Food trends and a tempest in a teapot: Changing tastes bring out the best
Tea has been a beverage of choice since ancient times, although it is not immune to changing tastes. With the introduction of new microbrews joining the craft movement, tea is the latest category to bring blending to a new level.
This trend is much to the delight of tea drinkers, who account for over 158 million Americans or approximately four out of five people. And with 87 percent of millennials drinking tea, according to the Tea Association of the USA, microbrews are in demand, with many desiring to try new flavors.
The craft trend started with microbreweries that first applied the term to the small batches of beer they produced using traditional brewing processes. Consumers are enthusiastically toasting the craft beer movement as the number of operating breweries grew 15 percent in 2015 for a total of 4,269 in the U.S. alone, according to the Brewers Association. The increased demand for such diverse taste sensations is not only driving selection but also quality.
Tea-lovers can also look forward to a heightened sensory experience in their tea cups, especially since companies like Bigelow Tea continue to emphasize quality, flavor and unique blends as craft blended specialty teas join the ranks of other popular craft brews.
In 1945, Ruth Bigelow challenged established tea brands and created specialty tea in America with the iconic “Constant Comment”. Now, over 70 years later under third-generation family leadership, the company is embracing the craft movement with the launch of a new organic line of craft-inspired teas.
“Today’s consumers are looking for unique products that deliver a complex, full-flavor experience,” says Cindi Bigelow, third generation president and CEO, “and our new line was created to do just that.”
For example, ‘steep by Bigelow’ is a microbrew tea, rich in flavors that connect more exotic flavors and ingredients by combining such taste counterparts as sweet peachy notes with earthy dandelion, smoky and nutty oolong with delicate floral jasmine and smooth, malty teas with flowery top notes.
The ongoing trend toward healthier eating has spurred an increased interest in artisanal ingredients and specialty foods. The way society views food today versus the 1950s when processed foods were considered evolutionary can almost be seen as a nod back to the way our ancestors fed families from farm to table, hand-made or what is now considered craft.
Today, the concept of craft has come to stand for high quality, unique flavors and an artisanal experience.
Reading the tea leaves for the next trend may be a thing of the past as cultural influences and technology play an enormous role in driving this appetite for new flavors. From cooking shows to cooking apps, recipes and food photos are shared freely, fueling a frenzy of excitement for the next tantalizing experience.