What is sparking tea? And What’s the best sparkling tea out there? I frequently get asked this question by those starting out. As there are a plethora of teas on the market, along with many drinks masquerading as tea, it’s pretty tough to find your way through it all. So here’s a little of what I’ve learnt during my years brewing bubbly tea.
Sparkling tea: Are all teas created equal?
First off, when we are talking tea in general, we mean the leaf of the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. It is the same plant at the base of all black, green, white, oolong and pu’er teas. In fact, there are even only two varietals: Camellia Sinensis and Camellia Sinensis Assamica, which, as its name suggests, is the main varietal planted in Assam and has a slightly larger leaf.
So chuck out all of those herbal teas, and even those flavoured teas such as Earl Grey. Likewise for anything that is a mix of tea and other leaves such as rose petals. The sparkling tea has evolved specifically to be carbonated with natural flavours and carbon dioxide gas, and the base tea needs to complement those flavours.
Sparkling tea: test your balance
So now we have narrowed it down, the next big question is whether you are focused on consistency or flavour. If you are brewing from one batch to the next, or continuous brewing as it’s known among sparkling tea brewers, then consistency of your base tea is going to be pretty important. The quality of that tea is everything, and drift can quite easily happen.
The best tea for a healthy base is a good mix of green and black. Too much black tea and you can end up with an overpowering flavour. A good blend with green keeps both the base tea and flavours in balance.
Sparkling tea: Finding the best flavours
However, that balance doesn’t generally deliver the best flavour. It is a bit like mixing colours: if you mix too many you always end up with brown. We favour brewing with very high-quality, single garden fine teas which bring out fantastic fruity floral flavours in the final brew. Each one is really distinct and removes the need to add secondary flavours.
Black teas such as Yunnan, Assam, and Darjeelings produce a rich flavour akin to cider. Green tea sparkling teas are fresh and fruity with tones of citrus, while white teas can deliver flavours of vanilla and rose (and we’ve tasted all kinds of wonderful backnotes beyond these, too). Oolongs offer a good balance and make a very fresh sparkling tea that is light and delicate. My advice is to choose only the best loose leaf tea and experiment widely. We have tested somewhere around 125 brews to hone in on what we like, and we’ve only just begun.
Sparkling tea: Hitting the spot
So how to get the best of both worlds? Well, we would always suggest you keep one pot for your base tea and another for your brew. That way you can always have the heartiest, most energetic blend of tea, and yet you can brew your favourite flavours of sparkling tea whenever you like. Every time you do a brew, top up your base tea pot with more green and black tea.
Or you could just leave the heavy lifting to us, and buy a case or two of your favourite Real Sparkling Tea here. We don’t mind doing the hard work for you.
To be honest, we can’t imagine doing anything else. Contact us for all your sparkling tea needs.