Flavored teas are the ones that have some additional flavor added to them. A myriad of flavors including lavender, chamomile, jasmine etc. are added to enhance the flavor, aroma and taste of tea. Generally, black tea and green teas are used as base teas and the flavors are added to these either in the liquid (including emulsions) or dry form. Liquid flavoring is preferred for teabags whereas dry flavor is best suited for loose tea.
Flavoring agents used to flavor your tea-
1) Inclusions- These are dehydrated pieces of herbs, spices or fruits that are added to the tea. They are primarily responsible for the visual appeal and an excellent sensory effect. 2) Extracts- These are the concentrated forms of essential oils derived from fruits, herbs and spices. Essential oils can be extracted by using physical methods such as pressing a lemon peel or mechanically using organic solvents such as alcohol. 3) Natural Identical Flavors- These are obtained from natural substances but through chemical synthesis. They tend to be more chemically stable than natural flavors.
Tea has the magical property of being able to absorb the flavor of almost anything, this property is the very reason why we have such a diverse group of tea blends ranging from simple flavors like jasmine to the more intricate ones like chocolate and chili.
The process of tea blending starts with harvesting the base teas such as black tea or green tea this can be done by hand using experienced labor or mechanically by machines. They undergo a complex series of steps from roasting, fermentation and drying. Once the base teas are ready, they can be flavored using the following techniques-
A tea can be flavoured through 3 different ways either by adding inclusions, using extracts to coat the base tea and lastly by using scents. Although inclusions are not considered strong enough to change the flavour of the tea but do provide a distinct aroma. The Most widely used method to flavour is by using natural identical agents these agents have a unique consistency that is usually thicker than water but thinner than olive oil the total amount of flavouring agent used depends on the flavor and required strength, but typically falls between 0.5% and 5% of the weight of the base tea being used.
The extract Is applied to the tea either by directly pouring it over the base tea or by spraying the dry leaves, finally the leaves are mixed to ensure uniform distribution.
Scented teas gained popularity during the yuan dynasty in china. Authentic teas flavours such as jasmine and rose impart their flavour on the leaves through this method. The tea is hygroscopic in nature so it readily absorbs the aromas surrounding it. One method of scenting tea leaves is through placing the teas upon a bed and then a layer of freshly plucked flowers is placed over the tea this arrangement is left overnight during which the tea takes on the subtle aroma and flavour of the flowers. Some of the most commonly used flowers used to scent tea include jasmine, rose and magnolia. Tea blending is quite a simple process. Flavouring can also be done at home Start with dried tea leaves, black or green are most commonly used for blending, place in a sealed container with your chosen flavours – dried flowers, fruits, herbs, spices, candy – and let sit until the flavours have blended. Whatever be the method of flavouring or the kind of flavour used, the end product will always have an enchanted exquisite flavour that is bound to surprise your taste buds!