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Eat and Drink

Tea Time

Six local beverages to fuel your fall adventures.

Bhakti's sparling teas; —photo courtesy of Bhakti Chai

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.

Bhakti Sparkling Tea

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

Conundrum Tea’s Everest Sunrise

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

True Nature Kitchen’s Jun

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

Teakoe Teas

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

Zanitea’s Red Thai Tea

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

Vail Mountain Coconut Green Tea

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

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.

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Tea Time

A roundup of locally made ready-to-drink teas.

As you stroll the beverage aisle, looking to stock your fridge, you’re likely to find more tea options alongside the juices and sodas. “Tea,” says John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, “is one of the strongest-growing sectors of the beverage industry.” The trend is due in part, Sicher says, to the increased demand for health and wellness products. It’s not surprising, then, that the Colorado market, a hub for natural foods, would produce several of these healthy bottled drinks.

Authentic Yerba Maté
$1.79, Pixie Maté, Boulder
A sweet and earthy maté, this highly caffeinated drink—there’s more caffeine in maté than Red Bull—packs a punch for an afternoon pick-me-up. Available at Whole Foods

Original, Live
Kombucha Tea
$2.99, High Country Kombucha, Eagle This fair-trade tea pours slightly cloudy, a visual cue to its sour taste and natural effervescence. Because it’s slightly sweet, this tea is a good starter for exploring kombucha, whose fermented flavors can be initially off-putting. Available at Whole Foods

Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey
$1.39, Xingtea, Denver
When chilled, this light and sweet tea is a refreshing thirst-quencher. The extracts of ginseng, a natural energy booster, will also put some pizzazz back into your worn-out step. Available at King Soopers and Whole Foods

Original, Kombucha
$2.99, Infinitea, Boulder
Despite the pungent scent, this bubbly and mildly tart tea tastes crisp—and claims to be a tonic for immune, digestive, kidney, and several other health malfunctions. Available at Whole Foods