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Types of Tea

Herbal Tea

What is Navajo Tea?

September 21, 2017

This week in herbal teas you should try: Navajo Tea.

An herbal beverage made by the Navajo Native Americans for generations, Navajo tea is made by brewing the plant greenthread, known by its scientific name as Thelesperma.

thelesperma plant

A Thelesperma plant | by Andrey Zharkikh | Creative Commons 2.0

A member of the Aster family, Thelesperma is a perennial bulb that blooms a yellow flower from May to September. It can be found growing in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Canada:

thelesperma plant map

Where you can find Thelesperma growing, in green | USDA

To make tea from this herb, the Navajo traditionally pluck the herb by its stem, keeping the roots intact and shaking the plant so that its seeds return to the soil and the lifecycle continues. The plucked herbs are rinsed and dried for 1 to 2 days, then boiled in hot water. Enjoyed hot or iced, Navajo tea is known for its earthy, mild flavor, which some choose to sweeten by adding sugar or honey.

The Navajo have used Navajo Tea medicinally for centuries, turning to the brew to alleviate joint pain, calm upset stomachs, and promote healthy kidney function. Modern research shows why this may have had success over the years: Thelesperma contains the flavonoid Luteolin, which boasts natural anti-inflammatory properties.

If you visit the Navajo Nation today, you will find Native Americans drinking Navajo Tea, using the beverage as a way to connect with their roots.

Some Navajo have made the tea available for commercial consumption:

100% Navajo-owned and operated company Yanabah sells Navajo Tea out of its Arizona headquarters. All the Navajo Tea comes from plants growing on the Cuska Mountains in Arizona, where it’s picked, dried, and packaged into three varieties:

yanabah navajo teaTraditional

Navajo Tea & Mint

Navajo Tea & Green Tea

Each box contains 20 tea-bags of caffeine-free tea and costs $6.

For every sale Yanabah makes, a portion goes toward the Navajo National Scholarship Fund, which supports Navajo students working toward a college degree.

The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation for indigenous people in the United States. Covering 24,000 square miles over parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, the Navajo Nation is home to over 200,000 individuals.

navajo nation territory

The Navajo Nation covers territory in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. | By Fred the Oyster, Creative Commons 3.0

navajo nation flag

The Navajo Nation flag | Public Domain

The Navajo are known for their pottery, jewelry, and weaving, and tea is now joining the list of Navajo products exported beyond the reservation. With a high unemployment rate and over half the Navajo population living below the poverty line, businesses like Yanabah are part of what The Economist described as “capitalism’s last frontier” and, as Indian Country Today reports, an important way for the Navajo to trade dependence on the US government for economic independence.

A new herbal tea to try and a great way to support the Navajo economy? We’re in!

Iced Tea

Get Ready for Fruit-Infused Iced Teas at Starbucks All Year Long

August 10, 2017
Starbucks Shaken Iced Tea Infusers

Courtesy Starbucks

In a world in which it feels like bad news hits us from every direction, here’s some good news for a change: Starbucks has announced that three new Shaken Iced Tea Infusions will be available at participating stores year-round.

The fruit-infused iced tea flavors are:

1) Pineapple Black Tea

2) Peach Citrus White Tea

3) Strawberry Green Tea

The beverages, developed in partnership with Starbucks-owned Teavana, are the brainchild of two main developers: Culinary Institute of America grad Melynda Cheng and food science degree-holder Megan Droz.

Inspired by the increasing number of Starbucks customers ordering unsweetened iced teas and their rising demand for customization, Cheng and Droz wanted to update the goliath chain’s iced tea menu to reflect evolving consumer preferences, turning to fruit to provide both flavor and a healthy dose of sweetness.

After five months of trial and error, the duo came up with the three Shaken Iced Tea Infusions that debuted on July 11.

Just 45 calories per Grande serving, each iced tea contains tea, botanical blends, and liquid cane sugar. Additionally, each contains no artificial sweeteners and no artificial flavor, answering consumers’ call for real, wholesome ingredients and nutritional transparency.

Said Droz in a Starbucks press release, “The fruit and botanical blends of pineapple, peach citrus and strawberry take the place of sweeteners for a lighter mouthfeel and more delicate flavor than other iced tea beverages.”

For guests that want to have it their way, they can now customize any iced tea with the new flavors. Pineapple, peach citrus, and strawberry are “all complementary to our core Teavana back, green, herbal and white teas,” explained Droz.  Isn’t it nice to get exactly what you want?

The new iced teas have been launched with the “Good Feels Good” campaign.

Check out the inaugural ad below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7K4bh2qvDw

Wondering who all the folks in the ad are?  Here’s a handy key from Starbucks:

“Good Feels Good” campaign

Courtesy Starbucks

Good does indeed feel good, and Starbucks is hoping that tea can be a good part of getting you to feel that way. We hope so, too!

Starbucks acquired Teavana five years ago in a $620 million deal.  Having solidified itself as the biggest name in coffee, it was time to expand to tea. With product releases like these three new iced teas, Starbucks is hoping to become the company you think of when you hear the word tea. Will that in fact transpire?  Starbucks bet $620 million that it would.  Stay tuned.

For more information and videos about these new iced teas, head to tea.starbucks.com.

 

 

Loose Leaf Tea

How to Store Loose Leaf Tea

June 22, 2017

Working with loose leaf tea requires some TLC. You’ll need some kind of infuser, but before you even think of getting close to a teacup, you’ll need to make sure you’re storing your tea properly. Improper tea storage can cause your tea to diminish in flavor or go stale. To avoid that tragedy, follow these rules: 

1) Keep tea away from oxygen                                                                                         

This is the Golden Rule in tea storage. Teas are cultivated with very specific oxidation levels, and to keep your loose leaf the way it was intended, you want to make sure it’s as sheltered from the elements as possible. In the production process, green and white teas are the least oxidized varieties, so you’ll want to make absolutely certain these teas are exposed to as little oxygen as possible. Dark black and oolong teas are exposed to more oxygen in the production process, so oxygen exposure is less of a death sentence, but you’ll still want to keep these darker teas away from the elements so that they stay in pristine condition.

2) Keep tea dry

Keep your loose leaf away from moisture of any kind. Humidity and dampness can cause tea leaves to release their flavors ahead of schedule. You want to save all the flavor for your cup, so keep tea indoors in a dry place. If you’re storing tea leaves in a cabinet, make sure that cabinet isn’t close to any pipes.

3) Keep tea away from strong smells

 Tea leaves can absorb the odors around them, so unless you want your tea to absorb the flavors in your coffee and spices, keep your tea stash far from competing characters. Also be sure that the container in which you’re storing your tea doesn’t have a strong odor itself. Teatulia recommends a container made of glass, tin, or aluminum.

4) Keep tea away from light

Light can cause tea to degrade, so make sure your container is not see-through!

5) Keep tea tightly packed with other tea

The more tea that’s packed into a small space, the less air there is between individual tea leaves. And since we’re trying to avoid oxidation, that’s good news.

With these rules in mind, here are some tea storage containers we recommend:

1) Prepara® Evak Fresh Saver

Prepara® Evak Fresh Saver

This container has a plunger that removes all the air from the container, so it’s perfect for storing loose leaf tea.  It retails at Bed, Bath & Beyond for just $9.99.

2) Ankomn Savior Non-Electric Vacuum Food Storage Container

This container provides vacuum seal pressure without any pesky cords or electricity needed.  It’s advanced, but at $64.99, it’s on the expensive side.

3) Rishi Tea Copper Tin

This container is double lidded, holds 150 grams of tea, and retails for $17.

4) Blue Vine Vacuum Seal Tea Canister

Blue Vine Vacuum Seal Tea Canister

This container from Stash Tea holds 150 grams of loose leaf tea and vacuum seals itself everytime you close it. It’s yours for $11.50.

5) Washi Sashi Tea Storage Tin

Washi Sashi Tea Storage Tin

These beautiful tins are covered in washi, traditional Japanese paper. They come from Japan and can be in your kitchen for just $8.

Iced Tea

Get Free Iced Tea Mocktails This Summer from Teavana

June 6, 2017

Teavana Beach Bellini Iced Tea Mocktail

Swimsuits, barbecues, and iced tea. Like the smell of sunscreen and the sound of the air conditioner blasting, they define summer. And this beach season, you can score free cocktail-inspired iced teas at Teavana stores every Friday between 3 and 7 pm.

With its “Summer Fri-YAYS” promotion, Teavana will offer customers who buy a 24-ounce featured iced tea, a second drink for free. The second beverage has to be of equal or lesser value, but the 2 for 1 deal has our mouths watering, especially after reading the featured tea descriptions:

  • Beach Bellini ™, has notes of papaya, pineapple, and citrus that make a bright, tropical splash.
  • Strawberry Daiquiri, combines sweet strawberry, smooth vanilla, and rose petals.
  • Piña Colada, brings you to paradise with coconut, pineapple, and vanilla-kissed tropical fruit.
  • Mandarin Mimosa, a breezy, citrus-brightened blend that combines mandarin orange, mango, papaya, and lemongrass.

The promotion combines two things people love: iced tea and cocktails, taking out the buzz but keeping all the refreshing flavor. The flavors chosen for the featured iced teas reflect consumer preferences in the US.  According to Business Insider, the pina colada was the 25th best-selling cocktail of 2016, while the daiquiri was the 4th most popular.  No doubt, these stellar performances informed Teavana developers when finalizing the Summer Fri-YAYS menu, while the inclusion of mimosa and bellini-inspired teas will tantalize consumers familiar with these flavors from classic brunch menus.  And since the Tea Association of the USA reports that 80% of the tea consumed in the country is iced, Summer Fri-YAYS seems likely to resonate with American consumers.

If you fall hopelessly in love with any of these featured iced tea flavors and want to whip up a glass at home, each is available in loose leaf.  You can get your hands on a $40 sampler that includes 2 ounces of each variety. Teavana suggests this sampler will brew anywhere from 24 to 34 cups of iced tea.Teavana Happy Hour Craft Tea Cocktail Sampler

Whether you enjoy one of these cocktail-inspired iced teas in a Teavana store or from a home-brewed pitcher, since they contain zero alcohol and zero caffeine, Happy Hour can be fun for the whole family. Plus, sober friends will appreciate being able to partake in Happy Hour stress-free.

To locate the Teavana store that’s closest to you and start your weekend off with a huge dose of flavor, click here.
Teavana Beach Bellini Iced Tea Mocktail

Types of Tea

5 Modern Rituals Surrounding a Simple Cup of Tea

June 1, 2017

Just over 240 years have passed since the Sons of Liberty defiantly tossed an entire shipment of tea into the Boston harbor. And so began the Revolutionary War. In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, John Adams wrote letters to his wife that professed his love for tea, but admitted his reluctant switch over to coffee. Apparently, tea had become unpatriotic and lost its appeal. Thus, coffee began it’s reign.

Needless to say, we have a complicated relationship with tea in the States.

But regardless of where it’s being consumed, tea stands apart from coffee for a variety of reasons. One of the most interesting, perhaps, is the idea of “ritual” that seems to follow tea around like a pre-requisite. It may be an echo of rituals across the globe. It might also be the very nature of tea – the time it takes to brew and the variety of flavors that lend itself to a more sophisticated appreciation than a cup of coffee.

We could write an entire book on all of the ancient rituals surrounding tea. Instead, let’s explore the rituals that exist today that are often left overlooked:

1. The Children’s Tea Party

You’d be hard pressed to find a six year old who doesn’t know what a tea party is, let alone have organized one themselves. It’s almost a phenomenon – what other social event do kids regularly orchestrate on their own? Childhood tea parties are not only incredibly adorable, they are also surprisingly well thought out. The table is set, “guests” gather around, (imaginary) tea is poured and sometimes cookies even make an appearance. Thank you Ye Olde English children’s stories for keeping tea parties alive.

2. The Morning Cup of Tea

First things first, let’s be clear: tea in the morning requires an entirely different process than coffee. A (good) morning cup of tea requires that you heat water, steep your leaves, and wait. And wait…It’s kind of a zen experience, having to wait for your caffeine. Even if you decide to go to a cafe rather than brew at home, you never quite escape the patience that tea insists.

3. The Iced Black Tea and Lemonade

Or, as most people call them, Arnold Palmers (we have our own spin on that from National Lemonade Day). This drink has made a name for itself over the last several years. It started with a golf hero, but it’s fair to assume that few of the 20-something’s that regularly order the well-known beverage have a clue who the man actually is. The ritual lives in routine, and it’s always refreshing to know tea can seamlessly transition into warmer months and trendier libations.

4. The “Sick Day” Tea

“You should drink some tea.” How many times have you heard that advice when you had a runny nose or sore throat? It’s such common sense at this point, and yet you can’t get away from the suggestion. There is a conception, and a valid one, that tea has healing properties. We aren’t doctors, but the doctors we know tell us this is more or less true. Now just imagine that moment after a long day of work and a nasty head cold when you take your first sip of piping hot chamomile tea with lemon, breathing in the steam. It truly feels like you’re drinking a magical healing elixir.

5. The Pot of Tea

This always feels like a big one. A full pot of tea seems to separate the casual drinkers from the die hard. Tea, typically, is a sipping drink. A pot of tea is an hour of your life that you have dedicated to tea (and usually something else… We’re not crazy, we realize you’re probably reading a book or working on a paper too). In that moment, when you fill your pot or order a full pot at the neighborhood cafe, you’ve established yourself as a real “tea drinker.” In our books, that’s a pretty awesome commitment.

We invite you to join us and share your favorite tea ritual.

Tell us. Share with us. Join in and help paint the picture of tea.

Iced Tea

The Best Iced Teas of 2017 Are…

May 23, 2017

global tea championship emblemJune is National Iced Tea Month. To make sure you’re drinking the best iced tea you possibly can next month, get your hands on the iced teas that took home top honors at this year’s Global Tea
Championship
 in Mentebello, California.  After dividing entrants into three categories (Ready to Drink, Food Service, and Instant) and subcategories (straight, sweetened or flavored black, white, oolong, etc.), the competition awarded 4 gold medals, 12 silver medals, and 15 bronze medals to the best of the bunch.

Each iced tea was evaluated on a 100-point system by three judges: Scott Svihula of coffee/tea company Hula Consulting, Royce Van Twest of Qtrade Teas & Herbs, and John Culliott of sustainable tea company Walters Bay. To receive a top score of 96-100, an iced tea must meet the following criteria: “Unique tea, difficult to replicate, exceptional vintage.”
global tea championship judging

Here are the Gold Medalists for your sipping pleasure:

Tejava—The Unsweetened Tea

Category: Ready to Drink

Tejava—The Unsweetened Tea

Tejava’s motto is Tea + Nothing = Tejava. The company says, “We believe in letting the tea speak for itself so we don’t hide its flavor behind sugar, additives or added ingredients.” It’s simply made with handpicked tea leaves from the Island of Java in Indonesia. Tejava uses only leaves picked from the top of the tea plant between the months of May and October, limiting itself to only the best that camellia sinensis has to offer.  Tejava is Non-GMO Project verified and Rainforest Alliance Certified.  You can scoop up your own bottle of Tejava any of these locations.

Lotus Blossom White Tea with Organic Coconut Water #2300 from Templar Food Products

Category: Ready to Drink

Lotus Blossom White Tea with Organic Coconut Water #2300 from Templar Food Products

Templar Food Products creates custom private label iced teas for its clients. The developers brought home the gold for its white tea flavored with lotus blossom and coconut water.  Click here to request a sample.

Karkade Hibiscus Tea

Category: Ready to Drink

Karkade Hibiscus Tea

Karkade Tea is made from hibiscus plants that are picked in Egypt and then brewed in Texas.  CEO Ahmed Mahmoud says, “Since the days of the pharaohs, families in Egypt have enjoyed tea made from hibiscus flowers. It was the same for our family.”  When the Mahmoud family moved to the United States, they continued to drink iced hibiscus tea, and then decided to share it with the rest of the country under the Karkade Tea label.  Order online here.

Red Berry Iced Tea from Mighty Leaf Tea

Category: Food Service (Commercial Fresh Brewed)

Red Berry Iced Tea from Mighty Leaf Tea

This variety from Mighty Leaf was honored in the Commercial Fresh Brewed category, defined as ” dry tea in either open brew fraction packs or filter packs to be brewed on commercial iced tea equipment and sold in cases to foodservice customers.”  Mighty Leaf teas use the whole tea plant leaf. Says the company, “Our whole leaf teas showcase larger, bolder leaves – never broken, torn or crushed. We love whole leaf tea because these teas provide a complex, nuanced taste that you just don’t get from leaves that have been crushed or broken. Only whole leaves deliver the full flavor and aroma essential for the ultimate multi-sensory tea experience.” Look for this gold medalist variety on restaurant menus.

And here are the Silver and Bronze Medalists:

Silver Medalists:

 Bronze Medalists:

 

Herbal Tea

Trend Watch: Turmeric Tea

April 20, 2017

Turmeric was everywhere at the Natural Products Expo West this March in Anaheim, California, as reported by World Tea News. In fact, the number of products that contained turmeric at the expo rose 34% between 2014 and 2016, and 2017’s expo displayed the root’s staying power. The rise of turmeric may be traced back to the public’s increasing knowledge of its health benefits: per WebMD, because turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, may decrease inflammation, the herb is used to treat ailments such as IBS, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and gum disease.  Modern medical uses of turmeric build on thousands of years in which the spice played an important role in ancient healthcare.  Today, turmeric is a power player in there herbal tea market. It’s often combined with ginger thanks to the herbs’ complementary flavors and shared health benefits.  If you’re ready to get your turmeric on, here are some teas that incorporate turmeric to get you started:

1) Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger

Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger

This tea from Traditional Medicines, a “wellness teas” purveyor, promotes healthy digestion and curbs post-exercise inflammation with a tasty combination of turmeric, meadowsweet, and ginger. The company worked to create a formula that first targets the gut, and then moves on alleviate pain that results from strenuous activity. Traditional Medicines believes that this tea combines “herbal wisdom” with “soothing relief.”  Try this caffeine-free herbal tea and be your own judge.

2) Turmeric Mango Tea

Turmeric Mango Tea

The ancient spice gets a sweet bedfellow in this mashup from Rishi. Sri Lankan mangoes star alongside turmeric in this tropical loose leaf tea, with supporting flavor from pineapple, ginger, green tea, jasmine, yuzu, and essential kaffir lime oil. Rishi recommends brewing this hand-blended tea for five to six minutes.

Rishi also makes a tempting Turmeric Chai that unites turmeric with traditional chai spices, coconut, vanilla bean, and sarsaparilla for a strong, exotic, and creamy cuppa.

3) Turmeric Green TeaTurmeric Green Tea

This tea from Pukka combines green tea and turmeric with cardamom, licorice, and lemon for a tea that the company promises will “leave you feeling renewed as each cup lets you don turmeric’s shield.” That protective shield “sustains life’s majestic glow,” says the tea maker. This tea is organic, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and even FairWild (aka sustainably harvested and fair traded).

4) Dandelion Turmeric Tea

Dandelion Turmeric Tea

This tea from Teeccino is a potent mixture of turmeric and roasted dandelion. Ginger, chicory, and licorice are along for the flavorful ride as well. Add milk for a cuppa that arches toward chai. This product is gluten-free and barley-free, contains no caffeine, and boasts antioxidants and natural sources of insulin and potassium. Plus, it comes in both loose leaf and tea bags.

5) Amber Sun Rooibos Turmeric Tea

Amber Sun Rooibos Turmeric Tea

This tea from Numi Organic Tea is smooth and rich, blending turmeric and rooibos with honebush, cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla bean for an herbal celebration. Numi recommends a longer steeping time for this tea—8 to 10 minutes. This caffeine-free tea boasts tasting notes of “mellow apple” and “sweet peppery zest” according to Numi.  The tea company has many other turmeric products, including turmeric chai and turmeric cocoa.

Types of Tea

Trend to Watch: Nitro Tea

March 28, 2017

Nitrogen. It makes up about 80% of the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s present in all living things. This gas has been used to keep food fresh and frozen for years. And now, nitrogen is about to take over our teacups.

You may have heard of nito coffee and beer—drinks infused with nitrogen—but now tea’s getting a chemical makeover, too. Introducing nitrogen to tea adds a creamy texture to the beverage without adding dairy or extra calories from milk. As more Americans cut down on diary, nitro tea is giving tea lovers a creamy option that doesn’t compromise their dietary restrictions or health goals. If you’ve ever felt like your tea habit was missing a dose of science, then nitro tea is for you.

If you’re looking to order nitro tea out at a café or restaurant, look for it at these locations:

Rubies and Diamonds Tea and Coffee in Los Angeles serves three types of nitro tea: Nitro Ginger Ale Green Tea, Nitro Hibiscus Tea, and Nitro Creamy Matcha.

The Café at Le Flour in Chicago serves up one unique nitro tea at a time. Varieties so far have included Peach Punch and Lemon Pound Cake.

Parisi Artisan Coffee sells Nitro Organic Hibiscus Berry Tea at several of its cafes in Kansas.

The Smith Tasting Room in Portland, Oregon, features a masala chai tea on nitro and a strawberry honeybush.

B Sweet in Los Angeles has Nitro Thai Iced Tea, Nitro Hibiscus Tea, and Nitro Matcha Green Tea on tap.

Check out this video for a closer look:

If you’re looking to easily pick up some nitro tea up at the supermarket or have it delivered to your home, check out the following:

B Sweet has its cans of Nitro Matcha Green Tea and Nitro Hibiscus Tea on shelves at Whole Foods, Erewhon, Bristol Farms, and Gelson’s. Plus, the company can deliver kegs of nitro tea to your home or office.

Caveman Coffee sells 4-packs of its Nitro Cold Brew Hibiscus Tea for $20. Each 16-ounce beverage packs a flavor combination of berries, flowers, lemon, and fruit punch.

And if you’re in the mood to make your own nitro tea, consider investing in some equipment:

 The NitroBrew system makes it easy to concoct your own nitro brews at home. The system has only two parts: a charging station and a kettle. The company promises its system will give tea—or any beverage—“a silky mouthfeel and delicious taste.” Get ready to be part chef, part scientist.

This video shows you just how easy it is:

This trend is only beginning to take off, so keep your eyes peeled for more and more options popping up!

Types of Tea

Get Going With Tea Energy Drinks

February 28, 2017

The energy drink sector is dominated by beverages like Red Bull and Monster, but tea producers are aiming for a piece of the $61 billion dollar-pie. After consumers’ health concerns caused growth in the energy drink market to dip in 2013, producers looked to tea to give consumers a natural, healthy alternative.  If you’re in need of a morning boost or an afternoon pick-me-up, a supercharged energy tea drink may be just what you need.  Here are a few options to get you buzzed:

1) Steep a Hi-CAF Tea Bag 

Steep a Hi-CAF Tea Bag

Republic of Tea launched a line of Hi-CAF tea bags in 2014. The company promises these teas produce a “calm alertness” that they call Tea Mind®. Green tea extract and pure caffeine extracted from premium tea leaves combine to give these teas their high caffeine content. A black tea bag contains around 50 mg and a cup of coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine, but these tea bags elevate cups of tea to caffeine levels between 100 and 150 mg. Black tea flavors include: Cinnamon Toast, Toasted Coconut, Caramel, Pom-berry, and regular black. A gingermint green tea is also available. Each tin of 50 tea bags sells for $13.

2) Chug Fair Trade & Organic Energy

Chug Fair Trade & Organic EnergySteaz sells a line of green tea energy drinks marketed as “organic energy to fuel your fitness” and that boast the title of the world’s first Fair Trade Certified organic energy drink. The green tea in each beverage is grown in Kenya and energy drink flavors include: Berry, Berry Zero, Orange, and Super Fruit. Each 12-ounce bottle contains 100 mg of natural caffeine, tons of B Vitamins, and antioxidants. If you’re watching your sugar intake, choose the sugar-free Berry Zero, as the other flavors contain 35 grams of the sweet stuff. You can find Steaz on shelves at Whole Foods, Target, and Kroger.

3) Wake Up With White Tea 

 

Wake Up With White Tea

Inko’s specializes in white tea—the least processed of all teas—and has produced a line of white tea Organic Energy drinks. Each 16-ounce bottle contains 100 calories of “Jitter-Free Energy.” Available in mango, citrus, and blackberry, Inko’s Organic Energy drink is gluten-free and non-GMO. You can buy a 12-pack online for $36 or check out individual bottles on shelves at Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Wegmans, Rite Aid, Mariano’s, and Jewel-Osco.

4) Enjoy a Blended Boost 

 X2 Performance All Natural Energy Drink

Can’t choose between green and black tea?  You don’t have to.  Each 12-ounce bottle of X2 Performance All Natural Energy Drink blends green and black tea along with pure honey, electrolytes, and antioxidants for a sweet boost of energy. The 100-calorie drinks come in three flavors: lemon, strawberry-kiwi, and raspberry. Each drink contains 80 mg of natural caffeine from green tea and 24 grams of sugar. You can find X2 at Subway or order online.

5) Get ZestyZest Tea

Zest Tea promotes energy and alertness with caffeine levels that rival coffee and amino acids that help your body avoid the jitters and boost brainpower. Pyramid tea bags and loose leaf tea come in four flavors: Cinnamon Apple Black Tea, a fruity Blue Lady Black Tea, Earl Grey Black Tea, and Pomegranate Mojito Green Tea. Each serving contains approximately 150 mg of caffeine. Added incentive: Zest Tea was named Best New Product at the 2015 World Tea Expo!

Types of Tea

5 Unusual Teas

January 12, 2017

Tea lovers have become more and more creative over the years, infusing hot water with unexpected flavors that can leave consumers either confused or dazzled.  Across the globe, different climates and cultures have inspired men and women to brew tea with unique ingredients.  Here are five out of the ordinary teas to try or appreciate from a distance:

1) Panda Dung Tea

Panda Dung Tea

Kevin Dooley via Creative Commons | LINK

So you’re not drinking poo, but this Chinese green tea is grown in panda poop fertilizer. Entrepreneur and panda lover An Yanshi developed this variety in 2011. Panda poop is pretty esteemed, as far as excrement goes. Pandas eat only bamboo and digest less than 30 percent of its nutrients. That means most of the bamboo is getting churned out the rear, infusing panda waste with top tier nutrients. Back in 2012, Yanshi told Reuters, “I just want to convey to the people of the world the message of turning waste into something useful, and the culture of recycling and using organic fertilizers.” Per The Daily Mail, he told drinkers to expect “a mature and nutty taste.” The tea went on the market in 2012 for $3000 per 1.7 ounces. That probably exceeds your tea budget, but if not, head for China’s Sichuan province, where Yanshi’s collecting poo and brewing tea.

2) Bacon Tea

bacon

Your prayers have been answered: you can now sip bacon flavored tea. This blend from Adagio mixes black lapsang souchong tea with apple and caramel flavored Ceylon teas to, in their words, “recreate the taste of sugar-cured, apple-wood smoked bacon that you crave in the morning.” Packed with caffeine and flavor, this is the breakfast tea you’ve been dreaming of.

3) Savory Vegetable Teas

savory vegetable teas

You don’t want soup, and you don’t want a smoothie, but you’re craving vegetables, and you can’t be bothered to chew. Sounds like it’s time to sip a savory vegetable tea. Lucky for you, Numi Organics released a line of savory teas. Flavors include: Tomato Mint,Carrot Curry, Fennel Spice, Spinach Chive, Beet Cabbage, and Broccoli Cilantro. Each tea starts with a decaffeinated black or green tea and is then infused with organic vegetables and spices from sustainable gardens. Numi claims these teas are “rich in flavor, yet light enough to enjoy any time of day.” Sip for yourself!

4) Garlic Tea

garlic teaYou may commonly use garlic in sauces and marinades, but think about adding it to your tea. This garlic tea from Tea Haven is available in a number of varieties, from black and red to green and white. Garlic tea may not seem like an obvious choice—especially if you plan on kissing someone anytime soon—but it may have some exciting health benefits. According to Prevention, garlic works to alleviate cold symptoms like congestion and coughing. And per Livestrong, it may help your cholesterol.  Unconfirmed: may repel vampires.

5) Yak Butter Tea

yak butter tea

In the US, it’s common to add a spot of milk or spoonful of sugar to tea. In Tibet, yak butter is the additive of choice. According to NPR, Yak butter tea is the unofficial drink of Tibet. You may have trouble finding yak butter at your local Shop Rite, but it’s easy to find in Tibet, where yaks have been domesticated since 800 BC and have provided a main source of milk and butter ever since. Tibetans use yak butter, milk, and salt to fortify tea, creating a beverage that provides warmth in the cold Himalayan Mountains. Up high, you get dehydrated faster than at sea level, so adding salt to tea helps consumers to retain water. Yellow and thick, yak butter tea is an exotic beverage packed with energy and warmth. If you’re not up for churning your own butter, buy some yak butter tea on ebay here.