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The Problem with tea...

Only due to the fact, that I am for the moment exploring the possibilities of tea infused beers, I stumbled over this issue...
If you are buying a fancy green [or black] tea, you have most of the time small blossoms and flower petals, pieces of fruit rind, dried fruits and other interesting things laying among the tea leaves.

This is all decoy!

This "botanicals" won't give a lot of additional aroma to the tea.

But stop - why is aromatized tea tasting so fruity, zesty, spicy...?
Because the producers are bathing the tea leaves in essences and oils from the fruit. Or even not from the fruit.

See - one pretty well known example is, that you can produce a strong strawberry aroma, if you are manipulate wood splints. The essence out of it, you will find quite in everything, which says, that it contains "strawberry flavor". But hold on - now comes the bummer: as wood chips are a natural source, producer can say: natural strawberry flavors!

I am not totally aware, what else can be used to produce other flavors and aromas. But nowadays I am very carefully, when I read ingredients lists. Well usually I pass the natural aromas - because nowadays it becomes extremely hard, to avoid this.

For me, it seems quite confusing, that most tea producers [even the expensive ones] are using these commercial & industrial aromas. And they won't tell you! Tea is considered natural and authentic. And tea connoisseurs seem to believe this very much - but in fact it is just another product which deceive its customers.

Please understand - I don't mean here any classic Darjeeling, ceylon tea, sencha, gunpowder etc.
I mean aromatized tea. It is also pretty well known, that Earl Grey contains oils of bergamotte oranges - this defines this tea. But it seems for me, that just the oils from the peels out of a citrus is not the main problem here.

But the stronger and "fruitier" something [not only tea] taste, the more you could vouch, that the industry is standing behind the product and backing the flavors up.
I don't think [or lets rather say: I don't hope] that the aromas are unhealthy. However all these "artificially-boosted" flavors just screws with our palate and our expectations of a great product.

Funny thing is, that flavored vodkas taste more "natural" - or lets better say, they taste more like the fresh fruit - than eaux de vie, which is made 100% of the respective fruit!
That's why customers expecting, that an strawberry cocktail, taste like fresh strawberries. Even if the strawberries are out of season. Even if strawberries never taste as strong as in a product, which is aromatized.

Coming back to tea drinkers, it is even more concerning, because tea connoisseurs are usually more conscious about their preferred brew.
Let's just try to focus more on authentic and natural tasting products.

E.g. I've tasted today two traditional Japanese teas for our Japanese restaurant. A Hojicha [a Japanese roasted green tea, which is even using thin branches instead of only the tea leaves] and a Genmaicha [green tea with the addition of roasted rice]. They taste very robust but also very interesting and different as your normal sencha. Even as "sweet tea drinker" I don't reject those teas without sugar [but they even taste better with]. And you won't have any fake papaya flavors coming with it.

I would appreciate further insights in tea - or do you know more about the practices of the aroma industry? Please share below!


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