Turning Over a New Leaf
A new crop of tea products have hit the market.user rating
Tea products are springing up to meet the blossoming demand for new and exotic teas. As shoppers become savvier about provenance, companies have been sourcing tea from specific places and including this information on packaging. Certifications now also play a bigger role, particularly organic, fair trade and non-GMO. Here are new varieties hoping to make a splash.—Dina Cheney
Aiya America Matcha Zen Café Blend. Matcha has its roots in the age-old, ritualized Japanese tea ceremony, but the tea has become hugely popular in the U.S. in recent years through green tea lattes, ice cream and frozen yogurt. Matcha producer Aiya America has introduced Matcha Zen Café Blend single-serve sticks. Packaged in a box of 12, the packets contain granite-ground matcha mixed with cane sugar and fruit pectin. To prepare flavorful and deep-green lattes, smoothies or iced teas, just mix with milk or water.
Ito En Teas' Tea Plus Half & Half. Offering a twist on the Arnold Palmer (half iced black tea and half lemonade), Ito En has introduced Teas' Tea Plus Half & Half. Each of the line’s three bottled green tea beverages—in Lemon, Green Apple and Peach—contains tea made from whole green leaves. The beverages are sweetened with cane sugar and stevia, with just 50 calories per bottle, and are packaged in recyclable, BPA-free 16.9-fluid-ounce bottles.
Le Palais des Thés Green Teas Box Set. For an elegant, artful, invigorating gift, Paris-based Le Palais des Thés has assembled nine varieties of its whole-leaf green teas. The 54-count selection includes plain teas (Sencha Ariake, Long Jing and Tamaryokucha Impérial) and the company’s signature inspired blends (Thé du Hammam, Thé des Moines, Fleur de Geisha, Grand Jasmin Chun Feng, Thé des Sources and Thé des Alizés).
Bhakti Chai Iced Ready-to-Drink Chai. Previously only in concentrate form, Bhakti’s authentic, balanced spicy masala chai is now also available in ready-to-drink 16-ounce bottles. Made with fair trade–certified ingredients, including organic fresh ginger juice, black tea, spices and organic, non-GMO soy milk, the line comprises four products: Original, Semi-Sweet, Decaf and Coffee Blend. The Coffee Blend combines cold-pressed organic coffee with chai, while Semi-Sweet contains half the sugar of the other products in the line.
Bigelow Half & Half Iced Tea & Lemonade. Now that Bigelow has introduced Half & Half Iced Tea & Lemonade and Half & Half Iced Tea & Lemonade with Pomegranate tea bags, consumers can quickly prepare Arnold Palmers by the pitcher. These products contain black tea, natural flavors, black tea extract, lemon peel, sugar, and Reb A (a natural sweetener from the stevia plant). Each box contains six family-size quart tea bags.
Numi Organic Tea Pu-erh Blends. Pu-erh tea is said to have been developed more than 2,000 years ago in the mountains of Yunnan, China. To form this malty, antioxidant-rich black tea, tea leaves are piled, dampened and turned over a period of 60 days; they are then dried, compressed into bricks and further aged. Numi Organic Tea, which offers pu-erh loose-leaf, in whole-leaf tea bags and as iced tea, has added five flavors to its lineup of pu-erh tea bags: Basil Mint, Coconut, Cardamom, Ginger and Jasmine.
SerendipiTea Chirrepeco Organic Black Tea. This whole-leaf black tea is grown by the Chirrepec Tea Cooperative in mountainous Coban, Guatemala. Earthy and slightly smoky, this organic and fair trade–certified loose tea is smooth and medium-bodied. It is available in bulk for foodservice and in boxes for retail.
Tipu’s Authentic Indian Chai Tipu’s Chai Now. Micro-ground Tipu’s Chai Now is a new line of instant products in the Tipu’s Chai family. Customers can choose from Black Chai Tea and Chai Tea Latte, the latter of which contains cane sugar and organic, non-GMO soy-milk powder). Based on a recipe from the founder’s Gujarati grandmother, all of the company’s products include Assam tea and organic ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Vegan, kosher, and dairy- and gluten-free, the line is available for foodservice and retail.
Davidson’s Organics Tulsi Teas. Minty and floral tulsi (commonly known as holy basil) has been revered by many cultures for centuries. Davidson’s Organics offers six naturally flavored Tulsi products, all organic and fair trade–certified: Chamomile Flower, Hibiscus Flower, Pure Leaves, Rooibos Chai, Signature Blend and Spicy Green. The company provides seeds and saplings to farmers in India, who then cultivate the tulsi in the company’s biodynamic garden and slowly air-dry the leaves to preserve their oils. Davidson’s also donates 10 percent of Tulsi Tea proceeds to a fund for farmers’ benefit.
The Republic of Tea “Be Active” Teas. The Republic of Tea has introduced five health-oriented “Be Active” teas. All of the organic, caffeine- and gluten-free products feature flash-fermented green rooibos certified by The Rainforest Alliance. Varieties include Get Restored (for post-workout recovery), including chicory root, carob, milk thistle and grape seeds; Get Hydrated, with hibiscus, dates, black currant extract and rosehips; Get Limber (for enhancing flexibility and reducing inflammation) with ginger root and turmeric; Get Burning (to stimulate metabolism), containing holy basil and chili pepper, and Get Active (for endurance), containing holy basil, licorice, maca root and acerola berries. The products come in recyclable tins of 36 unbleached, round tea bags.
Choice Organic Teas Green and Chai Teas. To cater to the increased demand for green and chai teas, Choice Organic Teas has added two products in each category. Now, in addition to green teas from India, China and Japan, the company offers Premium Korean Green Tea, made with leaves grown on Jeju Island in South Korea; Decaffeinated Green uses leaves grown in the mountains of India and decaffeinated using carbon dioxide. In the chai category, Masala Chai blends malty Assam tea from India's Brahmaputra River Valley with five spices, while Rooibos Chai is naturally caffeine-free.
Oregon Chai Tea Bags. Several years after introducing chai tea latte concentrates and mixes to much acclaim, Oregon Chai has added chai tea bags to its product line-up. Three unsweetened offerings, featuring blends of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and anise, include: The Original, starring hand-processed Assam black tea; Energía, with natural energy boosters yerba mate and guayusa; and caffeine-free Dreamscape which builds its chai on a base of organic, hand-harvested rooibos.
Tea Forté Coconut Teas. Inspired by consumers’ thirst for coconut beverages, Tea Forte has infused the tropical star into three new tea blends, made with organic black or green tea, that sound like cocktails or even dessert: Coconut Mango Colada Green Tea (with Madagascar vanilla and lime), Coconut Chai Latte Black Tea (with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves) and Coconut Chocolate Truffle Black Tea (with cacao nibs and hazelnut). All are packed in fair trade–certified, eco-friendly filter bags and the company’s distinctive pyramid infusers.
Two Leaves and a Bud Tea Company Paisley Tea. Two Leaves and a Bud launched Paisley Tea Co. with the elegant tagline, “More than one might expect.” Each box of this new line of organic, fair trade, non-GMO traditional English tea contains 24 tea bags—each with 10 percent more tea than a standard bag. The four rich and robust varieties include: Organic English Breakfast, Organic Double Earl Grey, Organic Decaf English Breakfast and Organic Ginger Green.