s my least favourite among the other loose tea I tried by Hi-Tea as it has a distinct green herbaceous smell that doesn’t smell so pleasant.
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Blueberry Fruit Tea

This is a blend of Hibiscus (or Roselle), French Rose, Herbs, Blueberry, Blackcurrants and Grapes. The dried blackberries are super sweet and it can be eaten alone like dried cranberries.
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This tea has a nice beautiful reddish purple colour to it. I thought it would taste sweet with the blueberries but it’s more sourish due to the dried Hibiscus petals. It will take some time for the sweetness from the blueberries to get infused into the tea itself. For me, I prefer to eat it alone as a snack or topping for my oatmeal.
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It can be quite addictive. It would be really nice if they sell the blueberries alone in a pack then I could chew on it all night.
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Blooming Tea

I first saw this China a few years back and I thought it was really cool. Finally, I got to see it here in Singapore. 
It’s actually crafted by hand where the leaves and the flowers are bundles together with a cotton string with the flowers enclosed by the green tea leaves.
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To enjoy blooming tea, you would just need to steep in hot water and watch it bloom.
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You can brew a whole pot of tea using this blooming flower but I am using this small glass jar to have a closer look at the blooming flower.
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It does some time for the leaves to expand and for the flowers to be revealed.
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The tea has a really nice pleasant green tea taste and it’s very smooth and fragrant. It doesn’t have much of a flower scent, though. 
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If you would like to try these flower and fruit teas, you can purchase them online hi-tea-boutique.com
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A travel and lifestyle blogger based in Singapore.

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