If you’ve never tried tea-based soda, you’re missing out.
Pearl Soda Company recently sent us a package of their tea-based soda syrups and they were delightful! Each flavor has a tea base underpinning the recipe while more traditional soda flavors are layered on top to bring out the best characteristics of each tea.
Pearl Soda Company was actually born out of a tea blending company.
As afternoon sun beamed through our windows, a co-worker and I were speculating about the most refreshing summer treat we could make in the shop. We had plenty of tea at our fingertips – but also ice-cream: “What if we could make a TEA FLOAT?!” One tea blend, Dancing Dragon, had a decidedly root beer character. But without the bubbles, it fell short of expectations. Heather, co-owner of The Jasmine Pearl, pulled a soda stream out of the break room. Suddenly, Dancing Dragon floats became a delicious reality.
After trying six flavors, I can say that it’s obvious that years of tea blending experience have contributed to the well-balanced flavor of these syrups.
First, let’s start with their four original flavors.
Dancing Dragon is made with one of my favorite teas, yerba mate, along with puerh, and honeybush. On the soda side, sarsaparilla brings forward the familiar flavor of root beer.
I’m a big fan of root beer and this was my favorite of all the syrups I tried. I felt it improved on commercial root by reducing the sweetness and making room for bitterness and a touch of spice.
Keep in mind that yerba mate contains caffeine and so does this syrup.
Lime Twist is made with South African green rooibos tea, while ginger, lemony herbs, and lime adding additional flavor. It’s almost like a ginger ale or even a ginger beer.
Blue Mountain is made with Nilgiri black tea from the Blue Mountains of India. It’s blended with lemongrass and lemon myrtle creating a flavor that’s very similar to classic southern cold tea.
The aroma of the black tea was apparent right away. The lemon flavor comes through as you take a sip. I loved that this was not very sweet, much like traditional cold tea. Next time I would definitely add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add a touch more tartness.
Keep in mind that black tea contains caffeine and so does this syrup.
Vanilla Rooibos is made with organic South African rooibos herbal tea and vanilla extract to create a flavor reminiscent of cream soda.
The vanilla is quite prominent making the soda taste very creamy. It’s actually amazing how much it tastes like cream soda. The rooibos plays a quieter role in the background adding some nice depth to this syrup.
In addition to the original four, Pearl recently released two more new flavors.
Jasmine rose is based on jasmine green tea, with rose blossoms added for a delicate floral flavor and aroma.
The aroma and flavor actually both reminded me a lot of green too. However, the flavor was much less cloying than I usually find green tea. It didn’t dry out my mouth in the same way. A touch refreshing and the rose flavor only came out slightly in the finish.
Keep in mind that green tea contains caffeine and so does this syrup.
Hibiscus flowers make up the base of this flavor providing a bold red color. Lemony herbs layer on a bright-tasting tartness which pairs beautifully with the hibiscus.
This syrup has a really great depth of flavor. Very prune like with a touch of lemon. I also appreciated how it wasn’t too sweet. This seems to be a theme with Pearl syrups, which I think is great. It’s easy to add a splash of simple syrup if you want to sweeten things up a bit.
Sparkling Tea Cocktails
While a desire for tea floats led to the development of Pearl Soda Company, the fun doesn’t stop there. I also received several cocktails recipes with my syrups. While we haven’t gotten a chance to make any yet, this really seems the perfect use of these syrups and an interesting way to shake up your cocktail game.