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The Truth About David’s Tea and Artificial Flavourings / Flavorings

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Here’s the truth: I’ve been hooked on David’s Tea for months now. Scrolling through my archives reveals review after review of their teas, and the consensus is––I love them. I thought they were perfect. Delicious, guilt-free, natural.

I was wrong.

In a post on Petite Pear Style, there was a mention of artificial flavours in a David’s Tea, and I thought it must just be the kind she was trying. So I checked my own stash. Turns out it’s not a random event.

Almost all David’s Teas contain some kind of flavouring. They aren’t just the nuts, dried fruits, and tea leaves I had believed. I had been caught up in the hype and never had any reason to know the truth. Here it is:

Almost all my favourite teas contain artificial flavouring. Sorry, Paradise Found and Forever Nuts, you aren’t quite the wholesome goodness I thought.

There’s a reason I reach for tea over soft drinks, and part of it is because I think I am getting something natural. I am not.

Artificial flavours are obviously synthetic, but I thought I was safe with “natural flavours”. When I went shopping this weekend, I picked up two more teas from David’s Tea which contain “organic natural flavouring”. Unfortunately, my research for this post revealed that natural flavourings aren’t necessarily so great either. Just because they came from a natural source and not a synthetic one, it’s still being blended by a flavor-specialist in a factory to be appealing to our taste buds. It’s still a chemical, and can basically be identical to an artificial one, but it came from a natural source.

When it comes to tea, does it make a difference?

These are the questions I’m struggling with at the moment. As somebody with celiac disease, I carefully check ingredients every day, but I’m often eating “artificial” products and I think that will always be the case. Still, I aim to have more “natural” healthy foods in my diet and one of those–I thought–was tea. Turns out it wasn’t.

So that lead to my next question: how do I find a David’s Tea without “flavouring”?

The answer is, not easily.

When I was in the store on Sunday, I asked the saleslady if there was a list of which David’s Teas contained artificial ingredients. Turns out the only way to check is one by one with the teas in the store. I’m really frustrated by that. They do have teas from them that contain no ingredients except, for example, chrysanthemum. They are still delicious, and I will make an effort to review the ones I have.

On their website FAQ, David’s Tea states that they have over 50 teas that don’t contain flavourings. However, given the insane number of teas that they do carry, 50 is quite small.

Personally, I’m not going to be tossing the teas I already have. I enjoy them, and as a student, I can’t afford to suddenly start my tea collection from scratch. But I will be more conscious when purchasing the future. I do feel mislead. As for how I feel about the “natural” component of flavourings… I don’t know, but I do wonder if it is an easy way to hide and call something “all natural” when in reality it was put together in a lab. I do wonder why we can’t just stick with actual natural product instead.

I’d rather have dried strawberry than strawberry flavour, natural or not.

When I start finishing up some of my current stash teas and buying new ones, I’m going to be informed, and I’m going to purchase ones without any flavourings at all. There are lots of great, REAL natural flavourings like spices and fruit. I’ll stick with those. I already have a delicious apple tea just made of chunks of dried fruit that I brought back from Istanbul. In the future, that will be my “Forever Nuts”.

As I make the transition to natural teas, I’ll be sure to let you know where I find them, how I find them, and if they are really so different after all. Maybe I will give up and change my mind, maybe I will be lured back to David’s Tea by that one perfect tea I can’t find anywhere else, maybe I will decide to keep drinking natural flavourings for now but cut artificial. I’m imperfect, and I also realize that there are lots of artificial flavourings in every aspect of my life. But I drink a lot of tea, and unlike that Snickers bar, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about whether that choice is bad for me. I’d rather not have to.

I don’t know exactly where this journey will take me, but I do know that at least now, knowing the truth, I can make an informed decision.

I really want to hear from you! Do you drink David’s Tea? How do you feel about artificial (and natural) flavourings in tea? Do you have any recommendations of “straight” tea (without flavourings), that isn’t bitter, for me?  Let me know what you think.

Edit: DAVIDsTEA left the following comment on this post:

Hey Zoë! So sorry for any confusion here with our flavoured teas. Just a note to clarify: all of the teas in our collection listed with “natural flavouring” use extracts, oils, or essences. The natural flavours that your research uncovered sound to be “natural identical” flavours. While these can be listed as natural flavouring in the US, we list these and other synthesized flavouring as artificial.

For the full list of our natural/unflavoured teas, please contact customerservice@davidstea.com, and they’ll be more than happy to provide you with one.

All the best,
DAVIDsTEA

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