How many varieties of tea are there? There’s no way to be sure, but there are probably more than anyone would dare to count. First, let’s consider that there are numerous varieties that fall into one of the six major categories of tea: black, green, oolong, white, puerh, and yellow. Next, consider that there are a whopping number of varieties to which one or more flavoring agents have been added. Then, let’s be sure not to forget all of the many blends in which different varieties of tea are brought together to make a whole that may or may not be greater than the sum of the parts.
When blending teas, the general rule seems to be that only tea from the same categories are put together. Thus, we typically only see black teas blended with black, green with green, and so on. Some time ago it occurred to me that it might be interesting to mix teas from different categories. I proceeded to do so, but presumably the results weren’t that memorable, as I don’t recall any details about the end result.
This notion of cross-category mixing was brought to my attention recently when I received a sample of tea from a well-known merchant that essentially blends everything but the kitchen sink (at least, I didn’t see one in there). According to the merchant, there are four types of black tea (Assam, Darjeeling, Yunnan, Keemun) in this blend. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a Formosa Oolong and a jasmine green tea.
Which sounded like a great big mish-mash, to be honest, and I kind of steered clear of even trying this one for a while. When I finally decided to give it a go, I prepared it using time and temperatures that were somewhere between what I’d use for a black and a green tea and what do you know — it was quite good. Not surprisingly, given that it contains all of that black tea, it’s black tea that’s the dominant note here. I was concerned that the jasmine might tend to overpower everything, but my coarse palate couldn’t detect it at all.
Coincidentally, when I suggested this article, our esteemed editor mentioned that she’d just tried a tea recently that mixed teas from different categories. They were black and green teas, apparently, though the merchant didn’t provide any more specifics. For more on her thoughts about this one, navigate on over to her site and a take a look at the review.
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