Flavored Tea - An Overview
By William I. Lengeman III
For some tea drinkers the vast number of options provided by the hundreds or even thousands of unflavored varieties are more than enough to keep their taste buds satisfied. The addition of various herbs, spices and fruit flavors allows for a nearly infinite number of combinations, but there are several flavored teas that have become especially popular over the years.
Many flavored tea blends are made using a base of black tea. Among the most popular of these is Earl Grey, which is covered in more depth in this article. Earl Grey is flavored with the oil of a citrus fruit known as bergamot and is arguably one of the world’s most popular flavored teas.
Chai is another major contender for the title of world’s most popular flavored tea. Chai is a blend of black tea, milk, sweetener and spices. The beverage originated in India, where it remains quite popular to this day, and its popularity has gradually been increasing around the rest of the world.
Lapsang Souchong is a popular tea that originated in China. An acquired taste for some, it has a bold flavor that is derived from a base of black tea leaves flavored with smoke from wood fires.
Flower buds are another popular flavoring agent for tea. One of the most popular of these is jasmine, which contributes to the unique taste of jasmine tea. Because jasmine imparts such a delicate flavor, it works better when combined with light teas like green or white. Other popular flavored teas made with flowers include rose and chrysanthemum.
While you might not think of rice as an appetizing flavor for tea, it serves as an integral ingredient for one of Japan’s most popular flavored teas. Genmaicha is most often made with a base of green tea flavored with roasted rice. This imparts a flavor that’s somewhat reminiscent of popcorn. Another flavored tea that’s popular in India, though not nearly as popular as chai, is basil tea, also known as tulsi chai, which blends a type of basil with a base of black tea.
William blogs regularly at Tea Guy Speaks.