Meet The New Inflammation-Fighting Drink Health Experts Are Obsessed With
We've long raved about the health benefits of tea, which are wide-ranging: It can reduce cholesterol, lower cortisol, and reduce inflammation.
But sometimes, you don't want a hot cuppa—which is where the new breed of tea beverages comes in. Sparkling teas are essentially a mix of soda and tea, a cold, carbonated version of the healthy classic—and health experts love them. "These beverages can provide the benefits of the tea in them," says Jessica Cording, R.D., mbg Collective member and founder of Jessica Cording Nutrition. She notes that consumers need to keep an eye on added sugar and additional calories from any other ingredients that may be present. "Also, if you're sensitive to caffeine, take that into account," she adds. "While it's not as much as coffee, black tea and green tea (and therefore, matcha) do provide caffeine."
SOUND was one of the first to bring the drink to the market. They blend sparkling water with organic tea, botanicals, and fruit extracts, with no added sweetener or artificial flavors. It was born out of necessity: Founder Tommy Kelly wanted a sparkling drink that had no added sugar and couldn't find any available on the market. They now sell five sparkling teas, ranging from the caffeine-free Chamomile with Vanilla & Elderflower to the energy-inducing Yerba Mate with Citrus & Hibiscus, and have recently added five new tea-infused sparkling waters to their offerings. The flavors, while more subtle than soda, are about as powerful as the many sparkling waters that have hit the market—but because the blends are made with tea, they offer caffeine and, of course, various health benefits. The tea also provides more nuanced, aromatic notes than are often found in sparkling waters, and the herbs and botanicals SOUND employs add a rich, sophisticated, and complex element to the final blend (think tangerine and lemongrass, or rose, cardamom, and lime). They're perfect for someone looking to not only shake up the health game of their beverages but also someone looking for more novel, palate-stimulating flavors.
Minna also eschews sugar for what they call "lightly brewed" blends, housed in cans with packaging that'd look right at home in a trendy coffee shop. Their Tropical Green Tea blend is spiked with pineapple and is light, fresh, and summery, while the decaffeinated Black Tea blend has warm, juicy mango. Their final blend is made with naturally sweet, caramel-y rooibos, and is enlivened with lime and hibiscus.
Teatulia veers slightly more into the soda category, with mint, lemongrass, black tea, and green tea blends that are flavored with botanicals and sweetened with cane sugar. The herbs are 100% organic and ethically sourced in a 3,000-acre regenerative tea garden in Bangladesh, which provides gainful employment for the surrounding community. While, yes, the cane sugar can be a red flag (each can contains between 16 and 20 grams), it does provide a far more soda-like flavor and still clocks in far lower than traditional sodas.
Even better? You can actually easily make your own sparkling tea at home. SOUND's Kelly got his start simply carbonating tea with his SodaStream, which lets you play around with your own flavors and combinations, making it easy and fun to sip away your inflammation all day long.
Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.