The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
How to Make Your Own Unique
Flavored Teas
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Even though there are literally thousands of different types and styles of tea
(it's said there are over 3,000 different styles of
China green tea alone), from
the
six main types; black, green, oolong, white, yellow, and puerh, to blended,
scented, and flavored teas, there are endless combinations.  But sometimes
you may just crave a certain flavor of tea that you either can't find, or doesn't
exist.  Or you may just want to try your hand at creating your own unique sig-
nature flavor, whatever that may be.  
It can be fun and easy creating your own
flavored teas.  The first thing you need is a
base tea to which you'll add your flavorings.  
Just choose your favorite tea--you can use
any of the six main tea types or even use a
favorite
blended or scented tea as a base.  
Or you can even use a flavored tea and
enhance the core flavor, for example, take
strawberry or peach flavored tea and add
fresh strawberries or peaches to amp up
the flavor. (For two great recipes visit our
Kiwi Apple Strawberry iced tea and
Strawberry Lemonade iced tea recipes).

When making fla-
vored tea you can
use virtually any
type of fresh or
dried fruit; apple,
peach, plum, apricot, or pear.  Or if you love berries, strawberry, blue-
berry, raspberry, blackberry, or citrus fruits, orange, lemon, or lime are
always refreshing.  You can use dried peel, or make a puree from fresh or frozen fruit, or just
add the juice.  Whichever way you like best is fine.

                                            I like fresh squeezed juice with my tea, and add pieces of fresh
                                            fruit as a colorful, tasty garnish, as well as make ice cubes with
                                            the fruit puree to add later to iced tea, where pieces of dried fruit
                                            or peel works better with hot tea.

                                            
Herbs and spices are always an easy way to add just the right
                                            flavor to either hot or
iced tea.  Dried mint mixed together with
green tea is popular, with a sprig of fresh mint added when serving.  Adding a bit of lemon zest
or squeeze of fresh lemon makes it even more refreshing.

India's hot and spicy
chai tea has become popular in the West, and
it's easy to make your own flavor version.  The original uses a base
of
black Indian tea, a robust Assam or Nilgiri, then local spices such
as cardamom, pepper, ginger, fennel seeds, and cinnamon are added.
(See our
Hot Tea Drinks Recipes page for a version of Masala Chai).

Warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger (that you likely have in your kitchen
cupboard), or pieces of dried vanilla beans, along with dried apple and orange peel make great
      hot
harvest spiced tea mixes.  You can also try adding rose hips, hibiscus, and strawberry,
      raspberry, or blackberry leaves for an added layer of flavor.

      For more exotic flavors, tropical fruits
      such as pineapple, papaya, mango, and
      coconut, and even pomegranate are
      popular
blended together into a puree
      to make tea coolers.

      Flowers can also be used to add subtle
      flavors to milder white, green, or even
      
oolong teas. Pink rose petals, blue corn-
      flowers, marigold blossoms, and herbal
      blossoms of
jasmine and chamomile not
      only add flavor but a bit of color, as well
      as interesting textures to the mix.

      Other more exotic herbs and spices can
      also be used, not only to add flavor to
      your tea, but to address various
health benefits.  Licorice root, for example, is not just
      sweet but is used to
calm coughs and soothe sore throats.  Ginger is well known as an
      anecdote for motion sickness or an upset stomach.  Ginseng helps enhance memory
      and is known to
boost the immune system as well.

                                                   
Rooibos, an herb from South Africa can be used as a base tea
                                                   mixed together with lemongrass leaves, lemon and orange
                                                   peel, creating a satisfying and refreshing
caffeine free, citrusy
                                                   drink high in vitamin C.  Or maybe add bits of apple, cinnamon,
                                                   ginger, orange peel, lemongrass, pink pepper, cardamom,
                                                   cornflower, red currants, and coconut to a base of rooibos for
                                                   a sweet, spicy, citrusy, and tropical flavor blend.

      And last but not least, you can even add candy to create your
      own unique flavored tea.  Everything from caramel and butter-
      scotch to solid yogurt bits can be added.  And for chocohaulics
      you can even add bits of chocolate for a sweet creamy chocolat-
      ey cup of tea.  Sweetened pieces of fruit, rock sugar, craisins,
      raisins, dates, and nuts such as almonds, sesame seeds, wal-
      nuts, and sunflower seeds can all be combined together to
      create a pleasant and satisfying cup of tea.

      
Begin creating your favorite flavored teas by gathering together your ingredients; base tea, flavorings, and if you want to
make tea bags, some
fillable tea bags (see links below for tea and fillable tea bags in various sizes).

Once you have your base tea, the ingredients you're using to make your special flavored tea, the rest is pretty much
experimentation.  It's best to start small, maybe make enough for two or three cups of tea (so that if you hate it you
haven't wasted a lot of ingredients).  If it's not quite right the first time around, just keep adding or deleting a little bit
at a time until it's just right.

It's a good idea to have a little notebook handy to keep track of the ingredients and amounts of
each, making notations about different flavorings and which worked well and tasted good and
those that didn't. That way, once you have just the right recipe it will all be there for you to follow
and repeat.

Once you have your favorite flavorings and recipes worked out you may want to try using different
base teas for a whole new range of flavor combinations.  The possibilities are truly endless, limited
only by your imagination.  So dig in and have fun creating your very own favorite flavored teas.
Enjoy.
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