Friday, October 24, 2014

A Few Fave Flavored Teas For Fall

Because I'm an alliteration addict, but I digress...

Now that the weather's finally cooling down, I can regularly embrace steeping teas on a regular basis. And although I do enjoy a clean cup of sencha or a robust Darjeeling, lately I have been exploring flavored teas. No, I'm not talking about something that smells like a Bath & Body Works (I'm looking at you, Teavana!) but ones that are more nuanced and delicate, working with the tea leaves natural aromas & flavors rather than trying to mask it.

And here are a few of my favorites for varying moods & occasions:

Something fruity: Thé des Alizés from Palais des Thes'

This Parisian tea company was the one that began my intrigue (& eventual embrace) of flavored teas, back when they were used for Jin Patisserie's afternoon tea service. While it's hard to pick a favorite flavored tea from this company, I'm particularly enamored with this one because the lush, juicy notes of peaches, kiwi & watermelon plays so nicely with the delicately sweet-grassy notes of the green tea. And it's great one to have year-round, since it works amazingly well as an iced tea too!

Something floral: La Vie en Rose from American Tea Room

While this tea shop has a floral-centric signature American Beauty blend (which combines white tea with roses, jasmine, lavender and mint), I prefer the singular, more focused aroma and flavor of this one, which smells wonderfully fragrant without being perfumey. Combine that with its mildly fruity taste and a clean finish and you got a tea that's incredibly easy to drink (another great choice for iced tea).

Something sweet: White Coconut Crème from Art of Tea
This one threw me for a doozy, since it smells so rich & creamy (think coconut flan or panna cotta) but actually tastes rather light. And unlike most other coconut-scented things, I love the restraint in this tea, resulting in a just noticeable enough aroma and not bonking you over the head with the actual fruit. Another great perk: it's great for those watching their sugar/calorie intake, since it smells sweet & when steeped properly, this tea is not astringent at all, so you can easily drink this as is without the need for sugar & milk. (Lastly, the loose leaves are so pretty thanks to the cornflowers & safflowers blended in.)

Something spicy: Reena's Chai from Chado Tea Room
Of course, I can't really talk about flavored teas without mentioning the oldest & most traditional of them all: masala chais whose history dates back a few millenia ago. Like all spice blended things, everyone has their own favorite ingredients & proportions; for masala chai, Reena's is my consistent favorite since the bold sweet spices (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla) hold its own against the robust black tea leaves and stand out even after mixing in sugar and milk. With its spicy aromas, this is great with desserts or even just after a meal (especially for those who don't do coffee.) For the caffeine-sensitive, Chado also offers a herbal version of this blend too!

Something seasonal: Winter Dream Tea from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
One blend that I look forward to every year as the days get shorter and (slightly) chillier. This spice-infused black & rooibos blend is all sorts of comforting (especially in the form of a slightly sweetened latté), with gentle notes of sweet spices and rich mouthfeel, as if your tongue & tastebuds are being covered by a liquid security blanket. Thinking about this makes me wish the the pumpkin spice mania is over all the sooner so that this can debut!

Of course, tea purists will probably scoff at all this adulteration (hopefully they realize some of the classics - like Earl Grey - are flavored teas too!) but if you're open to a little flavor beyond sweeteners & milk in your tea, hope you'll give these a try … and share some of your favorites too!

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful information you have provided dear!! You know I love Green drink and I have green tea regularly. I feel Green drinks are a best way to add nutrition to our diet. I highly recommend green tea to everyone.