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Flavoured teas an infusions have flavour oil added during manufacture. The flavour oils are usually added last to either a single tea or a blend. Flavour oils can be used with Camelia sinensis (tea leaves) or with herbal or fruit infusions such as apple, hibiscus or raspberry leaf.
Use of flavourings enables tea blenders to make their blends taste of just about anything. Some blends require only one flavour oil while other can be made using complex blends of flavour oils themselves.
One thing to bare in mind is that there is a large variety of flavour oils even within a particular type. For example there are many different types of bergamot oil each with a different flavour profile and cost. One blender's Earl Grey could be very different from the next without any discernible quality difference.
Flavour oils enable tea blenders to use a small number of ingredients to make a wide variety of products. Usually flavoured teas and infusions are made using either black tea, Chinese sencha green tea, apple pieces, raspberry leaves or a mixture of these as a base.
It should be noted that most flowers and petals added to flavoured tea blends are purely decorative and do not add much, if anything, to the overall flavour. An example of this is Earl Grey Blue Flower, where the cornflower petals have no taste in infused. Dried fruit and spices can add both visual and flavour to blends.
There are 4 main types of flavour oils that can be used in making flavoured teas. Depending on which type of flavour oil used, there are different legal labelling requirements. The requirements are slightly different in the EU from those in USA. The main thing to bare in mind is not to state that a flavouring is natural if it is not. We can help make sure your labelling meets these requirements.
There are two different ways of describing natural flavouring: Natural (Strawberry) Flavouring and Natural Flavouring Type Strawberry.
In order for flavouring to be described as Natural (Strawberry) Flavouring, the flavour oil needs to conatain at least 95% extracted from the names source with the other 5% used to standardise the flavour.
Natural type flavourings such as Natural Flavouring Type Strawberry are made from derivatives of natural ingredients but do not contain 95% of the named ingredient.
They can be expressed as natural flavouring on an ingredients list but you would not be able to state "Natural Strawberry Flavouring" as these flavour oils do not confirm the to 95/5 rule.
Instead you would have to simply write "natural flavouring", or "natural flavouring type strawberry" if you require to reference the taste of the flavour.
Nature identical flavourings are flavour oils that are chemically identical to those found in nature but have been manufactured using chemical synthesis. They don't contain any artificial flavour components.
Nature identical flavours cannot be described as "natural" on labels so should only be referred to as flavouring.
In the EU there is no requirement to use the word "artificial" when describing nature identical flavours but in the USA this is a requirement.
Artificial flavourings are made using synthesis of chemical not found in nature and can contain substances such as complex Esters which mimic natural flavours.
In the EU there is no requirement to use the word "artificial" when describing these flavours as flavours are considered to be synthetic unless otherwise stated, but in the USA this is a requirement.