When we think of tea, we think of it hot and steaming, or perhaps the iced tea of summer comes to mind. If we really work at it, then we realize that Earl Grey and Oolong are varieties to enjoy and perhaps if we pursue the subject, we think of the alcohol-rich recipe for Long Island Iced Tea. It will come as a surprise that coffee shops on the cutting edge consider artisanal tea as an up-and-coming beverage to offer their clientele.
Artisanal tea is as esoterically delightful as its name implies. Tea lovers at STX Entertainment (deaadline.com) have found that coffee shops from Maine to California have experimented with popular teas to come up with a large variety of sparkling drinks. Tea on tap may be fizzed with soda water or jazzed up by pre-infusing it with hops or other botanicals. There are even bottled teas being developed from these pioneering shops for the summer of 2015 with intriguing names like Ginger Plum Tea Soda or Fizzy Hoppy Tea.
Charles Babinski, who is 2015’s United States Barista Champion, considers carbonating anything will only make it better. Working with this basic principle, he has taken the simple flavors of black tea and green tea, which he describes as “oxidized” and “grassy” respectively, and added hops to create unique flavors for his coffee shops. He considers artisanal teas a welcome way to spice up his menu, and we agree.