Gulfood 2023: Innovative 'Tea in Citrus' brings fruity notes to the everyday cuppa

Vietnamese company Fresh Juice Tea awarded the Best Beverage Product in the Gulfood Innovation Awards for drink infused with fruit and bursting with flavour


Lamya Tawfik

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The tea leaves are stuffed into oranges, which are then baked to release the citrusy flavour, while fruit oils are also added.
The tea leaves are stuffed into oranges, which are then baked to release the citrusy flavour, while fruit oils are also added.

Published: Wed 22 Feb 2023, 4:23 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Feb 2023, 11:29 PM

Fruit tea just got a complete makeover with Tea in Citrus — probably the most elaborately created cuppa ever.

Vietnamese company Fresh Juice Tea was awarded the Best Beverage Product award during the Gulfood Innovation Awards this year — and for good reason. Unlike traditionally–created fruit tea, this particular tea is like no other in the market.

“Fruit teas are traditionally made from mixing tea with dried fruits, but JuicyTea is not the same, it’s an innovative product where the tea is soaked with the fruit juice,” said Helene Singh, key account manager at Fresh Juice Tea.

Explaining the process for producing 'Tea in Citrus' in detail, her colleague Paloma Stein, key account manager, said that the amount of fruit used is 10 times the tea.

“We use, for example, 1kg of tea and 10kg or fruit in the production. Ginger, for instance, is cut into small slices and is then mixed to allow it to release the juices, and is then left to soak with the tea leaves,” she explained, adding that it’s important that every tea leaf is soaked with the juices. The ginger and tea are then separated before drying and then mixed together again with fruits and herbs for a more intense flavour.

But the process does not end here. The tea mixture is then stuffed into cored oranges, which come from the highest mountains of Vietnam, and they are then baked in an oven, explained Stein.

“Through the baking process, the oranges shrink to half their size, in the process releasing their citrusy orange flavour into the tea. A few drops of natural oils like lime, orange or bergamot are also added,” she said.

The 'Tea in Citrus' is then wrapped individually, but the aroma is so intense that it can be smelled through the wrapping.

When preparing the drink, said Stein, the tea is steeped into hot water, but a few pieces of the citrus can be added for an extra zesty note.

The tea, produced in Vietnam, was sold in Russia in the past and proved to be very successful there as Russia is a very big tea-drinking nation, and they are very particular, said Stein, adding that this is the first time it is being introduced to the UAE.

“We plan to introduce our products everywhere," she said, adding that tea-drinkers are "tired of ‘normal’ tea and so we offered something new, innovative and experimental”.

The ingredients for the tea are mostly from Vietnam, she explained, and they are all natural with no added chemicals, sugar or flavour enhancers.

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