Mike said

Flavored VS Unflavored Tea

Just curious. How many of you out in tea land prefer flavored tea and how many like unflavored?

For many years I was a tea purist. So just about two years ago I decided to try differently flavored teas. While I enjoyed them to an extent, I have recently reconciled in my own mind that I really do like the taste of tea and not so much the fruity or other added flavors. While on a rare occasion I do like a cup of Rooibos Tea, I find with that type of non Camellia Senensis or Assamica Tea, I can tolerate Vanilla Caramel, but that is the only one I can honestly say I enjoy flavoring in. So I like my Splenda in my tea and that is that!

Anyone else feel similarly?

25 Replies
ifjuly said

It’s a pendulum/mood/wax and wane thing for me personally. I find if I spend too many weeks in a row or a whole season or whatever sipping flavored dessert teas, I get antsy missing the flavor of pure black tea for sure. But it can work the other way too, where when I drink nothing but darjeelings and assams and Chinese and Taiwanese black teas for a long period I start missing stuff that tastes like a bakery, ha.

Dexter said

I agree, I’m not sure why it has to be “OR”. I like straight blacks, I’m a huge pu’erh fan, starting to appreciate whites, have always loved highly oxidized oolongs, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate and love desserty, fruity, flavors…
I’m choosing “AND”.

Mike said

I tell you guys, this is such a personal thing for many tea drinkers. Of course the beauty of drinking tea, fruity, desert, or unflavored or otherwise is that it is what you prefer at the time one chooses to drink a cuppa. In all honesty I will admit that I will not totally give up on flavored teas entirely so for me this may mean every couple of weeks. More importantly here is that over the past many years here in the US, whole leaf teas have become popular and that has opened up choices immensely. Thank you to you both for your replies

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Chizakura said

I vastly prefer unflavored. I enjoy the occasional flavored tea, but like you I prefer the taste of tea in its natural form. When I do drink a flavored tea, I generally like to drink more ‘natural’ ones (such as Jasmine) than candy shop ones — though I try those out too for fun!

It’s more around Fall/Winter when I start having a sudden sweet tooth. So I’ll drink flavored teas to stop myself from tanking out on hot chocolate or pie or something.

Basically, I like to try things out for fun, or to stop myself from worse indulgences, but there are a rare few flavored teas that I enjoy enough to keep stock on pretty much all the time. (Banana Walnut Treat from Butiki being the main one, as well as Jasmine teas) I almost never buy a flavored tea a second time.

That said, I have respect for all tea and don’t consider anything superior over the other. I just enjoy what I enjoy is all. :)

Cavocorax said

It does seem like Fall is when I want sweet teas as well. I thought maybe I just didn’t like them as much after a drinking more unflavored, or subtly flavored teas the rest of the year, but now I’m craving them quite fiercely and happy about it.

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Mermidon said

I don’t care for the fruit/bakery/dessert flavored teas, but love Earl Grey, chai, various herbal blends, jasmine green, and rose congu.

Mike said

Mermidon, I wish I could drink floral teas, but allergies developed in my youth have gotten worse the older I have gotten so as long as there are no added pedals, nor floral fragrance I can drink it. My wife loves chamomile tea and to me the smell is enticing but alas, I might become anaphylactic if I drank it. Thanks for the reply!

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Mermidon said

Mike, sorry to hear that. Stay safe. :). I guess, for me, I’d rather have a plain tea with an actual piece of chocolate or a baked good on the side rather then trying to get the same combination all in a cup. I like the opportunity to have each flavor separate or together.

my feelings exactly. A piece of dark chocolate and a cup of tea beats any chocolate tea blend. I know the point for many is to avoid baked goods and candies by drinking candy tea instead, but I’m not drinking tea for the sake of a diet. If I want a cup cake, I’m having a cup cake. and a cup of tea :)

I want to jump in and state that 80-90% dark chocolate and a really good unflavored oolong tea is my happiest of happy places. I do drink flavored teas on occasion, but if i really need " my tea time," here comes the chocolate and oolong.

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Angrboda said

I like both. There’s a time and place for either I think. In the morning I tend to go for unflavoured, in the afternoon I tend to go for flavoured.

It’s a bit like putting herbs in food. Some herbs go well with the type of dish you’re cooking and some don’t. In the same way, I think some flavours go well with the flavour of the tea and some don’t. Me, I prefer fruits, nuts, vanilla and caramel. Not so keen on these baked goods flavoured things, as they don’t really, in my opinion, suit the flavour of the tea very well.

Liking one doesn’t mean that you can’t also like the other though, and it irritates me a little when people assume this. A bit like if I mention that I stopped in for a cafe latte on my way home and I’m met with ‘but you don’t like coffee!’ Where do they get that from??? I’ve never said I don’t like coffee. Just because I generally prefer one doesn’t mean I can’t like the other. It’s like saying that if you like peas you can’t possibly like beans.

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SimplyJenW said

I started out being into flavored teas, but now tend to prefer the straight ones. I have gotten specific as to wanting China black teas, too. And I also sweeten with Splenda. I have tried to lessen the sweetening or forgo it altogether, but then I decided it is my tea journey and I can take whatever path I choose that makes me happy. I recommend all tea drinkers drink what they like and how they like it, too!

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Uniquity said

I started with only flavoured teas but for the last year or more find myself enjoying unflavoured blacks the most. I still drink whatever I have on hand or am in the mood for but the bulk of my shopping is for good unflavoured teas now. One thing I have never done is put sugar or milk in my tea because for me that is yucky, but I’ve always felt that people should drink what they enjoy. Except poison, I guess. And go easy on the booze. But anyway – I am perfectly happy making tea for people in different ways so that each individual can enjoy it the most.

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cteresa said

You like what you like. And that is that.

But I like both flavoured and unflavoured. I love how flavoured teas can surprise me : marron glacés tea, peach with pepper, almond almond almond or almond honey cloves, tomato and lemon (it works somehow). Or just plain bring something else upon a tea body and add something extra. Camellia sinensis is a very good mimic but there are other things, classic things to add to it : mint and a touch of bergamot with something sweet for a north african tea which is what I crave sometimes, a peach tea in the middle of winter, any rooibos with vanilla and vanilla is totally essential to rooibos just as it is for chocolate and makes good rooibos sing. Bergamot and its strange magic with tea. The more things we can enjoy the richer our lives are, no?

ifjuly said

Agreed! Really well put.

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One of the joys of tea is the amazing tastes and variety from such a minimally processed plant. In fact all from virtually the same plant. I know this is an unpopular view here, but flavored teas all taste artificial and synthetic to me, with an unnatural after-taste. With few exceptions most of them are artificial. Even if they seem to have pieces of fruit or other things in them or claim to have natural flavors, it’s often not the fruit you thought that’s giving it that color or sweet taste. The legal definition of natural flavors under Title 21 of the US Code is so elastic today that it means very little. Or is so technical that you’d be surprised how it was derived. It may even start as natural from a fruit or spice but by the time it’s enhanced sufficiently to flavor tea, it’s often so processed or enhanced that to me it’s not natural. Even many Chinese teas like jasmine, osmanthus and rose petal have flavorings added these days.

And of course like most thing, when flavored, it’s a sure bet the tea itself is inferior.

I am extremely sensitive to synthetic flavors and flavor in general. I often feel like such a party pooper whining about the most popular flavored teas here. I want so much to like them! Sometimes I wish I couldn’t taste so well. Haha. I continue to sample the top rated flavored blends and sometimes find the rare good one, but straight teas will always be my first preference.

ifjuly said

While I think that’s a good general rule of thumb about inferior bases, I don’t feel that way about Butiki’s flavored teas.

Which would you recommend I try, ifjuly?

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Katiek said

I like and drink them both, but I drink more flavored tea – often as brewed iced tea.

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