Are flavored teas made with lower quality leaves?
Every time I get a flavored tea, from cranberry to caramel, the tea base always tastes poor to me. Is this the same for all flavored teas or am I just buying from lesser companies?
I think it often is. If the base was a really high quality, it could probably fetch a higher price on its own, so it would be silly to tamper with it. :)
Some shops seem to make an effort to use a higher quality base, though, and make more uniquely flavoured blends. To find these I would look for smaller companies that do their own flavouring and avoid larger brands.
We use very high quality leaves in the vast majority of our flavored teas and use lighter but very natural tasting flavorings as well as using high quality freeze-dried fruits and other ingredients. Here are a few examples of our blends with very high quality leaves:
+1 to this. Butiki flavored teas are awesome and part of the reason for that I think is due to the quality of the leaves used. It’s nice to be able to taste them rather than just be overwhelmed by flavoring!
Oh my, that maple Pecan Oolong looks good! Yes, I see Butiki uses higher quality tea. I appreciate that. Thankyou!
Yes, the vast majority of flavored teas are made with lower quality leaves. I’ve definitely gotten picky myself about flavored teas and I tend to seek out companies that use high quality base teas. As has already been recommended Butiki is definitely one, and another major one is Verdant Teas. If you like green oolongs, Naivetea’s infused oolongs are fantastic. Lupicia can be hit or miss, particularly with their black teas, but their flavored oolongs seem to use a pretty good quality leaf.
The companies that make these types of flavored teas are few and far between. I’m always looking out for more!
I think that there are companies that sell lower quality tea, flavoured and otherwise. Then there are companies that sell high quality teas, both flavoured and not. Then there are still more companies that have a range of quality. As long as you are not overpaying for lesser quality leaves (and you enjoy them) I wouldn’t worry about it. I know it’s hard to know that until you’re steeping. Usually larger leaves equals higher quality which is something you can see in pictures. It is a good starting point.
One recent example of a perfect flavoring/blending is Earl of Anxi from Verdant. It doesn’t even feel like there’s something external or out of place in the taste.