Tea is for more than just sipping. This healthy leaf, from the Camellia sinensis plant, can be tucked into a dessert, blended into your favorite scrub or featured in an innovative spa treatment. Here, five top trends to know about tea today.
1. Seeking tea produced in an earth-friendly way? Look for biodynamic tea.
It’s one thing to know that your tea is produced with pesticide-free farming. It’s quite another if it’s produced biodynamically. “The principles of biodynamic farming are in harmony with nature, growing plants in such a matter that you reduce waste, keep the ground fertile and revitalize the vital life of the farm,” says Elizabeth Trattner, AP, DOM, an acupuncturist in Miami, FL. To ensure that your product is produced biodynamically, check for the Demeter seal (demeter-usa.org) on the packaging. Or, shop at Hampstead Tea (hampsteadtea.com), a biodynamic tea company in England that utilizes natural and vegetative waste as fertilizers as well as herbal preparations that naturally deter insects.
2. Love tea so much you want to envelop yourself in it? There’s a product for you.
As a fragrance note, tea is a popular choice, whether for perfume, candles or infusers. “Tea prompts relaxation,” says Mindy Yang, curator for MiN New York, a haute parfumerie. “It’s a popular note for a daytime scent, and it’s great for customers who aren’t used to wearing perfume.” In addition, tea creates a stunning scent when blended with flowers. “A darker black tea interpretation would be woodier, muskier on the skin,” Yang says. “A green tea composition is very clean and fresh, especially when composed with orange blossoms on top.”
Mandarin Tea Perfume from Love + Toast (loveandtoast.com) is an upbeat blend of African rooibos tea, pomegranate, neroli and orange blossom, while the heady Osmanthus Oolong eau de parfum from Providence Perfume Co. (providenceperfume.com) blends green, red and black teas with citrus-scented aglaia blossoms and Japanese osmanthus flower. A White Tea & Ginger with Rosewater sugar scrub from Advanced Body Care (mebath.com) blends white tea with organic jojoba oil and rose flower water extract for a refreshing body treatment you can do at home.
3. Tea-infused organic candy? We’re sold.
We’ve heard all about the ways tea can enhance macaroons and ice cream. But gourmet candy? That’s an even bigger win-win. To wit: Caramels from Arbor Teas (arborteas.com) are infused with smoky organic Lapsang souchong black tea and its chocolate truffles pair Fair Trade-certified chocolate with everything from organic masala chai black tea to jasmine green. “Tea-infused anything is having a moment because tea is so good for you,” says Theresa Krier, founder of Big T NYC (bigtnyc.com), a luxury loose-leaf organic tea company. “You can indulge in candy and get an extra layer of health benefits, too.”
4. Have a flavor profile in mind? Blend your own tea.
Companies are catching on to the fact that many tea aficionados don’t want to feel limited when they brew a pot of tea. To that end, DIY tea-blending kits enable you to blend herbs and spices in whatever combination you choose. With the Tea Blending Kit from Davidson’s Organics (davidsonstea.com), 12 tins arrive in an elegant case along with recipes for everything from Cinnamon Chai to Chamomile Harvest. Caffeine comparison charts and brewing time suggestions add to the ease with which you can make an organic tea that suits whatever mood you’re in.
5. Committed to locally sourced tea? There’s a tea plantation right here in the U.S.
If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, consider the teas produced at the Charleston Tea Plantation
(charlestonteaplantation.com), a 127-acre plantation located on historic Wadmalaw Island in Lowcountry, SC. Here, all of the black and green teas are produced without any pesticides, a custom-designed irrigation system is used to rely solely on rain and pond water to hydrate young tea plants, and waste (stems and fibers) are used as mulch in the tea fields. “Our climate isn’t optimal for tea-growing so there aren’t many places where tea can grow here, but this plantation is the exception,” says Krier. “Customers care a lot about where (and how) their tea is harvested.”
Six Brew-at-Home Favorites
Majani Founded in 2012 by the son of a Kenyan tea farmer, Majani’s mission is to source organic, Fair-Trade Kenyan teas, including black, green, white and oolong teas, to benefit small-scale tea farmers.
Pukka This popular herbal tea brand in the UK has developed quite a following here in the U.S., thanks to the company’s meticulous attention to quality, the fact that all teas are certified organic, and that they are carefully blended using only the most potent, vibrant herbs. pukkaherbs.com
Organic India This USDA-certified organic, non-GMO-verified line of teas and supplements is based on Ayurvedic principles and features immune-enhancing, antioxidant-rich tulsi (holy basil) in all of its delicious teas, including the newest, Tulsi Moringa. organicindiausa.com
Numi Everything at Numi Tea is rooted in celebrating people, the planet and real tea, from establishing lasting relationships with Fair Trade-certified farmers, to using 100 percent organic tea leaves to making sure tea bags are non-GMO verified. numitea.com
Ito En These meticulously sourced teas are cultivated by a company committed to authenticity and preserving the culture of tea. The selection of loose-leaf teas is broad, including white tea, herbal teas, matcha, chai and artisanal rare teas. itoen.com
Traditional Medicinals For 40 years, this company has blended more than 50 herbal teas using only pharmacopoeial herbs (a standard for quality and purity) as well as Fair Trade-certified, organic and non-GMO ingredients. traditionalmedicinals.com