Black tea sorted by characteristic and quality in a sample tray at a Sri Lankan tea factory. Various whole dried leaves, partial leaves, and tea dusts are used in combination to produce different types of blended teas
Black tea sorted by characteristic and quality in a sample tray at a Sri Lankan tea factory. Various whole dried leaves, partial leaves, and tea dusts are used in combination to produce different types of blended teas

Tea blending is the blending of different teas together to produce a final product. This occurs chiefly with black tea that is blended to make most tea bags but can also occur with such teas as Pu-erh, where leaves are blended from different regions before being compressed. The aim of blending is to create a well-balanced flavour using different origins and characters. This also allows for variations in tea leaf quality and differences from season to season to be smoothed out. The one golden rule of blending is this: Every blend must taste the same as the previous one, so a consumer will not be able to detect a difference in flavour from one purchase to the next.

There are three main reasons for tea blending:

  1. Commercial tea blending is a way of ensuring consistency of batch on a mass scale.
  2. Blending tea leaves with herbs and spices for the purpose of holistic health has a rich history in both Chinese and Indian cultures.
  3. Blending, scenting or flavouring teas is a popular way of adding interesting and more complex flavour notes.[1]

There are various teas which have additives or different processing than "pure" varieties. Tea is able to easily receive any aroma, which may cause problems in processing, transportation or storage of tea, but can be also advantageously used to prepare scented teas. Tea can be flavoured in large blending drums with perfumes, flavourants, or essential oils added. Although blending and scenting teas can add an additional dimension to tea, the process may also sometimes be used to cover and obscure the quality of sub-standard teas.[citation needed]

Varieties of blended tea

Breakfast
Generally a blend of different black teas that are robust and full-bodied, and go well with milk. Some types are English breakfast, Irish breakfast and Scottish breakfast.
Afternoon tea
These blends (of black teas) are generally lighter than breakfast blends. Both breakfast and afternoon blends are popular in the British Isles, for example, Prince of Wales tea blend.
Russian Caravan
A popular blend, Russian Caravan harks back to the days when tea was hauled to Russia from China on camelback. It often contains a bit of smoky lapsang souchong, though its base is typically Keemun or Dian Hong. Some also contain oolong.

Flavoured and scented teas

Although many teas are still flavoured directly with flowers, herbs, spices, or even smoke, teas with more specialized flavours are produced through the addition of flavourants or perfumes. This is particularly true for tea blends with pronounced fruit or flower aromas, which cannot be achieved with the original ingredients. Some firms such as Mariage Frères and Kusmi Tea have become quite famous for their perfumed teas. The most commonly used scents are jasmine, traditionally used to scent delicate white and green teas, and bergamot oil, which is used to scent Earl Grey tea.[2]

Due to the number of scents that can be produced by the mentioned artificial methods, the section will concentrate on teas flavoured directly with the original scent materials.

Flowers

Chinese osmanthus black tea
Chinese osmanthus black tea

A variety of flowers are used to flavour teas. Although flowers are used to scent teas directly, most flower-scented teas on the market use perfumes and aromas to augment or replace the use of flowers. The most popular of these teas include the flowers of the following:

Vietnamese lotus green tea
Vietnamese lotus green tea

Herbs

Other flavourants

See also

References

  1. ^ Smith, Krisi (2016). World Atlas of Tea. Great Britain: Mitchell Beazley. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-78472-124-4.
  2. ^ Smith, Krisi (2016). World Atlas of Tea. Great Britain: Mitchell Beazley. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-78472-124-4.
  3. ^ The Tao of Tea. "Vietnamese Tea". Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2008-01-30.