Scented, Flavored, and Blended Teas

Scented, Flavored, and Blended Teas

Flavored teas are white, green, oolong, or black teas that have been processed and then blended with spices or herbs, flower petals, or the essential oils of fruits. In all cases, the additional flavorings have been blended with leaves from the Camellia sinensis or the Camellia assamica, and these teas should not be confused with herbals or fruit infusions which contain no product of the tea plant.

Ever since they first discovered tea, the Chinese have been adding other flavorings to their tea, either by blending flowers or fruits with the processed leaf, or by adding extra ingredients to the water being boiled to brew tea, or to the brew itself.

Some Chinese teas have an orchid aroma. This is especially true of Keemun tea which has a mild sweet flavor. All teas readily absorb other flavors (a good reason to store them carefully, away from other strong smells and flavorings), and green tea lends itself most readily to scenting.

The Chinese use three systems for naming scented teas. Either they use the name of the flower that has been added—for example Moli Huacha (jasmine Flower Tea) and Yulan Huacha (Magnolia Flower Tea), or the name of the unflavored tea that is used for scenting is prefixed by Hua (meaning flower) - for example, Hualongjing and Hua Oolong, or thirdly, the name of the fruit used for flavoring names the tea - for example, Litchi Black (Lizhi Hongcha).

Blenders in Europe usually use the name of the fruit, flower or spice that has been added to the raw tea - for example, Mango tea, Passion Flower tea, etc - or they give the blend a special brand name, such as Casablanca, a tea marketed by Mariage Freres in Paris which contains Moroccan mint and bergamot.