For a long time, wine was seen in the United States as something for only the rich. It was too expensive to be easily accessible to most people in the country. It was not until around 50 years ago that wine became less expensive in America, and increased dramatically in popularity and variety. A similar thing is happening with tea right now. Tea is rapidly becoming more of a staple in western culture and daily life, much like wine did not too long ago. A wider range of people are now starting to dig deeper into the world of tea, causing the tea market to grow rapidly!
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Tea is similar to wine in the way that it has seasonality and terroir, which creates a story behind each cup’s flavor. This makes it an excellent substitute for wine if you are looking for an interesting beverage, minus the alcohol. Our culture seems to have picked up on tea’s versatility, which has let to tea actually following the trends that we see in the wine industry!
As with most things in our society, people are always looking out for new and exciting trends. This is true of both wine and tea. One of the most popular wine trends right now is wine that spans beyond the predictable colors of red and white. We watched as rosé quickly became popular last Summer, and now winemakers are venturing even further into the rainbow with orange and even blue wine!
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Similar trends are happening with tea, with light green matcha lattes becoming super popular first. There is also a type of purple tea from Kenya that is grown at very high elevations with intense ultraviolet light, which has almost twice the amount of antioxidants as green tea thanks to anthocyanins (the purple/blue pigment found in blueberries). There is even the so-called “blue matcha”, which is not technically matcha, but is made of a plant called the butterfly pea. This sky blue powder does not possess the extensive health benefits of matcha, but is still quite popular because of its beautiful color!
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Some restaurants are beginning to include tea pairings on their menus, which offers a non-alcoholic alternative to wine pairings. Tea pairings have been put on the menus of the Michelin Star restaurant Fera in London, as well as the French-Japanese fusion restaurant Beni in Singapore. There has also been a new foodie trend of pairing gourmet cheeses with teas instead of wines! Some places even feature tea tastings, similar to wine tastings.
It is amazing to see tea being appreciated by a wider range of people. Trying out the trends is always fun, because they allow you to try new things that you may never have discovered otherways! But when it comes down to it, it is always nice to sit down and enjoy a good cup of tea. Whether it is purple, blue, green, dark, white or just your usual black, make sure you enjoy tea time!