Increasingly, I notice people writing about specialty teas they have tried which have all manner of flavorings added to a black or green tea base. One blog entry described a special offer of two samples of personalized specialty teas: one was black tea with peppermint and apple flavoring; the other flavored with raspberry and coffee. Now I ask you: what makes for a specialty tea? Is it any kind of tea base sprayed with unusual flavorings or is it pure, unadulterated tea that is of such high quality in how it is grown and processed – and in its natural aroma and flavor – that there is no need for flavorings? Or is it both? You can probably guess my bias by the way that I worded the question.

I know what I believe, but I really don’t know what the official or general consensus is out there. What do you think about this issue? What makes a tea special? Is it just whole leaf, whether flavored or non-flavored, or is it any tea, whole leaf or bagged, that is unique in some way, whether through the pure tea itself, special flavoring or even how it is bagged or packaged? Let us know what you think and what you like.

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This post originally published on May 26, 2008, generating the unfinished discussion below.  Chime in!