Monday, December 27, 2010

Be It Sweet, Savory, Spicy, Or Smoky - Flavored Teas Satisfy No Matter What Your Palate Preference

When Chinese emperor, scholar, and herbalist, Shen Nung, first discovered tea in 2737 B.C. he immediately recognized it as healthy, and for centuries tea was drunk mainly as a tonic or medicinal brew.

But by the time of the Han Dynasty (AD 206-220) tea was already being flavored with herbs, spices, and dried fruit such as ginger, mint, orange peel, salt, and onions. These early additions led to the creation of the flavored teas we enjoy today, with literally thousands of choices available.

Dried Fruit

Any type of tea - green, black, white, oolong, or pu-erh can be used as the base for flavored tea. Dried fruit, herbs and spices, flower petals, pollen heads, as well as essential oils and flavor granules are blended with the tea at the end of the manufacturing process to ensure an even, lasting flavor and aroma.

Essential oils are usually added to loose tea blends, and flavor granules are usually added to tea bag blends.

Flowers have always been a favorite tea flavoring of the Chinese. One of the most popular floral flavored teas is Jasmine, made by layering tea with fresh jasmine flowers, allowing the sweet scent to permeate the tea leaves.

Rose petal is another deliciously flavored tea, with the sweet, delicate floral scent of pink roses. Rose Congou is made from carefully unbroken black tea leaves and dried pink rosebuds. Other popular flowers used as flavorings are orchids, violets, osmanthus, and marigolds, just to name a few.

Herbs and spices also make popular tea flavorings. The popular Indian Marsala Chai tea is made with a base of black tea and flavored with pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and sugar. The tea concoction is boiled and drunk with plenty of milk and sugar, and served in many of India's upscale restaurants.

Marsala chai is also brewed up in brass kettles and pots on street corners by young boys called "chai wallahs." It is sold to passers-by in little pottery cups that are discarded after use.

Ginseng, mint, rosehips, hibiscus, and chamomile are a few of the herbs used as flavorings in tea. One popular example is China Gunpowder green tea, which usually has mint essential oil, and pieces of dried mint added.

Citrus fruits are popular flavorings, especially lemon, often used to flavor cold or iced tea drinks, but also tasty in hot tea. Lime and orange are also often used. One of the best known citrus flavored teas is Earl Grey, made by blending green, white, black, or oolong tea with essential oil of bergamot, a Chinese citrus fruit similar to an orange.

Rock fruits - apricot, peach, cherry, make delicious flavored teas, as do all types of berries. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry are all very popular flavorings.

Some teas get their flavor by being smoked. Lapsang Souchong is made from a base of black tea before being taken to special smoking sheds. There it receives a long, hard smoke over pine and cypress wood fires, imbuing the tea with a rich smoky flavor enjoyed by millions worldwide.

The vast spectrum of available tea flavors is limited only by the imagination. One traditional favorite flavored tea from China's Yunnan Province is Ba Bao Cha or Eight Treasures Tea. Raisins, walnuts, dried wolfberries, sesame seeds, longan, dates, and rock sugar are combined with a base of green or jasmine tea to create a unique flavor profile.

There are even chocolate and caramel flavored teas perfect for after dinner in place of high calorie desserts. These teas may taste deceptively sweet and rich, but they are really a healthy, low-calorie, guilt free alternative, satisfying even the worst sweet tooth cravings.

So, whatever flavors are your favorites, you can bet there is a flavored tea just waiting to satisfy your cravings.

Be It Sweet, Savory, Spicy, Or Smoky - Flavored Teas Satisfy No Matter What Your Palate Preference

Darlene Freiberg is a freelance copywriter, author, and web publisher, with an avid interest in everything TEA. Come uncover and explore the many amazing facts about tea by visiting:

For more information and to learn more about flavored teas visit:

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