Buds to bolster the demand for flavoured tea

Sales of flavoured teas – both Camellia sinensis and botanical/herbal-based – are booming as the variety of offerings seems endless, which caters to consumers ever-changing palates. Couple that with the numerous functional, health, medical benefits associated with many of the flowers, herbs, spices, and fruits being used in flavoured teas, and the result is a category with continued strong global growth potential. By Divakar Kolhe

Tea has been enjoying its fair share of popularity since the last several decades – centuries, even – so much so that there are people whose day does not start in the true sense without taking a sip of hot tea. Plus, tea is known as a good antioxidant.

With regard to flavoured tea, the very concept springs from the fact that ‘variety is the spice of life.’ Breaking the monotonous rut is what humankind cares the most about. Tea has come a long way over the last few years in terms of flavours and the way they are being devised and marketed. Starting with fruits, the flavours have made a beeline to flowers, alcohols, and several chemical compounds. For instance, amyl acetate, which gives banana flavour, is distilled from real bananas. The mixture of amyl alcohol and vinegar also gives a banana flavour, but then it won’t be termed as ‘natural. Likewise, strawberry flavour could be devised naturally as well as artificially.

The best part about tea leaves is that most are receptive to flavours. It has been found that green and black tea leaves go well with almost every type of flavour. Dry flavours do well with loose teas, whereas liquid ones work for the teabags.

There are several variants regarding tea flavours as follows:

  • Natural extracts: These flavours come from extracts of the essential oils of the blossoms, fruits, leaves, roots, and likewise. The basic function of these extracts is that of contributing to fragrance of teas.
  • Natural granules: These granules, as the name suggests, come from natural essence that is spread on tea leaves all through. The mixing happens till blending with leaves happens. Most flavours come from granules comprising blossom, herb, and fruit extracts. Also, herbal infusions come as inclusions, which are solid particles of fruits, herbs, spices, and blossoms mixed with tea leaves on direct basis — when steeped, the right taste is obtained.
  • Nature-close flavours: These are the flavours extracted through chemical processes. There is not much difference between natural and nature-close flavours except for the extraction process. Preserving turns out to be simpler as compared to natural processes and cost-effective. It needs to be noted that here the extraction is artificial, not the flavour.
  • Artificial flavours: The name is self-explanatory. The flavours are created artificially to make stronger and better blends.

Another variety is that of scented tea. It is obtained from flowers like jasmine. Also, smoked tea is popular, which is processed around cypress or pine wood fires.

Medical benefits of flavoured tea

Tea has many healthy attributes such as being ‘chock full’ of antioxidants, polyphenols, and catechins, but there are also many medical benefits associated with various teas.

Earl Grey tea, for example, is a popular flavour that is formed by blending bergamot oil and tea leaves. The medical benefits include improvement in dental health, reduction of anxiety, helping in digestion, increasing energy levels, and body detox. Elderflower tea, a flavoured tea that is especially popular in Europe, is derived from a cream-coloured flower (elderflower) of the elderberry plant. This tea is a rich source of vitamin A, C and several essential nutrients. Apart from Europe, North America is the other major consumer of elderflower tea. In terms of medical benefits, elderflower tea relieves from fever, cough, headache, and cold. The respiratory disorders like tonsillitis, asthma, laryngitis, and others could also be relieved by drinking elderflower tea.

Though its origins could be traced to China, green tea’s popularity is unmatched across now. Japanese green teas are inclusive of hojicha, genmaicha, tencha, matcha, kabusecha, gyokuro, and sencha. Green tea is available in the form of iced green tea, green tea instant mixes, and green tea bags. The flavours include jasmine, wild berry, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon, and aloe vera. It helps in prevention of loads of ailments like tooth decay, diabetes, cancer, heart disorders by ascertain maintenance of proper blood level and cholesterol all over the body.

The least processed leaves on the part of Camellia sinensis produce white tea. It comprises juvenile buds. The floral-fruity flavour finds its applications in various industries like pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It does possess anti-microbial properties and acts as an excellent antioxidant.

Those vying for clean label products will sync with detox tea, which is conventional as well as organic. Detox tea, as the name suggests, helps in intestinal detox, liver detox, cardiac detox, and likewise.

Delving into flavoured tea

By type, bubble tea could be categorised as chocolate, fruits and berries, mixed/blend flavours, and honey. It is popular in the Asia Pacific, India, in particular. The latest offerings include fresh ingredients like fresh fruit, organic cream, green tea, and soy milk.

Amongst the instant tea mixes, encapsulated tea is trending in certain regions at the moment. Encapsulation is a technique to protect or entrap fragrance and flavours within a coating material. Encapsulated tea reduces the preparation time for the drink. The flavours available include cranberry, raspberry, mango, and lemonade. These flavours are captured by entrapping them within the tea leaves.

As far as alcoholic tea is concerned, it comes in a wide range of flavours including coconut, mint, peach, cucumber, lime, sweet apricot, mango, and berries.

In a nutshell, flavoured tea will continue to evolve as the taste buds of consumers will ask for more variations and there would be no stoppage to research being conducted therein.

  • Divakar Kolhe is a tech blogger, is a seasoned digital marketing professional, having worked for numerous online firms in his distinguished career. He believes in continuous learning, considering that the digital marketing sector’s rapidly evolving nature. His forte is analysing the commercial viability of a new breakthrough.

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