I like using juice as a sweetener some days. I say "sweetner", but really the mix can go anywhere from 1:5 in tea's favor to 5:1 in juice's favor. In other words, sometimes I mix in mostly juice and sometimes I mix in mostly tea. Any way you mix it, this tea-juice punch can be quite tasty.
It also, interestingly, seems to give a boost to tea's energy boosting factor. This is especially true of green tea. I don't know if this is a "sugar" boost on top of the tea, some sort of placebo effect, a general mood boost (I like fruit juice, so it makes me happy to drink it, etc), or the vitamin C and anti-oxidants in the juice work hand-in-hand with the tea. I'll keep an eye out for any sort of articles on this.
The number of juices and the number of teas and relative stengths and combinations is so close to endless that I have no interest in listing an exhaustive study of possible combinations. All I recommend is trying to match certain juice types to certain tea types.
Cranberry juice, and cranberry mixes, goes well with green tea and oolong. I probably prefer it with the latter. If you are going to use oolong, I recommend a kind of full one. Something like Imperial Gold oolong over something like Pouchong. Ditto for green tea. Bitter blends like a Gunpowder are almost too strong, but an oversteeped Maofeng works nicely with the tartness of the cranberry juice. A few of the better "cranberry blends" are of the cranberry-peach or cranberry-pomegranate variety. This gives you a little "front of the mouth" taste on top of the cranberry and the tea. Makes a fuller flavor.
Grape juice can work with black tea, but it also works with oolong fairly well. Grape has a way of closing off the tea flavor. If you want tea for health reasons but can't take the flavor, a grape blend might be for you. If you do want the tea flavor, you want to have mostly tea on this one. Black tea kind of goes to the back of the palate on this one, making an interesting wine like flavor. Oolong can fit under the grape flavor, but it goes best with fuller oolongs. With any milder blend of tea, you probably just want a couple of splashes of the juice.
Orange juice works surprisingly well with black tea. I have tried several mixes. It might sound weird, but I highly recommend a half and half punch of Keemun and orange juice.
Apple juice is sort of randomly hit and miss. I've done oolongs and apple before, but the flavors are kind of hard to get just right. It is a unique combination of flavors, with just about any mix, but there are none that I can think of that are especially good.
I've not really tried it with any other juices, but I am sure some of the basic principles apply. One interesting twist is to use a spiced tea, like a Stash Green Chai, because it adds a nice body to the middle of the juice that I enjoy. It is like some sort of Christmas candy but better, and healthier. Cranberry juice works the best of any I have seen with a spiced chai combination.
I also need to try out Earl Grey blends with juice. I wonder how the citrus will mix.
I almost always drink these blends cold, but I am sure hot will work as well. If you drink them warm or hot, it might be a bit more tart and lip puckering.
Overall, though, it adds some interesting twists to the tea drinking hobby, especially during the heat of summer when hot black tea might be a tad uncomfortable.
Written by W Doug Bolden
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