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5 Rare Tea Varieties. Discover Gourmet Teas - Rivertea Blog

5 Rare Tea Varieties. Discover Gourmet Teas

| On 09, May 2013

Have you ever thought what makes a rare tea… rare? Well, think about what differentiates champagne from other types of sparkling wine: the geographic restrictions, the grape varieties and the methods used to produce it. How is rare tea similar to champagne?

Champagne can only come from the northern region of France called Champagne. Only 3 kinds of grapes can be used to make champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The soil and the climate has to be perfect for growing grapes with acidity.

When it comes to tea the growing conditions have a significant impact on the tea quality as they have for champagne. Such factors as elevation, soil moisture, and the age of the tea plant itself determine the quality of leaves from a tea bush.

The harvest/processing of rare teas is an art. There are still some regions in the world where tea is being handled and produced the century old way.  Discover where those places are and what makes the tea in those regions truly unique and expensive.

1. Ancient Lotus Green

Ancient Lotus Green is a perfect tea for those of you who appreciate a traditional blend prepared with carefully picked flowers in the heart of Vietnam. Spring is the time when Thai Nguyen province in Vietnam comes to life and the harvesting of fresh lotus blossoms starts. The artisans in Vietnam hand harvest the lotus blossoms carefully and blend them with green tea leaves using an old, ancient scenting method in order to give life to this magnificent lotus green blend.


The blend is prepared in small batches, the flavor of fresh harvested lotus blossoms combines perfectly with the vegetal aroma of the green tea to give birth to a crisp and gentle blend. One thousand lotus flowers are needed to complete the natural scenting method, in order to produce just one kilo of this original blend. The final result is a curled green leaf with a flavor which reminds of anise, featuring also a touch of vanilla.

This handmade tea steeps into a light gold beverage. The perfect temperature to steep this wonderful blend is 85 Celsius degrees and three minutes are needed to obtain the perfect cup of ancient lotus green blend.

2. South Korean Spring-Picked Green Tea

This is a variety of Korean green tea which features an unique characteristic: it has a truly remarkable nutty smell and aroma you wouldn’t expect from a green tea . This tea variety is spring-picked and is produced only on the southwest coast of South Jeolla Province in South Korea.


The standard grade of this early spring harvested tea is full-flavored, light-bodied, smooth with an aroma of green floral sachet which will convince any non-tea drinker to join the community of tea enthusiasts and become a tea fan himself or herself. This tea is handmade and it needs to be steeped at 60 Celsius degrees for 2 up to 3 minutes.

3. Malawi White Tea

This is a very rare and unique white tea that it’s highly different from anything else you have ever tasted. It is a blend highly rich in antioxidants which makes it beneficial when it comes to health issues.  Satemwa Estate from Thyolo, Malawi is the only estate in the world to produce this unusual white tea.

Rather than using the top leaves and the bud, this Malawi white tea is made from the very top 1-3 inches of the velvety shoot, hand plucked when the buds have only just started to appear. The tea features an intense floral aroma and a delicate sweetness. What we love about this tea is that it can be steeped up to five times without losing its delicate aroma or flavor.


This tea was a big surprise for us when we tasted it as you need only one sip to actually fall in love and never let it go. The beverage can be described as sweet, sparkly and clear. The uniqueness of this leafless tea is astonishing, as you never expected that a tea made just from the stems would taste so good. The tea needs to be steeped for 5 minutes at 80 Celsius degrees.

4. Bolivian Organic Black

This rare variety of tea is obtained after 18 hours of withering. When we think about South America our first thought is towards yerba mate beverage, highly popular especially in the area. Well Bolivia wanted something more, so they started to produce this exquisite, wiry large leaf tea, featuring amber, fresh aroma.


The beverage has a medium reddish brown color and taste of the tea may remind you of Ceylon black teas, but with a slightly more complex taste, a bit fruity and very smooth. It needs to steep at 90 Celsius degrees for about 4 minutes and it can also be served in the ice tea or tea latte form.

5. Thai High Mountain Oolong

This oolong tea variety from Thailand features dry, large and rolled leaves which create a delicious beverage with fresh, floral notes. It is cultivated at 3 900 feet, hand picked and rolled with delicate precision. 

The beverage is golden and features a full-bodied flavor which makes it distinguish from other Oolong teas out there. The aroma is natural, quite discreet. This tea is produced in 2 days unlike other Oolong tea varieties which need just one production day. It needs to be steeped at 82 Celsius degrees for 4 minutes.


These rare tea varieties worth all the expenses for their unique taste and flavor. What other rare tea varieties you’ve tasted? Feel free to share in the comments below your tasting notes.


We’ll soon launch our new incredible tasty tea blends. Join us, there are lots of special gifts waiting for you.