The following is my personal opinion on the real issues with flavored teas. Some of you may relate to this, having experienced these issues first hand. Others of you will pooh-pooh them, saying you love flavored teas. Either way, here goes…
Every once in awhile, I get a real hankering for a flavored tea and have quite a few on hand from which to choose (mainly, samples received from various vendors). I get out the 2-cup teapot, heat the water, and steep the tea. The aroma of the steeping tea gives a quick preview of the taste pleasure to come (usually). I pour the tea into the cup and take the first sip. Ah! The wonderful flavoring delivers up its stimulation as the aroma had foretold.
Then, I have the second cup, which by now has cooled a bit. The flavoring often changes, too, sometimes improving and other times degrading. But this isn’t the issue I spoke of. Even unflavored teas can change in flavor as they cool a bit in the cup or pot. Sometimes, they are even more flavorful when the heat starts to slip away, and other times the bad qualities come forth ― bitterness, dullness, overly-spinachy or planty or haylike qualities, etc.
So, what are the real issues?
The first real issue is — drum roll, please! — you get stuck with the flavor for hours. I enjoy that cup or two of Pumpkin Spice, Monk’s Blend, Vanilla Comoro, or Jasmine, but the taste lingers on and on in my mouth, eventually becoming stale and overbearing. Even a cup of straight, unflavored tea cannot always take that taste away.
Another issue is that the flavor is not always what you might expect from the aroma of the dry mix of tea leaves, fruit pieces, flower petals, etc. A recent example was one with various berries added to Chinese black tea. The aroma when dry was very cranberry-ish but the cup had more of a floral (safflower) aroma and taste.
Of course, the big issue for me is when a tea vendor takes a perfectly good portion of tea leaves and gunks them up with a bunch of “stuff” ― and, yes, I know that some tea devotees think that adding milk, lemon, honey, sugar, etc., is equally atrocious. On top of all that flavoring, they call these concoctions “blended teas” instead of “flavored teas.”
As I said at the beginning of this article, you may pooh-pooh all of this and go have another cuppa your fave flavored tea. But then, that’s the beauty of tea. Lots of options. Enjoy!
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