To know all about flavored tea, one must first gain some background information about tea processing. As a matter of fact, processing plays a central role in producing different kinds of tea. This processing traditionally consists of the following steps:
The topmost leaves and buds on the plant are manually picked.
The plucked leaves are left to wither for 24 hours.
The withered tea leaves are crushed between metal rollers to blend the naturally occurring chemicals inside.
The leaves, thus rolled, are allowed to oxidize in the open air for several hours.
Finally, the oxidized leaves are heated to remove any remaining moisture.
While on the subject, it is worthwhile to know that the type of oxidation performed determines whether black tea, green tea, or something in-between is produced. Black is made by fully oxidizing tea leaves. Green tea is made by steaming the tea leaves before they are rolled. The heat destroys the enzymes, so that the leaves remain green throughout the rest of the process. Black tea is widely used and about 75% of leaves harvested around the world are made as black tea. Bulk of the remaining 25% leaves become green.
There are far too many flavors and to decide which one you would like, it is necessary to narrow down the choice. If you are fond of a particular variety like black, white or green, then you should choose the flavored tea from one of these varieties.
Another secret to choosing the flavor is to opt only for early plucked loose tea. Also bear in mind that high grade quality tea consistent with rich flavor comes from gardens that does manual processing. One should only choose tea with natural flavor and tea with artificial flavor will corrupt the basic essence of the beverage.
Unlike white or green, black tea is the strongest of all teas and thus black can withstand more pungent and stronger flavor. Flavors like chocolate, coffee and strong fruits like currants and plums are delicious with black, but might not be proper for white or green tea. Weaker flavors like mango and pear might be suitable for white or green.
Green tea is favored by many for the simple reason that it has a very natural taste and flavor coupled with a mild sweetness. As a result green tea will go well with almost any fruit flavor. In addition, green tea works beautifully with many herbs and spices including less pungent mint and ginger. White tea is very light and delicate and unsuited for any strong or pungent flavor. On the other hand, it blend excellently with the right fruit or floral like melon, pears, peaches, jasmine and roses.
It is a good idea to choose flavored tea more for their health benefits than mere taste. It is a fact that green and white teas contain the highest level of natural anti-oxidants and thus combining these varieties of tea with other anti-oxidant laden botanical will provide a real health drink. If you are new to drinking flavor, you are missing a real treat. Some are extremely famous and should certainly be part of your tea repertoire.