What’s better than tea?
Flavored tea of course!
Well, few may disagree but for the ones who like experimenting with their cuppa, flavored teas are perhaps the most interesting part of being a tea-lover. From herbal blends and spices to flower buds, natural oils and fruit extracts, the range of tea flavors is mind-boggling!
What is Flavored Tea? Flavored teas are the ones that have additional flavors added externally to it. Tea leaves are quite receptive to flavors. Whether they are blended in forms of liquid or dry ingredients, black and green tea leaves are usually the ones that team up well with all types of flavors. Liquid flavors are the best for teabags where the flavor is released slowly during the steeping process whereas, dry ones go best for the loose teas.
What are Tea ‘Flavors’?
Before we go ahead and talk about how tea is flavored, it’s important that we understand what’s meant by Flavors that are blended with tea leaves. So, here are a few variants of tea flavors:
Natural Granules: These are granules made from natural essence that are sprayed on the tea leaves all over and mixed properly till they blend with the leaves. At Goodwyn Tea, most of the flavors are blended in form of granules made of natural fruit, herb and blossom extracts.
Inclusions: Inclusions are solid particles of blossoms, spices, herbs and pieces of fruits that are mixed directly with the tea leaves or each other to create a perfect blend of flavors which, when steeped, gets you just the right taste. Herbal Infusions at Goodwyn is the perfect example of such a blend. You may also check out Goodwyn Chilli Chai and Vanilla tea that have real pieces of chilli and vanilla pods respectively.
Natural Extracts: These are flavors that are made of the extracts of essential oils of leaves, blossoms, fruits, roots and more. These extracts contribute to the fragrance that teas are supposed to have for their distinctive flavors. Usually this extraction process is complicated and goes through multiple means of extraction.
Nature Identical Flavors: This refers to the natural flavors that are extracted with the help of chemical processes. These flavors taste exactly like natural flavors, the difference being in the extraction process. This flavor is easier to preserve because they are more stable than the absolutely natural ones.These flavors are also less expensive than the natural ones. It must be noted that nature identical flavors are not artificial. They are just artificially extracted.
Artificial Flavors: As the name suggests, this flavor is created artificially to make better and stronger blends. Artificial flavouring agents are used to create the blends. These flavors also come for a reasonable price. Goodwyn does not use Artificial Flavors in its teas.
How is tea flavored?
Now that you’re aware of the common types of tea flavors, let’s talk about how is it done. It must be noted that there are two types of Flavored Teas. One is flavored in terms of the aroma and essence and the other has real extracts and ingredients blended with the leaves. Most of the flavored teas use nature identical flavoring process where the extract is sprayed on the leaves or mixed with it.
For small tea shops or boutiques that flavor tea for a handful of customers or for personal consumption, it is done manually whereas for large scale production and bigger companies, huge drums are used that rotate to blend the teas well. Let’s delve deeper:-
How is tea flavored for Large Scale Production?
Teas are flavored only after the leaves go through the drying/rolling and firing process. Since we’re talking about hundreds of Kgs of tea here, blending it uniformly is quite a challenge. There are majorly two popular ways of blending teas for large scale production. First being the manual process that effectively blends the flavors & teas. The second being electric spray and rotating mixer that can blend huge quantity of tea at one go.
For blends that have herbs and blossoms in it, like the Jasmine tea and other herbal infusions, ingredients are mixed with the leaves manually and left in a covered bin for the essence to completely blend with the tea. Some teas are left with the blossoms that have such strong scent that it naturally blends in with the tea leaves. Some leaves are smoked for definite spans for a smoky flavour.
Soon after the mixing process, the leaves are put in a covered container and left to dry for over a day for the flavors to completely blend in with the leaves. Carefully preserved and packed, these teas bring a world of flavors in your cup.
The wide range of flavors and ingredients available for tea will stagger your imagination. The variety and types of flavored teas have taken tea business to the next level where people are ready to buy tea online, experiment and try out new flavors and varieties.
So, it’s time you take the plunge and go for the newest exciting flavors besides the conventional tea that you’re so used to having and bored of.
It won’t hurt. We swear!