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Green tea

Green tea

If you like your tea to have a little bit of a kick, you’re in luck. There are many varieties of alcoholic beverages these days that are flavored with tea. One of the more popular of these categories lately seems to be vodka. Perhaps it’s because vodka is a clear, relatively flavorless liquid that distillers are so keen to blend it with the relatively subtle flavors of tea.

It’s hard to say for sure who pioneered the notion of tea-flavored vodka, but the Napa Valley-based Charbay Winery and Distillery lays claim to the first green tea vodka produced in the United States. The company claims that Charbay Green Tea Vodka took five years to create and derives its tea goodness from “rare first-growth green tea from the Anhwei Province, a prime growing region along China’s fabled Silk Route.” If you’d like to try out some of Charbay’s recipes for green tea vodka cocktails, look here.

From green tea vodka to sweet green tea vodka is presumably just a short step and it’s a step that the Phillips Distilling Company took in 2010, when they introduced UV Sweet Green Tea Vodka. Number twelve in the UV Vodka family of flavored vodkas, the green tea variety is said to blend “the Zen-like qualities of green teas with a modern sweet tea twist.”

If you like your sweet tea to be a little more traditional – that is, made from black tea and sugar – then you shouldn’t have any problem finding a sweet tea vodka to suit your tastes. Here’s a recent article from Fox News that takes a look at four sweet tea vodkas made by smaller distillers. It’s a market that’s getting rather crowded nowadays, given that there are also sweet tea vodka products made by larger spirit companies like Jeremiah Weed, Sweet Carolina, Seagrams, and Firefly.

In any event, if you’re looking for a tea-flavored vodka, you’ll have no shortage of choices nowadays. And, as always, be sure to remember to drink your tea-flavored vodka responsibly.

See also:
More Offbeat Teas
Offbeat Tea Drinks
Tea, Meet Beer
Tea, Meet Coffee 

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea

Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea

Tea is grown and produced in many countries around the world, but there are several tea-growing regions that are best known for turning out one specific variety of tea.

Take Japan, for instance, which is known primarily for its many varieties of green tea and not much else. Or the state of Assam, which is located in northeast India. Assam is one of the largest tea-growing regions in the world and nearly all of the tea produced there is black. The same goes for India’s other tea-growing regions — Darjeeling and Nilgiri — which turn out black tea in much more modest quantities than Assam. Black tea is also the name of the game in Africa, another significant player in tea production. Then there’s Sri Lanka, which is best known for producing a black tea known as Ceylon, which is the former name of this island nation.

Among the big players there is one notable exception to this rule and that would be China, one of the world’s top tea producers. China grows pretty much all of the six major varieties — black, green, white, yellow, oolong, and puerh — within its considerable boundaries and is really not known for any one more than the others.

If you ever find yourself in the mood for something a bit offbeat, you might want to seek out lesser known teas from some of the aforementioned regions. Take black tea from Japan, for example. They’ve been producing it there for more than a century and though it’s never been anything more than a marginal contender it’s worth seeking out for its mellow, flavorful taste. Black matcha would seem to fall into the same category as other Japanese black teas, but the varieties on offer from various merchants seem to actually be powdered versions of Indian black teas. Matcha, as most of us know it, is a powdered tea made from Japanese green varieties.

Speaking of India, what better time to point out there are varieties produced there that aren’t black, though they are comparatively rare. I had the pleasure of tasting a white Assam some years back and found that it tasted — oddly enough — somewhat like a Darjeeling black. I have yet to run across any green Assam varieties, but a little bit of research suggests that they do exist, as is the case with green teas from both Darjeeling and Nilgiri.

As for Sri Lanka, as already noted, it’s probably best known for its somewhat astringent black tea varieties, but you should also be able to find some green and white Ceylons without too much effort. Ditto for Kenya, the most significant producer of black tea in Africa, which also makes very modest quantities of green tea.

See also: Assam Tea BasicsMore on Assam, Teas from Africa, Main Ceylon Tea Growing Regions, and many more on this blog for more details!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

White Monkey Paw Green Tea

White Monkey Paw Green Tea

Most of us have probably heard the one about monkey-picked tea. It’s a popular legend (most likely with no basis in truth) about specially trained monkeys who were once sent out to pick leaves that were inaccessible to less agile humans.

Trying to go this notion one better, China’s Jiuhua Mountain Tea Plantation recently went in search of ten virgins to pick tea leaves with their mouths, a job that was supposedly carried out by fairies in some earlier time. Needless to say, this peculiar recruiting drive was the cause of at least some small amount of controversy. The news report, which appeared in London’s Daily Mail, does not appear to be an April Fool’s joke or any other kind of gag, but who’s to say.

On a slightly less fanciful note is the notion that tea can actually advance your career. Or more specifically, the idea that making tea (or coffee) in an office setting can increase your chances for a promotion. A study conducted by office supplies company Viking found that most of the 1,600 workers surveyed felt there was a connection between making hot beverages at work and moving up the corporate ladder.

Twinings Lady Grey tea

Twinings Lady Grey tea

On the flip side of this is another report from the Daily Mail, which tells the sorry tale of an employee who alleges that he was fired for making the wrong type of tea. James Alden, an employee at a Manchester, England co-op, claims that he was fired, among other reasons, for using Twinings Lady Grey tea bags while on break instead of the co-op’s own fair trade tea.

Last up, a report that asserts that small particles like tea leaves or industrial contaminants can flow upstream under the right conditions. Cuban researchers discovered this tendency when preparing yerba mate, a popular South American herbal beverage, by decanting water from one container into another one that actually contained the leaves. The discovery is likely to have implications for industries that are trying to curb waterborne contaminants.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For those of us who live in the West, there was a time when tea meant one thing — black tea in a tea bag, typically served with milk or cream and a sweetener of some sort. Needless to say, things have changed considerably in recent years. Nowadays, we have access to a wide range of teas of every type, and herbal beverages such as yerba mate and rooibos have also made leaps and bounds in popularity.

Tiger Wing Herbal Mate Teas - 5 Flavor Sample Pack - 20 Teabags

Tiger Wing Herbal Mate

Which, for most of us, is enough variety in tea for at least a lifetime or three. But if that’s not enough selection for you, you can avail yourself of a few tea-related beverages that are a little more unusual.

Like Tibetan tea. Butter tea, also known as po cha, starts with a base of black tea, and is flavored with large quantities of yak butter and salt. It’s something of an acquired taste for those who haven’t grown up with it, but Tibetans drink whopping amounts of the stuff. Po cha isn’t readily available outside of Tibet, but if you’re in the Minneapolis area, you can drop by Gangchen Bar and Restaurant and try some. More here.

If you’re looking for something a little more palatable to Western taste buds, you could try a tea-based soda. Kombucha is not tea in the strictest sense of the word, but this unusual beverage, which is brewed from a yeast culture, is of interest to tea lovers since it’s often blended with tea. Once almost strictly the province of avid enthusiasts who brewed their own, there are several manufacturers these days who have brought kombucha to the commercial marketplace. One notable one, according to yours truly, is Kombucha Wonder Drink, a “curiously tart, sparkling fermented tea” that’s available in several flavors.

If yerba mate, the popular South American herbal beverage, is more to your liking, you might want to check out Materva. As with po cha, yerba mate can be something of an acquired taste for those who have not grown up drinking it, so a yerba mate soda like Materva can be useful in bridging that gap.

Then there’s Tisano, a newer product that bills itself as a chocolate or cacao tea. Which is arguably more about chocolate than tea, but the manufacturers refer to it as an herbal tea nonetheless and appear to have taken the product’s name from tisane, a French term that essentially means herbal tea.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

With the rising interest in specialty and artisanal foods and beverages in recent years have come a number of the latter that have sought to merge tea in one way or another with something that has a little more of a punch. As noted in an earlier article on this blog, these include various formulations of vodka, liqueur, and malt beverages, among other things.

Steamed Darjeeling Green Tea

Steamed Darjeeling Green Tea

If beer, ale and that sort of libation happens to be more to your liking, then you’re also in luck. There’s probably a flavored beer to please every imaginable taste nowadays and of course there are a number of brewers out there who have experimented with melding tea and beer. One of the more long standing entrants into this category is iKi Bier, a product of the Netherlands that combines green tea and yuzu, a type of Asian citrus fruit. Also from Europe, there’s Lindemans Tea Beer, a product of Brouwerij Lindemans, of Belgium.

For even more of this sort of thing, take a look at Sah’tea, a product of Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Described as “a modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer,” it combines rye, juniper berries, and “a sort of tea made with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.” Of course, black tea would not likely have been found in Finland in the 9th century, but we quibble. Enjoy it anyway.

According to their web site, California-based brewer The Lost Abbey, has been contemplating a T.E.A. series, which is a line of Traditional Experimental Ales that will include various flavored teas from the popular tea merchant, The Republic of Tea. More on this effort at Lost Abbey’s web site.

Yerba Mate is not — at least technically speaking — a type of tea, but is a tea-like beverage much loved in South America. So it’s worth noting the existence of Mateveza. It also hails from California, from the Mendocino Brewing Company. As the name suggests, it’s a mix of yerba mate and beer. Mateveza has been around for several years now and is available in two varieties – MateVeza Organic India Pale Ale and MateVeza Organic Black Lager. More on these here.

Lots of tea chatter on William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Grandma's Angels Gift Set with your choice of coffee or teaTea is tea and coffee is coffee and never the twain shall meet. Or shall they? Well, if the truth must be told sometimes they come pretty close. While some tea drinkers wouldn’t touch coffee with a ten-foot stirring stick and there are coffee drinkers who feel the same way about tea, there are also those people who are able to cross these imaginary boundaries and enjoy both.

Regardless of which of these camps you’re a part of, you might find some of the various hybrid tea/coffee products to be of interest. Take Cascara, for instance. It’s a product that’s prepared in much the same way as a tea or tisane, but it is made from the so-called cherries that surround the coffee bean. While in many cases these cherries are regarded as a by-product of the process of making coffee, they have been used to make a tea-like beverage in this manner in various parts of the world for quite some time. For more on coffee bean tea, look here.

If coffee leaf tea sounds like it would be more to your liking, you’re in luck. There is actually such a thing. Known as kootee or qutti, it is particularly popular in Ethiopia, where it is typically steeped like tea and flavored, much in the same way as chai, with milk and fragrant spices such as cardamom. Straying a little farther from the tea world and veering closer to actual coffee is the curiously named Teabean, which is a type of coffee made from a white coffee bean but which is said to resemble tea somewhat in flavor.

If you’re looking for the ultimate hybrid of tea and coffee, how about a product that actually combines tea and coffee? That would be a bottled tea called Yin Yang, from the good people at Cha Dao Tea. More about it in this review from the BevNet web site, where they conclude that it “drinks surprisingly well, with light notes of black tea and coffee hitting the palate.”

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

With the popularity of this tiny hot beverage, it’s easy for some to say that tea has gotten too trendy and that anything too trendy will come to an end.  But they said that about soap, about fast food, about hip-hop and all these things are here to stay.  Indeed, the American societal embrace of tea is not a flash in the pan, but more like the evolution of a young country whose tastes are also evolving.

It does seem that way, seeing as many other parts of the world have held to tea-drinking traditions for hundreds of years.  Tea is not a new concept, just a new concept for some.  Of course I would think it’s safe to say that here in America, we have cornered the market on novelty and flavored teas.  Far beyond the reaches of the general black, green, oolong or white varieties are a plethora of blends which tease and seduce the taste buds into thinking that anything is possible!

The flavored tea market has certainly expanded.  Flavors of every kind can find their way into tea ranging from conservative: Blueberry, Lemon, Cinnamon, or Peach, to the more abstract like: Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Mint, and Hawaiian Colada and White Persian Melon.  And while we’re at it, I’ve even seen Beer Tea and Jalapeño Tea!

Blends like these can be an enjoyable alternative to the straight up tea leaves.  And for some novice tea drinkers it can be a fun way to get into drinking tea in the first place.
If the use of artificial flavors is an issue for you, then it would be wise to check how these teas are flavored – because some things simply do not impart a naturally rich taste when thrown in hot water.

We like choice and we like variety in everything we buy and in the products we consume.  It never ceases to amaze me, how many variations we have of M&M’s.  So it will never cease to amaze me that there will always be a new tea to try, and some new flavor concoction to steep.  If it’s all too trendy for you, then grab yourself a soothing cup of Darjeeling!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you’re a teetotaler you might as well stop reading now. This article is not for you. But if you’re open to flavoring your tea with something a little stronger or, for that matter, flavoring your strong stuff with a little tea, then read on. For more on the notion of mixing alcohol with tea, refer to an article posted previously in these pages.

But first, a few words about the word teetotaler. Contrary to what some might believe it apparently does not have anything to do with tea, aside from the fact that those who abstain from alcohol might turn to tea as an alternative. For more on the origins of this word, look here.

If you’re keen on spirits flavored with tea there are a number of these hybrids that you can choose from, including several varieties of vodka, a few types of liqueur and more. As this article in the Dallas Observer recently noted, the makers of Beefeater, a well-known brand of gin have decided to branch out with a tea-flavored gin that blends Japanese sencha, Chinese green tea, grapefruit and orange peels.

If vodka is your drink then you’re in luck. In addition to the several varieties already on the market, the makers of Firefly Sweet Tea vodka have thrown their hats in the ring with a beverage that pays tribute to the so-called house wine of the South. That would be sweet tea, a heavily sugared black tea that’s what you’re likely to get when you order iced tea south of the Mason-Dixon line. More about it in this article from the New York Times.

Beer flavored with tea is not a new concept and there’s even a variety of beer flavored with yerba mate, a popular South American herbal beverage. From the Toronto Star, here’s some information about Mill Street Lemon Tea Beer, which was brought to the market by a local brewmaster.

Check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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