I like tea as well as the next person and in many cases probably quite a bit more. But I’ve never had much use for some of the most popular varieties of flavored tea. Earl Grey, arguably the most popular of all flavored teas, has always reminded me somewhat of liquid perfume. Lapsang Souchong, the black tea with the smoky flavor, is not unlike drinking a campfire. I find jasmine tea a little easier to take, but it’s another that I rank in that liquid perfume category. Then there’s masala chai, which I’ve always likened to drinking baked goods.
But that’s all well and good. Everyone likes what they like, and the fact that some people prefer their tea with flavoring while others of us don’t doesn’t really hurt any of us (so please hold off on those angry letters). And if the truth must come out, there are actually some less popular types of flavored tea that I kind of like.
First off, a quick note about Earl Grey. After I conceived of writing this article, I actually had the opportunity to mix some Earl Grey that I happened to have lying around with vanilla-flavored rooibos. Vanilla is another flavor that typically does not do much for me, but I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot. If worse came to worse, the drain was right at hand. As a matter of fact — and I can’t quite explain how it happened — but this slightly offbeat mix actually turned out to be rather palatable. Go figure.
One of my favorite flavored tea blends is one that doesn’t really get a lot of press, at least not that I’m aware of. That would be black tea flavored with peach. I first ran across this combo in my early days of tea drinking, courtesy of a somewhat well-known tea company who apparently still makes this one. While this particular flavoring might also work with green, white, or other varieties of tea, I think it works best with black tea, as do such more or less peach-like flavors as mango and passionfruit.
Some of the flavors that I’ve found do tend to work well with lighter varieties of tea include ginger and peppermint. The only problem I’ve found with these — and especially the latter — is that they tend to overpower the tea that they’re combined with. Consequently, I tend to prefer drinking them on their own, in the form of a tisane.
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