Creating a new tea blend can be a way to express your personality. Jason Adams, a six-year teaologist with Teavana, shares his secrets to crafting rich, multilayered tea blends.
“When we’re creating a new tea for Teavana, we usually start with a concept,” said Adams, who started as a store manager for one of Teavana's first stores in Atlanta. “We take inspiration from cocktails, culinary, lifestyle – anywhere. Then we get in the kitchen and start mixing.”
Adams starts his flavored tea blends with an herbal base – such as citrus, berries or floral. From there, he builds layers of flavors with tea. Dark teas go well with spice, chocolate, and indulgent flavors. Lighter teas are complemented by berries and citrus. Stone fruits, like peaches and plums, can go across the spectrum of teas.
He recommends talking with Teavana’s store partners (employees) and checking out the three recommended blending options listed on the back of each tea tin.
“Sampling a wide variety of teas is a great way to begin,” he said. “Do you like spicy or unflavored? Delicate or strong?”
White tea is delicate, sweet and subtle; green tea can be grassy, mild or nutty; oolong is complex, floral and aromatic; black tea is rich and robust with a tannic sweetness; and fermented dark pu-erh tea has a smooth, mineral flavor.
Some of these flavors work well in concert with one another, as they do in some of straight tea blends, such as Body + Mind, a blend of white, green and oolong.
The secret to blending tea is balance. Because floral and fruity flavors tend to be easily overpowered, they don’t work well with strong black teas. Instead, floral and flavors pair wonderfully with delicate white teas.
Black teas blend well with equally strong, but opposing flavors, such as spice, mint and chocolate. Classic chai teas combine warming spices with black teas.
While green tea can be more challenging to blend, citrus, lemongrass and spicy ginger all work well when paired with a mild green tea. Stronger green teas balance with fruit flavors such as berries or pomegranates.
When pairing oolong teas, keep in mind that all oolongs are different. A green oolong will work best with citrus and berry flavors, while darker oolongs work much better with spicy and sweet flavors.
“It’s about exploration,” Adams said. “If you’re just starting out, I’d buy a few different components and keep them in separate containers. Then each day, you can try new combinations until you find the perfect one for you.”
Teavana offers new tea enthusiasts and tea connoisseurs alike its "Heaven of Tea" retail experience where passionate and knowledgeable "Teaologists" engage and educate them about the ritual and enjoyment of tea. The company, which was founded in 1997 and joined the Starbucks family of brands in 2012, has a mission to be the most recognized and respected brand in the tea industry by expanding the culture of tea across the world. Visit www.teavana.com.