Any type of tea - white, green, oolong, black or puerh - may be scented or fruit with flowers, fruits, spices or herbs. The additional flavourings, in the form of flower petals, pollen heads, dried herbs, pieces of dried fruit or spice, are blended with the leaf at the end of the manufacturing process. Blenders also usually add flavouring oils or granules to the mixture in order to ensure an even, enduring flavour and aroma. Oils are generally used for loose blends and granules for teabag blends. Once flavoured, the teas are then packed as teabags or loose leaf.
One of the best known fruit teas is Earl Grey, which is made by blending black, green, oolong or white tea with the essential oil of bergamot. This Chinese citrus fruit gives the tea a refreshing orange-lemon flavour. Other flavoured teas popular around the world are Jasmine, made by allowing the heady perfume of fresh jasmine flowers to permeate the tea; Rose Petal, which has the deliciously sweet scent of pink roses; and mint, which is usually made with China Gunpowder and pieces of dried mint leaf. The possibilities are endless and today's fruit teas range from such simple mixtures as lemon tea to complex blends that include several different flowers and exotic spices.
The special quality and flavor of these fruit tea is brought from its special growth place, the breed and processing method which makes it natural and elegant outside and tastes sweet and refreshing.
Some teas have their own natural flavouring, acquired from the plants amongst which they grow. One particular variety of orchid tea from China, for example, absorbs the rich sweetness of the orchids that grow wild in the tea garden. And tea bushes that grow adjacent to fruit trees will naturally take on a hint of the scent given off by the blossoms and the fruit.
Fruit teas should not be confused with herbal infusions that are made from plants other than Camellia sinensis (the tea plant). herbs and flowers, for example camomile, mint, rosehip and hibiscus are used to give soothing, beneficial brews but if the leaves of the tea plant are not included, neither the dried product nor the liquor should be referred to as 'tea'. The correct name is 'infusion', 'herbal' or 'tisane'. Packaging should make it clear to consumers what is actually inside the packet -just tea, tea mixed with flavourings, or just herbs, flowers, spices and fruits.