Ask people to think about tea, and they will likely conjure up an image of black tea, wrapped in a little paper filter. While black tea is obviously good, it’s only the tip of the iceberg tea-wise. Essentially, tea can be just about any plant steeped in liquid, and drunk for its flavour, botanicals, side effects or health benefits. As you might expect, cultures worldwide have experimented with some truly idiosyncratic teas.
To put it another way: there are some weird teas out there? In this post, let’s look at four of these special-teas from around the world. You might be perfectly content with your English Breakfast and Chamomile, but if you’re feeling adventurous, or simply want to reap the health benefits, try one of these four teas:
China: Panda Poo Tea
No, your eyes don’t deceive you. You read that right. And panda poo tea is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: it’s tea that has been fertilized by the droppings of pandas. Hailing from the Sichuan region (more commonly known as Szechuan here), this tea is a local delicacy with a long history.
Want to try a cup of panda poo tea? Don’t hold your breath, since this turd tea goes for a whopping $200 a cup, making it one of the most expensive teas in the world.
Canada: Cannabis Tea
In October of last year, Canada made history by legalizing recreational cannabis. In the wake of that decision, creativity surrounding what to do with the plant has soared. No longer just used for its smoke, brands like Olli Brands have started to make teas with a mix of traditional ingredients and cannabis. Their Melo Green Tea, for instance, mixes cannabis with ginger and citrus, for a sweet, spicy, bright flavour.
If you want to kick back with relaxing indica infused tea head to Canada and pick some up, but don’t hold your breath on getting high. Cannabis tea only extracts CBD, not THC, so you won’t get high, but you will reap the many health and relaxation benefits of CBD.
Tibet: Po Cha
This one is noteworthy less for the type of tea used, and more for the accompaniment. Po Cha, also know as butter tea, is tea that has been mounted with yak’s milk butter. While that might sound off-putting initially, what you’ll find is that Po Cha is actually a pretty delicious way to drink tea. It’s rich, silky and has a pleasant lactic depth.
Central and South America: Lapacho
If you wanted to be uncharitable, you could simply call Lapacho “wood chip tea”. But that doesn’t really capture this unique tea properly. Sure, it’s made from the bark of a tree (no, it’s not the tea tree), but natives of Central and South America have sworn by lapacho as a remedy for a number of conditions. Whether it makes good on those health promises is up to you to decide – it’s available online, but read further about its potentially harmful effects before you try it.
Dung, cannabis, butter and wood – it just goes to show you that with enough time and enough creativity, humans will make tea out of just about anything. If you want to shake up your evening tea tradition, try one of special-teas above!