- Rose Green Tea Organic, from Upton Tea Imports - This tea surprised me in that it is flavored with "natural flavors", meaning extracts or essential oils, and that I still liked it. I rarely find teas flavored with extracts in this manner, that I still like. This tea is edgy: dark and rich, and not particularly floral. It has a very strong rose presence, and the base tea blends very well with the rose.
- Osmanthus Oolong Se Chung from Upton Tea Imports - I love osmanthus-scented tea, and greener se chung oolong (particularly huang jin gui) can strongly resemble osmanthus in fragrance. This is an example of a scented tea that blends seamlessly: although it is obvious that this tea has been scented, it is impossible to me to tell where the osmanthus ends and the tea begins. This tea is simply a joy for me to drink.
- Jasmine Green Tea (Jasmine Yin Hao) from Rishi Tea - I do like Jasmine tea, although I wouldn't say that it is my favorite style of flavored tea across the board. This particular tea, however, my favorite Jasmine tea, is one that I especially like. It has a classic jasmine tea profile, but it is less perfumey and I find it exceptionally smooth while still being full-bodied and deep.
- Earl Grey Leaf Green Tea from Hyson - This tea literally blew me out of the water. It is a whole-leaf green tea from Sri Lanka, with rather large leaves. It is completely unlike any other Earl Grey, totally lacking the strong bitterness, and instead, having an overall character more similar to a good Jasmine tea: smooth and very aromatic. The base tea is like an exceptionally smooth gunpowder green or chun mee.
- (Tied for fifth) Rishi Masala Chai - This is my favorite pre-blended masala chai, and evidently, all other reviewers on RateTea also agree that it is their favorite commercially available masala chai blend. It's the only masala chai blend on the market that I like better than what I can blend on my own at home. The other contender is Vanilla Mint Pu-erh from Rishi Tea, a tea that sounded quite unappealing from the name, but which impressed me quite greatly when I actually drank it. This is a very smooth, earthy tea with a cocoa-like character (although, contrary to what the aroma might suggest, it does not contain any cacao).
What are your favorite flavored teas? I am especially interested in hearing from people who, like me, have a strong preference for pure teas, as these are the people who are most likely to share my tastes.