I met a lady who came from India. I do not even have to ask if she drinks tea because all Indians drink tea;))) agree? but she told me she creates her own version of custom tea blands-grows her own herbs and blend with tea leaves. That's so fascinating to me!! She lives in Minnesoda and grows herbs in her backyard. Imagine using all fresh ingredients to brew your own customized cuppa!!!
The key for tea blend, or any kind of blend, is to use the right proportion of ingredients to achieve balanced body. From aroma, taste, properties, color to characteristics, all need to be well balanced!
It reminds me the history of blending. There are few "versions" of the tea blending story. Some say When Chinese teas were exported to the West, it was regarded luxury items thus very expensive. To reduce the costs, merchants started mixing tea with other herbs/spices to create tea blend, such as Masala chai, etc. Another version says, low quality teas were very bitter to taste. By adding spices, it covered up the bitterness.
Ideally, all fresh and whole leaf ingredients make the best tea blends, like what the Indian lady did, such as using loose tea instead of tea bags, using fresh herbs instead of dried or ground spices. Pratically, companies use aritificial perfumes, flavourants, essential oils to mix with teas and create their own tea blend.
There are few issues associated with the artificial ingredients. First, no concentration percentage is labeled. Second, all artificial ingredients have side effects and it builds up in your body system. In old times, not many foods made of artificial ingredients, so the amount you took daily were neglectible. Today, there are more and more foods that contain artificial flavors than before. This can be easily done by just reading the food ingredient labels. Third, The proportion of artificial ingredients are not labeled. Remmeber the Tacobell beef lawsuit? On the menu, it was labeled as beef, but only 35% of the "meat" was beef! sad, huh? One time I read an article which says ice cream sold in the market contains over 16 different kinds of artificial ingredients!!
What I normally do? you probably know the answer already-For my own health sake, I use as much fresh ingredients as possible because I want every cup counts and need to know what i'm drinking!!
Have you every try to blend your own tea?