- Local Tea Flavors in the Philippines
- Ginger and Turmeric tea
- Blue Ternatea Tea
- Pandan Tea
- Lemongrass Tea
- Dragon Fruit Tea
- Malunggay Tea
- Calamansi Tea
- Tea Farm Tours in the Philippines
- Yamang Bukid (Palawan)
- Gourmet Farms (Cavite)
- AGREA Farm Estate (Marinduque)
- REFMAD Dragon Fruit Farm (Ilocos Norte)
- Nurture Farmacy (Tagaytay)
- Local Tea Brands
- Yamang Bukid
- Tsaa Laya
- Gourmet Farms
The Philippines is mainly a coffee-drinking country known for its quality coffee beans, but the tea industry has started to bloom as well. Read this guide to learn about the different tea flavors, tea farm tours, and must-try local tea brands in the Philippines.
The Philippines’ rich history dating back to pre-colonial times trading with the Chinese up to the time the Spanish may give a glimpse of its tea culture. It was the Chinese who introduced tea to the Filipinos. However, even though the Chinese settled and traded in the Philippines, tea failed to flourish.
When the Spanish and Americans came to the country, they brought coffee and chocolate with them. If it weren’t for its health benefits and the ability to provide a remedy to certain illnesses and discomforts, tea wouldn’t gain ground in the country.
These days, Filipinos have embraced drinking tea mainly as an antioxidant and slimming agent, a relaxing company during cold afternoons, or simply as a stress reliever.
If you're looking to explore the developing tea culture in the Philippines, read this guide to help you plan your trip.
Local Tea Flavors in the Philippines
If England has English Breakfast, India has Chai, and China has Jasmine — the Philippines also has a variety of local tea flavors that Filipinos would get mostly from herbs and plants they can grow in their own backyards. Here are some types of tea in the Philippines that you should try:
Ginger and Turmeric tea
Photo by Yamang Bukid Farm - Palawan
Ginger tea, also known as “salabat,” is a traditional Filipino tea known to soothe one’s throat and provide relief from common illnesses such as cough, colds, flu, and stomach aches.
Salabat can be made by brewing few ginger slices and adding some honey or sugar often in warm water. Adding a bit of fresh lemon juice also increases its health benefits. Some Filipinos also believe that drinking salabat can improve one’s voice quality.
Another famous herb is turmeric, which contains curcumin. When turned into tea, turmeric can aid in several conditions such as cardiovascular complications, diabetes, immune deficiencies, and even cancer with its anti-tumor properties.
Blue Ternatea Tea
Blue ternatea, also known as clitoria ternatea or blue butterfly pea, is a flower that has gained popularity due to its many uses. This plant is also grown in countries like Singapore and Malaysia and is often used as a food coloring. It is also used in India as an anti-sedative medicine.
Aside from its herbal properties, the blue ternatea can also be turned into a tea concoction which is known to promote good eyesight, blood circulation, and an antioxidant due to the presence of the powerful agent proanthocyanidin. The tea can be made using both warm and cold water and is best served with honey.
Pandan, a tropical plant found in most Southeast Asian countries, is known to give off appetizing aroma and enhance the taste of certain dishes. Households also benefit from this plant when used as an insect repellant, air freshener, or when its leaves are turned into food wraps.
Other than that, Filipinos have found a way to turn pandan leaves to a beverage. Pandan leaves have properties that help aid in asthma attacks, high blood pressure, and promoting healthy heart and kidneys.
Chilled pandan tea is also a known welcoming refreshment in Filipino homes. Pandan tea can help reduce the body’s uric acid levels which helps prevent gout and can also improve one’s appetite when eating.
Known as “tanglad” to locals, lemongrass is a tropical plant characterized by long, thin leaves. Like pandan, it is also commonly used to enhance the taste and scent of certain dishes.
Like most herbs, it has antioxidant properties called flavonoids and phytochemicals which is especially useful for one’s kidney and liver. It also aids in digestion because it is a natural diuretic which can help get rid of the body’s toxic wastes.
To create your own lemongrass tea, all you need is one stalk that you can fold and tie using the leaves. Boil it for a few minutes until you get a lemony aroma. Serve it with a sweetener if you want to.
Dragon Fruit Tea
Photo by REFMAD Dragon Fruit Farm
With its unique taste and look, dragon fruit has gained popularity in the Philippines. Compared to other fruits in the Philippines, it has understated benefits that Filipinos are only starting to embrace.
This plant is especially abundant in Ilocos in Northern Philippines where its first-ever festival was held. Dragon fruit is packed with many vitamins such as Vitamins B1, B2, and B3 and minerals including magnesium, iron, fiber, and protein which makes it a likely staple in local tea flavors of the country.
One of the easiest plants to grow even in one’s backyard is malunggay, also known as moringa in some places. This leafy vegetable is a famous addition to many Filipino dishes, but its leaves has several other uses including as a tea.
Malunggay has high levels of antioxidants flavonoids which help detoxify one’s body. Making your own malunggay tea is also easy — simply harvest, air dry, crush, and brew the leaves in boiling water. Serve with honey or sugar for a sweeter taste.
Calamansi or Philippine lime is a famous refreshing and healthy ingredient for a drink. It is commonly used to soothe a person from sore throat, flu, cough, and colds. Its versatility is also perfect for mixing the calamansi with other nutritious ingredients, such as honey, ginger, or turmeric.
This type of tea can be served hot or cold — and the best thing about it? It’s pretty much found anywhere in the Philippines.
Tea Farm Tours in the Philippines
As more and more Filipinos embrace tea as another beverage of choice, tea farm tourism has opened the doors for travelers to learn more about the country’s tea culture.
Aside from opening educational tours, it has also served as a way for tea farmers and entrepreneurs to promote the country’s local tea flavors. Here are some tea farms you can check out:
Yamang Bukid (Palawan)
Photo by Yamang Bukid Farm - Palawan
Located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Yamang Bukid is known for its organic and sustainable farming practices.
The farm offers organic tea products and has opened its doors for travelers to do a Yamang Bukid farm day tour where you can see its rich vegetation, sprawling sunflower beds, and experience a refreshing escape from the city.
- Find the best Puerto Princesa tours for your trip
Yamang Bukid is also home to what is known as “Palawan Energy Drink” — a concoction of calamansi, honey, and camote.
Gourmet Farms (Cavite)
Photo by Gourmet Farms Inc.
Gourmet Farms first made waves as a coffee trader, introducing Philippine coffee beans and specialty coffee to the rest of the world. Later on, the farm has evolved to a one-stop-shop for everything organic including local tea flavors made of indigenous herbs.
The farm, found along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway in Silang, Cavite, is a half-hectare complex complete not only with a farm, but also with a chapel, a lake, a guest house, and a pavilion.
Head over to the Gourmet Café and Country Store during your Cavite tours to get yourself the freshest, finest Gourmet Farm products.
AGREA Farm Estate (Marinduque)
Photo by AGREA Farm Estate
Strategically located at what is known as the “The Heart of the Philippines,” the province of Marinduque, AGREA Farm Estate benefits from a place where sustainable farm tourism is a priority.
The 2,500-square meter farm is one of the accredited agri-tourism farm destinations of the country’s Department of Tourism, not only due to its sustainable practice but because of its commitment to provide livelihoods among the locals.
- Browse Marinduque tours to add to your itinerary
The farm helps develop local industries including the production and harvesting of spices and herbs to turn them into powder, essential oils, and extracts, and of course, tea. The farm also offers courses and skills training for those wanting to learn more about organic farming.
REFMAD Dragon Fruit Farm (Ilocos Norte)
Photo by REFMAD Dragon Fruit Farm
A champion of dragon fruits, Edita Dacuycuy, owner of the Rare Eagles Forest Marine and Agricultural Development (REFMAD) Farm has helped put Ilocos Norte in the map of dragon fruit-producing provinces in the Philippines.
- Check out Ilocos trips and activities for your trip
The farm has successfully highlighted the many benefits of the plant by creating organic products that will help boost one’s immune system and prevent other complications.
One of its flagship products is the tea made from the dragon fruit’s roots. The farm, located in Barangay Paayas, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, also has a resort and restaurant attached to it.
Nurture Farmacy (Tagaytay)
Nurture Farmacy is a farm nestled within the Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay. The farm tour will take visitors to see and get to know more about a wide collection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants.
Here, one can bask in wellness by immersing in organic food and offerings — including herbal plants that can be turned into different tea concoctions. There’s also a store attached to it so you can check out the farm’s wellness products.
It also offers a complete wellness experience — from a restaurant that serves only healthy food to glamping in nature.
Local Tea Brands
With the growth of tea farm tourism in the country, small businesses and farmers are introducing more and more tea variants. Here are some of the must-try local tea brands in the Philippines:
Photo by Yamang Bukid Farm - Palawan
Hailing from the famous Yamang Bukid Farm in Palawan's Puerto Princesa, Yamang Bukid’s flagship product, the 10-in-1 turmeric tea, is one of the most famous in the market.
It's packed with ten herbs including turmeric, pandan, lagundi, ginger, banaba, lemongrass, peppermint, malunggay, gynura procumbens, and sambong. It also offers pure honey and pure guyabano as well as turmeric powder.
Photo by Tsaa Laya
Tsaa Laya, a premium tea brand, aims to put the spotlight on the Philippines’ local herbs and spices and use them as ingredients to create local tea flavors.
What started as a social enterprise now provides livelihood to partner communities including Kiangan Tea Village and Calauan Tea Village.
Choose from its various collections — from canisters to loose-leaf and tea bags — and enjoy a sip of signature blends including Lemon Ginger, Pandan, Tanglad, and Java Banaba, among others. They also offer tea wares and gift sets perfect as souvenirs.
Photo by Celestea
A brand born out of the owner’s love for tea, Celestea is an artisan tea brand that aims to bring locally grown and even imported teas closer to every Filipino and provide them with healthier drink option while helping small farmers.
Some teas are sourced from India, Nepal, and Africa. Others came straight from local sources. Celestea offers different flavors including peppermint, hibiscus, chamomile, butterfly pea, rosebud, and lavender. Add a bit of natural sweetener from the shop too, and you’re good to go.
Photo by Gourmet Farms Inc.
Gourmet Farms offer a mix of different tea flavors all grown from the farm itself — from ampalaya which is known to benefit diabetics; banaba for weight loss; ginger for your throat issues; lagundi for cough; to sambong for cleansing your kidney.
What started as three women’s venture into sustainable lifestyle is now an ecommerce brand bringing natural and eco-friendly products to Filipinos. Echostore’s owners aim to help small artisans and producers and that includes tea farmers too.
Now, they offer their own tea variants including Tea Duo, an infusion of lagundi and guyabano; Chaya Tea, a sweet and refreshing drink that’s 100% organic and made from coconut sap and Chaya leaf extract; Turmeric and Ginger tea, a powerful combination known to have antioxidant properties; and Amazing tea, a concoction of nutritious herbs such as turmeric leaves, ginseng, Gotu Kola, Banaba, Sibucao, Coconut Sugar and Stevia leaves extract.
Taste the Flavors of Philippine Tea
Whether you’re a tea connoisseur, or simply someone looking to spice up your beverage of choice with a healthier option, the Philippines’ has enough variety of flavors that will indulge you.
Next time you’re looking for a locally sourced product worth bringing home or sending to friends during your tours in the Philippines, make sure to put Philippine tea in your list. Or better yet, and if you can, grow them in your own backyard.
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