Tazo tea is one of the most popular brands of specialty tea. Tazo teas are sold as bottled ice tea and as boxed filter bags for brewing. You can find Tazo tea products in grocery stores, in coffeehouses like Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee, and through various online retailers. The Tazo tea company attributes its widespread success to the company’s stringent selection process, use of high-quality natural ingredients, vast selection of original exotic flavor blends and its colorful origins.
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The Tazo tea company is based in Portland, Oregon by longtime specialty tea champion Steve Smith. Smith made it his mission to re-energize the tea industry and re-introduce the general public to the joy of drinking tea. Using his own knowledge of specialty tea and rich ancient tea recipes, he developed the first of many innovative new flavor blends that would come to characterize the company. Popular coffee giant Starbucks bought the Tazo tea company in 1999.
Tazo Stone Myth
According to a myth on the Tazo Tea's Web site, many of Tazo's current tea recipes were derived from recipes inscribed on an ancient stone known as the Tazo Stone. It is said that the Tazo Stone is located in a previously-hidden cave near the Red Sea. The myth alleges that the Tazo Stone was revealed in 1987 when an earthquake and a low tide exposed the cave that contained the stone. The tale of the Tazo Stone provides an added sense of mystique that contributes to the unique character of Tazo tea products.
The Tazo tea company boasts over 80 unique tea flavors such as fruit, berry, citrus, mint, spicy and floral flavors. Their products include a colorful combination of green teas, black teas, red teas and non-tea herbal infusions. Tazo’s tea specialists create these mixtures by merging specially selected ingredients like cinnamon, hibiscus, chamomile, orange peels, blackberry leaves, dried fruit and dried bark.
The Tazo tea company does not advertize its tea products as offering any significant nutritional value or health benefit. Instead, the company promotes its teas as providing superior quality and taste. Tazo teas are Kosher-certified and they successfully meet both FDA and EPA pesticide requirements. Except for a few flavors, most Tazo teas are also gluten-free. Tazo teabags are made out of oxygen-whitened hemp cellulose and are not chemically bleached.
Tazo teas come in both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Tazo Chai Tea latte contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine. Tazo’s tea specialists use a complex and sophisticated process involving high-pressured carbon dioxide to produce their decaffeinated tea products. Tazo’s herbal infusions typically do not contain caffeine.