All of these specialty teas can be produced using “real” tea from the Camellia sinensis plant or herbal tisanes especially Rooibos and Honeybush which have the body and appearance of “real” teas. Any reference to tea includes the tisanes also.
These teas are produced when tea leaves are dried with other botanical material and take on their fragrance and taste or the botanicals can be mixed with the dried leaves as a final stage before it is packed. Numerous botanicals can be used including citrus, mint, rosebuds and vanilla, but some of the most popular are jasmine, chrysanthemum, gardenia and magnolia.
Flavored teas look just like any other tea because the flavor is more or less sprayed on the dried leaves. A popular flavored tea is Earl Grey which is sprayed with orange bergamot oil. Natural flavor oils or essential oils are used to impart a smooth subtle taste while still allowing the tea taste to develop, thus high quality teas are the best to use to flavor. Natural flavors do not leave an aftertaste giving the tea a clean and true character and tend to be somewhat muted. Fruit-flavored teas are generally made by combining a fruit’s essential oil with tea.
The spiced teas usually contain large pieces or whole spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or fruit rinds such as orange or lemon peel and thus you can see something in the tea. The spices can be a major or minor part of the combination. One of the most popular spiced teas today is Chai tea. It is spiced tea brewed with milk and honey or sugar and usually contains a small proportion of at least four of these spices: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, allspice, fennel, star anise and freshly ground black peppercorns for a little kick.
These teas result from the combination of either more than one tea together or tea with herbs and/or fruit. Various teas may be blended from various estates and regions to produce a desired character such as English Breakfast tea or various herbs may be blended to produce a particular flavor or health benefit such as a relaxing bedtime blend. Dried fruits such as cranberries or blueberries are often combined with tea, herb or spices to enhance their natural flavor.
These are produced from unique processing or plant material. Display teas are hand tied and “bloom” when brewed. Kukicha Twig tea uses the trimmed and roasted twigs from the Camellia sinensis plant.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”