Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

These teas can resemble virtually any flavor imaginable.

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Nov 7th 11 9:54 pm
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Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by AlexZorach » Nov 7th 11 9:54 pm

Although I am much more an enthusiast of pure teas, I am still open to the idea of flavored teas.

I've noticed that, by and large, I strongly prefer teas that have been flavored by the addition of whole ingredients, for example, blending with herbs (preferably, whole-leaf herbs rather than finely ground ones), or whole spices or coarsely-ground spices (sometimes, careful consideration of size of particles is necessary to get the spice to infuse at the same rate as the tea, or to balance infusion speed with having the spice hold its flavor).

I find that most companies seem to rely on oils or extracts (the so-called "natural flavorings"), which disappoints me as I usually tend not to like these. I also find that they limit the degree to which you can really create an artful flavored tea blend, as the flavorings are often lost relatively quickly in the first infusion...so it doesn't make sense to blend these flavors with a high-quality whole-leaf tea that is slow to infuse and good for multiple infusions.

Do you also prefer whole ingredients? Do you have any companies you'd recommend that carry these sorts of blends?

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by Firemoss » Nov 7th 11 10:16 pm

I'm relatively new to tea, so feel free to pass right on by this post. :mrgreen:
I am a pure tea enthusiast, also...but I do harvest herbs, leaves, berries, mushrooms, and other natural ingredients from the woods every year to make tisanes and various other concoctions. To me, it really isn't food and drink if it isn't as natural as possible.
The flavourings you find in some teas taste like nothing but chemicals. I really can't even stand the smell of most of them. I definitely prefer natural, whole ingredients if I ever want something other than pure tea.

Verdant Tea has some gorgeous looking whole-ingredient-flavoured teas, though I haven't tried any.

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by DarkenedSun » Nov 7th 11 10:22 pm

If I'm craving a flavored tea, I pull out some of my herbs and/or spices and drop them into a pot with my tea. It just tastes so much better. I can't stomach commercially flavored/scented teas. I buy all of the herbs/flowers/spices separately so I can mix them to my liking. :D

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by Herb_Master » Nov 7th 11 11:07 pm

I can't resist a bit of fun, please forgive me!

I do love a nice aromatherapy massage.

I find the essential oils infused nicely into the carrier oil, work wonders. :D

Whenever I use whole herbs and spices in the carrier oil they lead to a scratchy massage :cry:

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Nov 8th 11 3:50 pm
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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by AlexZorach » Nov 8th 11 3:50 pm

DarkenedSun wrote:If I'm craving a flavored tea, I pull out some of my herbs and/or spices and drop them into a pot with my tea. It just tastes so much better. I can't stomach commercially flavored/scented teas. I buy all of the herbs/flowers/spices separately so I can mix them to my liking. :D
This sounds delightful. I have a ton of herbs drying in my living room right now...lemon balm, spearmint, and red shiso / perilla. I also have lemon verbena and rose petals that I bought, and other herbs I dried earlier.

What sorts of herbs, flowers, and spices do you like to use for blending like this?

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by DarkenedSun » Nov 8th 11 4:54 pm

AlexZorach wrote:
DarkenedSun wrote:If I'm craving a flavored tea, I pull out some of my herbs and/or spices and drop them into a pot with my tea. It just tastes so much better. I can't stomach commercially flavored/scented teas. I buy all of the herbs/flowers/spices separately so I can mix them to my liking. :D
This sounds delightful. I have a ton of herbs drying in my living room right now...lemon balm, spearmint, and red shiso / perilla. I also have lemon verbena and rose petals that I bought, and other herbs I dried earlier.

What sorts of herbs, flowers, and spices do you like to use for blending like this?
It depends on my mood really. :lol: If I'm in a seriously bad mood, I like using flowers and other herbs I might think are calming. One of my favorites though is mixing green tea with chrysanthemum a little bit of rose and just a hint of lavender for some spice. If I'm feeling like a cold is coming on, I'll try to mix ginger and dried lime. It seems to help me feel better. If I have an upset stomach, I sometimes just use spearmint by itself. The options are endless. I suggest just trying stuff out. That's how I figured out what I liked. :D

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by Chip » Nov 8th 11 5:12 pm

Mainstream flavored tea drinkers would likely say, "not enough flavor" to teas containing only added flowers, fruits, etc. They want the bold added flavors from flavorings sprayed on the leaves.

I have no objection to drinking the former, though I rarely do. But personally I will skip the sprayed on flavors ... I think somewhere I have a bunch of tins of the stuff packed away from when I first started drinking tea ... 12 years ago. :lol:

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by Drae » Nov 10th 11 5:13 am

I swore off flavored teas for a while when I found that the "good" blends gave me neither the flavor I wanted nor a good tea "base" - as it turns out when I smell a flavor from a tea, I want to taste it too. So I started "allowing" blends that used oils and extracts and have been much happier with my occasional forays into flavored teas - I currently really like Remedy Tea blends.

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by AlexZorach » Nov 10th 11 6:18 pm

Chip wrote:Mainstream flavored tea drinkers would likely say, "not enough flavor" to teas containing only added flowers, fruits, etc. They want the bold added flavors from flavorings sprayed on the leaves.
I want to encourage people to seek out subtle flavors. Once you get into them, it's hard to go back.

It's like unsweetened tea...it tasted bad when I was young, unsweetened anything tasted bad. But somewhere along the line I started tolerating it, and then liking it, more and more, and now it's just impossible for me to go back.

I even drink my hot chocolate unsweetened now!

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Re: Whole Ingredients vs. Oils & Extracts

by chiqclick » Dec 8th 11 8:19 am

i prefer whole ingredients because they are healthier.