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Flavored 'dessert' teas are a hot alternative to chai

Flavored ‘dessert’ teas are a hot alternative to chai

On a recent trip to the supermarket, I noticed something new brewing in the tea aisle: Flavors that sound more like a treat you’d have with a cup of tea, not be in one. Peach Cobbler, Red Velvet, Chocolate Mint, and Cinnamon Streusel were just a few of the offerings. These so-called dessert teas are hot. The trend began with brands typically sold in specialty shops, such as David’s Tea, Teavana, and The Republic of Tea, and now it’s migrated to supermarket brands, such as Stash and Red Rose’s new line of Simply Indulgent Teas.

Studies suggest that the antioxidants and other compounds in tea, black and green, have health benefits and may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments. Some of these dessert teas have a black tea base, but others are made from Rooibos, a red-colored African plant that’s caffeine free, or yerba mate, an herb that has more caffeine than the tea plant. In large amounts, yerba mate may increase cancer risk. Check the ingredient’s list before you buy.

Typically the teas contain flavorings such as natural crème caramel flavor and are sugar-free, so they have no calories. But some have other ingredients that increase the calorie count slightly. One example: David’s Birthday Cake tea is rooibos blended with sprinkles and ice cream bits. A cup has 10 calories and 1 gram of sugar. That’s far less than a slice of cake, but only you can decide any of these teas satisfy your sweet tooth.

—Julie Levine

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2006-2014 Consumers Union of U.S.

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