The great thing about tea is all of the amazing natural flavors and fragrances that can be added to enhance the natural flavors and to create an enticing drink to suit anyone’s taste. There is nothing wrong with adding natural aromas and flavors to tea. The problem comes with adding artificial flavoring.
I have put together some information on everything you ever wanted to know about flavored tea but were afraid to ask.
Inclusions are, just like the name states, it’s anything you choose to include in a tea for a visual and sensory benefits. They consist of flower blossoms, pieces of dried fruit, herbs and spices.
Natural Flavoring or Extracts
Natural extracts are flavorings that are obtained by extracting the essential oils from the leaves, fruits, blossoms, roots or any other part of a plant. The essential oils contain distinctive aromas or flavors that you normally expect to find in the plant being used.
Obtaining natural extracts can be as simple as pressing a lemon peel to produce the oil, while others require a much more involved means of extraction, as in the case of soaking vanilla beans in alcohol to gain the oils.
These are flavorings that have been obtained from natural substances but are aided with chemical enhancements. The result of these flavorings is an identical chemical structure to the “Natural” flavor, however, it was obtained by a chemist.
Nature-identical flavors are usually more stable than pure natural flavoring extracts and are normally less expensive. Most flavored products are flavored in this manner.
However, the FDA doesn’t have a classification for this method so they consider nature-identical flavoring to be “artificial”, although this isn’t a completely accurate classification.
Artificial flavorings are created by altering the chemical composition of a naturally occurring molecule to create a different, more pronounced and less expensive flavor.
Usually more than one method of flavoring is used in a tea including adding inclusions, coating with extracts and scenting. Most inclusions will alter the flavor or aroma of the tea in some way. However, this method may not be as pronounced as we would like it. This is why most flavored teas are flavored with natural-identical additives.
Application a flavoring agent
When applying an extract to tea, the flavoring is poured or sprayed over the dry leaf and then the leaves are blended to make sure there is an even distribution. Large companies will do this procedure in large rotating drums filled with hundreds of pounds of tea. Most teas will obtain proper absorption of the extract in less than 30 minutes. However, some flavors require significantly longer for the proper absorption of the extract.
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