With the weather toggling between summer and fall in an instant, tea is the ideal drink. Ice it when you need a cool down and sip it hot when you need a warm-up. No matter the weather, these Colorado-crafted teas should do the trick.
We’ve long been a fan of Bhakti’s spicy chai (in regular and decaf) so we were anxious to give the Boulder company’s sparkling teas a try. Of the four flavors (mint mate, tart cherry rooibos, lemon-ginger black, and mango-lime matcha), the rooibos won our vote for its round, earthy flavors that just hint at fruity sweetness. Poured over ice, this carbonated tea is the ultimate refresher. If you’re after Bhakti’s telltale wallop of fresh ginger, pop the top on the lemon-ginger black. Find it: Whole Foods
If you’re seeking a beverage that will confound your taste buds, Conundrum Tea’s Everest Sunrise black fits the bill. The layered flavor rings of molasses, raisin, and even sweet potato but without astringency and with a smooth, even dose of caffeine. The single-origin tea, the leaves of which are grown in the high altitude of Nepal, is so impressive that it nabbed fourth place in the North American Tea Championship—that’s an impressive get for the nine-month-old Longmont company. Find it: Yoga Loft
Sick of kombucha? Try Jun. This probiotic fermented tea is similar, but brewed with honey rather than cane sugar. The result is lightly effervescent and far more delicate than regular ’booch. True Nature Kitchen’s (based in Carbondale) Pink Opal version—spiked with hibiscus, rose, and lavender—is floral, dreamy, and addictive. Find it: Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, Lucky’s
Brewing a big pitcher of iced tea is a snap when you use Teakoe’s perfectly portioned bags. Flavors like Front Porch Peach, Block Party Pomegranate, and Orange Octane are all lightly sweetened with stevia, meaning there’s no need to add sugar. Bonus: The brewed tea also makes a fantastic base for a boozy cocktail. Find it: Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Marczyk Fine Foods
Here’s what we love about Thai tea: the smooth, almost dessert-like quality of each sip. What we don’t like: the wallop of caffeine and sugar in each serving. Enter Denver-based Zanitea, which blends a red rooibos (aka decaffeinated) version. Owner Suzanne Klein created the tea for her brother’s Thai restaurant in Puerto Rico. Follow the instructions on the back of the package to a healthier but equally delicious treat. Bonus: Pour the strong tea concentrate over ice cream for a new twist on the affogato. Find it: Savory Spice Shop
We’re crazy about coconut and if it’s on a menu, we will order it. At the Weathervane Cafe in Uptown, that means ordering the coconut green ice tea. The shop brews the Vail Mountain green tea blend (which includes shavings of dried coconut) and serves it over ice. Each lightly caffeinated sip is perfectly tropical without the sunscreen overkill. Find it: Weathervane Cafe, 1725 E. 17th Ave., 303-355-5863