If you are ready to venture into the deeper levels of tea, I suggest trying oolong (wulong) tea.
Nothing wrong with black tea or green tea, or herbal infusions. But oolong possesses a unique kind of sensory "excitement": layers.
Let us start from the top: What is oolong tea (烏龍茶)?.
Oolong is a tea type that sits between green tea and black tea. It is partly fermented. The percentage of fermentation will affect the tea taste - varying from lightly fermented green tea tasting to higher fermentation with a darker brew more like black tea in robust taste.
To choose an oolong, you should start by checking your preference - if you like green tea or a light tasting tea, buying the Rose Oolong or Gin Shan Oolong from Taiwan will be a good start.
If you like black tea or a more robust taste, buy darker oolong like Wuyi Shui Xian (often marketed as Wuyi Rock tea) or the more delightful Dai Hong Pao that is often served to ambassadors in China.
Oolong is generally more expensive than green tea. Some can fetch hundreds of Australian dollars per kg.
As mentioned Oolong has got these layers of flavours and fragrance that other teas don't have.
Green tea smells like green tea from the first brew to third brew. However, with oolong, particularly the tightly twirled bead like ones like Everspring or Tie Guan Yin, the first brew is fragrant, the second brew has a lovely balance of fragrance and taste, and the third brew is more robust in taste and the fragrance is less.
This is the only tea type can do so much magic to your senses, all from one tea!
Drink Oolong for Health
Many celebrities drink oolong for better shape and wellbeing. Oolong is a great tea to drink after a meal. In Asia, many slimming teas features oolong as one of the key ingredients.
Buy Oolong in Australia
The usual place to start is Asian grocery stores. Unfortunately, it is also the last place you should buy oolong.
A good oolong is a full leaf tea and the typical Wulong found in Asian grocery stores (or Chinese supermarkets) is often made with sub-standard broken leaves. Wulong should be enjoyed in leaf tea form, as the leaves need a lot of room to expand and release its full flavour and aroma.
Tea bagged oolong, even triangular / pyramid oolong tea bags are not recommended, as there is never enough room for the leaves to uncurl entirely, stopping the tea flavour to fully released. Poorer grade oolong tea bags have chopped up leaves.
There are now many tea shops and online tea stores that sell oolong in Australia. Speak to your tea specialist, and see if they know their oolong. Once you find your favourite oolong, you will be hooked for life!
Just for fun, here is the Shrek and his "layers" - the more smelly variety than oolong discussed here ;)