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Flavored tea

Flavored tea, a cornucopia.

Cornucopia: 'A symbol of prosperity and affluence, dating back to the 5th century BC.' In modern parlance, 'a great many very good things'. And that exactly describes the flavored teas that are available today.

Though counting them could be difficult, the variety of flavored teas to be found could quite possibly exceed those of coffee. Devoted tea drinkers everywhere are the beneficiaries of that wide array of choices.

Flavored teas are created by adding, what else can one say, flavors to tea. During the process of preparing tea leaves, particularly as they oxidize, they can absorb a great many additives. Today, those additives range from floral aromas to fruit flavoring to syrups.

Most of the tea used is the black variety, since green tea is barely oxidized at all (it's steamed instead), and Oolong only moderately so. But all types have been used, even the rare white teas that make it to Western shores only rarely.

The teas used are almost as diverse as the flavorings themselves. Ceylon, Darjeeling, Wu Yi and even African Rooibos are often used.

Among the flower-flavored teas are Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Rose and many others. These have a delicate flavor and a lovely bouquet revealing their twin origins as tea and flower. They are popular at all sorts of functions, and even those who enjoy a robust Turkish in the morning may long for one after a hectic day.

One can easily find ginger combined with a Ceylon black. Peaches added to a Formosa Oolong are a specialty of many sites. Yunnan from China, flavored with calendula petals is all the rage, too. Even the rare China white, blended with sweet melon, shows the endless creativity of tea creators.

Cinnamon has long been used as a delightful spice sprinkled atop a rich black cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Infusing it into a black tea is just as delicious. In the Middle Ages cinnamon was sometimes used as a currency among the elite. Modern devotees of tea can find out why if they try this superb combination.

The variety of fruits used to flavor teas simply staggers the imagination, not to mention taxing the pen. Blueberry, cherry, banana, apple, raspberry and every other fruit grown on the planet have made their way into one of the world's most ancient beverages.