Kombucha appears to be all the rage right now, with stores stocking more companies and flavors than I’ve ever noticed before, even outside the shelves of my local health food store. What is kombucha? Kombucha is fermented black tea. The fermentation process gives the brew carbonation and bacteria, the good kind of bacteria like in yogurt, which helps the digestive system. Due to the fermentation process, some kombuchas are contain alcohol, and others have gone through processes to filter out this excess alcohol and make it safer for those who don’t partake. Check on the alcohol content of the next bottle of kombucha that you pick up to make sure it’s at a level you prefer.
My favorite Kombucha brand at the moment is GT’s Living Foods, specifically their Enlightened and Synergy series. These teas come in heavy glass bottles with well-designed labels, and those with a white cap contain only trace amounts of alcohol. Not to mention, these teas are available in seemingly every flavor imaginable. Each time I find a store that stock’s GT’s Kombucha, I find a new flavor I haven’t seen before.
The best flavor I’ve tasted is their Synergy Trilogy flavor, which I see most often on the shelves. Trilogy features a trio of fruits and spices, blending raspberries, lemon, and ginger with the bubbly black tea base. This is the perfect balance of sweet and tart that compliments the sour bite of the fermented tea. The fizziness makes this feel like a sweet treat, but it has far less sugar than a can of soda, and more natural ingredients. With black tea, bubbles, and that perfect touch of tartness, this kombucha always makes me feel like celebrating. I can’t speak to how the good bacteria has helped my stomach, as I haven’t noticed a drastic change, but drinking the tea does do wonders for my morale.
Some of the other flavors I’ve had an opportunity try include:
- Trilogy – I’ve already waxed poetic about this flavor, see above.
- Gingerade – Less fruity, with more lemon and a spicier ginger kick, a great flavor for fans of ginger beer soda.
- Limited Edition Liberty – This blend came out for 4th of July, and features a blend of watermelon, cherry, and lime. It’s a fun limited edition, but the fruit is a bit too delicate to hold up against the bold tea base. I think it would have been better with a stronger lime-ade presence.
- Guava Goddess – Tasty, tropical, and pink, this was one of the sweeter blends available with the guava powering through the black tea base.
- Gingerberry – Very similar to the Trilogy flavor, but slightly sweeter with blueberry instead of raspberry, and still a hint of ginger spice.
- Cosmic Cranberry – The tartness of the cranberries work well with the sour tea base. It’s similar to the Trilogy flavor but with more tart zing.
- Multi-Green – Surprisingly nutty and not too grassy at all. Much more savory than the other flavors. Definitely an acquired taste.
- Lavender Love – The brew is almost purple in color from all the lavender. The soft, fragrant florals dance over the top of the sweet/sour tea.
- Lemonade – Most of the blends feature some lemon notes, but this blend is all-lemon, the sour citrus pairing perfectly with the tart tea.
- Mystic Mango – This blend is bright and opaque, full of fresh mango fruitiness. This is like a kicked-up orangina, with hearty sweetness and a burst of bubbles.
Even looking at their website now, I see additional flavors I’m intrigued to try. They even have a whole chia-seed series I haven’t seen before. I’ll have to keep an eye out at my local stores.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of kombucha, give one of GT’s Living Foods many delectable flavors a try and see what new avenues of tea await you.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: GT’s Living Foods (or at your local grocery/health food store)
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
I’ve been in a green tea mood lately, tasting all the flavors and mix-ins that go best with those lighter tea leaves. It was the perfect day to try Orange and Papaya from Tea Shirt Teas.
I was immediately impressed by the delicious scent of the tea in the dry leaf. It was amazingly fruity, and hard to resist smelling the dry leaves in my mug while I waited for the water to boil. The leaves themselves are all dressed up for the occasion, with big chunks of dried papaya and orange slices mixed in among the green tea.
Along with the papaya is a hefty dose of lemongrass, but despite all the lemongrass in the dry leaf, the brewed blend tastes most strongly of orange and papaya. A hint of mango comes out at the back of each sip. It all makes for a vibrant cup of citrus and green that can’t help but jazz up your afternoon.
This blend is sweet and fruity enough to love it hot or iced, and either way the luscious fruit flavors were super satisfying and thirst-quenching. Though I tried the blend both hot and iced, with all these tropical flavors, this blend is absolutely calling out to be the next pitcher of iced tea in your fridge. Drinking it cold, the fruit makes the tea almost candy-sweet, like a more mature fruit punch.
This is a great blend for when you need to brighten your day and imagine yourself in a sunny grove of tropical fruit.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Tea Shirt
Ingredients: green tea (60%), lemon grass, apple pieces, freeze-dried apple pieces, orange slices, mango flakes, papaya flakes, flavouring.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Tea Drift
This tea has just as pleasing of an aroma as it does flavor. Delightful over ice, the fruity and bright flavors are sure to tickle the tastebuds of any tea drinker. Enjoy it all day long, as it is free from caffeine.
Ingredients: Pineapple, papaya, peach, passion fruit, mango, hibiscus, cranberry and apricot.
- High in antioxidants
- Can help lower blood pressure
- Promotes relaxation
- Contains no caffeine
- Aids in digestion
Learn more about this tea here.
‘Tis the season… The cold season. The flu season. The never-enough-tissues-in-the-house season. For those days when a warm blanket, a nice bowl of chicken soup, and a comforting cup of tea are are called for it’s nice to have an herbal tea like this waiting in the cupboard.
Cranberry Immune Booster is a fruity herbal with a slightly tart bite from the hibiscus and cranberry. This actually taste more like a tropical tea. The pineapple is the main flavor while the papaya, mango, and passion fruit mix together in a delicious tropical punch flavor that I think kids of all ages would enjoy. I can smell the peach note in the dry leaf and infused tea, but I don’t taste it. The hibiscus shows up at the end of the sip. Now to be fair, I am not a big fan of hibiscus. I find that teas with hibiscus can turn into a bitter mess in a hot minute. This is especially true the closer hibiscus is to the top of the ingredient list. Thankfully it’s pretty far down on the list for this tea, so while there is some tartness it’s not too bad. Adding sugar would lessen the tart flavor, but I didn’t find that necessary here.
I am not qualified to write about the possible health benefits of this tea, so I’ll leave that for the experts. I will say that tea is always a comfort to me. When I’m feeling under the weather I appreciate a nice cup of tea even more. A caffeine free herbal tea is nothing short of a gift on those days when I need to rest so I can get better. It’s like a little hug in a cup, and who couldn’t use that now and then?
If you’re looking for an herbal tea that’s full of tropical flavors then this is a nice tea to try. It’s delicious and worth a sip whether or not you’re looking to fight off the latest cold virus of the season.
Leaf Type: Coffee Leaf Tisane
Where to Buy: Wize Monkey
Juicy mangoes all up in your boca!
Learn more about this tea here.
The packaging of this one didn’t give much away – only the name (Mango Party), and the fact that it’s a test flavour. It’s a bagged tea, but in an unbleached, sizeable bag so there’s plenty of room for leaf expansion. No complaints there. I did a little digging around, and discovered that this is, in fact, a coffee leaf tea. This isn’t something I’ve ever tried before, so it piqued my interest straight off. From what I managed to find out, coffee leaf tea is pretty much exactly what you’d think – a herbal tea made from the shredded leaves of the coffee plant. It contains less caffeine than either tea or coffee, and is described as being similar in flavour to green tea. I added the bag to a cup of boiling water, and gave it 3 minutes. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown, and the scent immediately put me in mind of guayusa.
To taste, guayusa is again probably the best comparison I can come up with. It’s quite prominently earthy in the initial sip, but in a good way – anyone that enjoys guayusa would be quite at home here. The flavouring emerges in the mid sip, and adds a creamy, mildly peppery, mango flavour. It’s juicy and fruity, but it’s a little milder and more fleeting than I really would have liked. There’s maybe a second or two in the mid sip where I can really taste it, and then it’s gone and the earthiness returns. For those who were wondering – this doesn’t taste of coffee at all.
This was a new experience for me, and I’m going to say that I liked it. I’d seek out more coffee leaf teas on the strength of this one, that’s for sure. When a tea is flavoured, I like the flavour to be strong and prominent, so this one lost a couple of points for me there. The flavouring is nice, but it’s a little milder and more fleeting than I’d hoped – more of a mango flash than a mango party. Either way, it’s a pleasing, fruity cup with a lovely, smooth creaminess. Definitely worth a try if you’re a mango fan, or if you’ve not tried coffee leaf tea before and are looking for a new tea experience.
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: The East Indies Tea Company
There is nothing better than sitting on the porch on a warm Spring day with a cup of creamy gelato. Imagine the taste of fresh, ripe persimmons in the gelato, just dancing around your taste buds!
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
That’s such a unique and fascinating flavour idea, and the minute I saw it on East Indie’s website I knew that I had to try it. For anyone who isn’t aware of East Indies Tea Company, they’ve got some really interesting and well executed flavoured blends. Their ‘specialty’ is probably dessert blends. Also, for people not aware they seem to be the supplier for most of, if not all of, Della Terra Tea’s blends – a company pretty well known for having wonderful flavoured dessert blends.
When I cracked open my sealed up package of this the smell was really overwhelming; I honestly have only had persimmons once or twice and I found that they tasted like a very sweet tomato, almost with an orange-y flavour. The aroma of the dry leaf certainly causes me to relive that experience; it’s intensely sweet and fruity with a strong citrusy scent that makes me think of really ripe mandarin oranges or perhaps very ripe mangoes. Visually, there’s lots of dried fruit (Persimmon? I wish there was an ingredients list for this blend) in the leaf as well as a multitude of little yogurt drop type things. All of this in conjunction had me very, very pumped to get this tea steeped up!
I gave this a nice, long steep to make sure I drew out as much flavor as I could and to also give the many yogurt drops time to fully melt. I was somewhat worried that when they did melt the liquor would either get a little oily or I’d get “yogurt scum” similar to what happens with melted chocolate chips but neither really happened and the liquor was very smooth and thick. The flavour was quite wonderful too; while I ultimately think the gelato aspect of the blend could have come across better, as it was basically just added creaminess from the yogurt drops, the persimmon was very well executed! Persimmons, simplified, are basically just very sweet tomatoes and that came through. I got that wonderful umami flavor that a tomato has that manages to linger all over your mouth, but also fruity notes that made me think of very, very ripe mango or either naval oranges or really ripe, in season mandarin oranges.
Anti-rooibos tea drinkers be warned though, while the flavor is strong and lively it doesn’t completely mask that rooibos base so expect to taste it alongside the lovely persimmon/citrus notes. But overall this is just a really wonderful, unique flavored rooibos and I’m extremely happy with it and definitely recommend trying it if you find yourself with the chance to.