It’s time to do something different today at Books & Tea! Sometimes you just need a sugar rush, so this post is all about tea-flavoured candy.
Tea-flavoured candy is actually not that hard to find if you know where to look, whether you check Amazon, tea shops, or even specialty candy stores. Hell, Kit-Kat makes both green tea and houjicha-flavoured Kit-Kat bars, the latter of which sounds amazing.
I tried two types of tea-flavoured candy in particular: gummies from Squish Candies and hard candies from Bali’s Best. How do they hold up?
Tea Leaves Candy from Squish Candies
Here’s how Squish Candies describes these tea-flavoured gummies:
For tea lovers who just can’t get enough, this is the ultimate blend, with hints of black currant, peach, orange, lemon and mango. These fruity leaves with real green tea extract are everyone’s cup of tea.
The gummies come in a plastic, zip-sealed bag weighing 140 grams; you can buy larger sizes online, but this is the only size available in stores. They’re about a half-inch long and shaped like tea leaves, and they come in four colours: green, yellow, red and orange. It’s hard to tell the orange ones apart from a distance, though.
The ingredients label lists green tea extract, black currant, lemon, carrot, safflower, and spirulina, among other things. However, the aroma of the open bag of candies was generically sharp and fruity. If I squinched my nose I could smell mango, but I also sensed that sharp, green, astringent note that perfumers and confectioners always use when they want to impart a “tea-like” aroma or flavour.
You know the smell I’m talking about. It’s sharp and vegetal, but also lemony. It’s a cool, green, misty sort of smell, the kind of thing you associate with spas and cosmetics. But, goddamnit, tea doesn’t really smell like that! Or at least, tea can smell like a lot of things, and I hardly ever see its full variety of aromas represented when people try to make tea-scented or tea-flavoured things.
It’s kind of annoying. But I digress.
The green candies are the most strongly tea-flavoured of the lot. When you eat them, you get a real hit of straight-up matcha flavour, tempered with some sweet, acid fruitiness. The yellow candies are less strongly tea-flavoured; instead, there’s a somewhat bitter yet flavourful citrus note. I had a hard time pinning down what citrus the yellow ones reminded me of. Yuzu, perhaps? Kumquat? In any event, the yellow tea candies don’t taste sunny, bright, juicy, or lip-smacking. Rather, the citrus flavour is subtle, mature, refined. Elegant, even.
The red and orange candies are not quite as sucessful – they taste generically fruity with a hint of that astringent tea flavour going on in the background. At various times, I tasted mango, orange, carrot, and blackcurrant.
As a final test, I popped all four flavours into my mouth at once and went to town. I could taste each flavour individually but no flavour won out over the others. Most of all, I just tasted that generic lemon/vegetal tea note I talked about above.
The candy’s texture was chewy, but not soft like gummy bears or jujubes. Instead, it was tougher in the mouth – almost like fruit leather, but with a bit more resilience and springiness.
Bali’s Best Tea Candy
Bali’s Best Tea Candies are hard candies about the same size and shape as Werther’s Original caramels. I tried two different flavours: Green Tea Latte and Citrus Green Tea – they were sent to me through the mail either from Anne of 52Teas or by Char of Oolong Owl. Here are some close-ups of each wrapper.
The candies themselves weren’t particularly photogenic, and the citrus one had melted somewhat inside its wrapper, so no photos there. Just imagine a really dark green Werther’s Original and you’re pretty close.
The Green Tea Latte candy was extremely sweet. However, while it also tasted strongly of matcha, it was a one-note sensation. There was very little depth to the tea flavour. Finally, despite the word “latte” in the name, I didn’t taste any milk or creaminess. It was just straight-up sugar and matcha flavouring, without a lot of the marine/umami quality of actual matcha powder. It took 3-4 minutes for the entire candy to dissolve in my mouth.
The Citrus Green Tea candy fared a little better, but not by much. The flavour was evenly divided between citrus – lemongrass, in fact, rather than a fruit like yuzu or lemon on mandarin – and green tea. Other than the hit of lemongrass, this candy was pretty unexceptional.
Neither variety was outright awful, but I’ve had more pleasant candies AND more pleasant teas.
You can buy Bali’s Best tea-flavoured candy in stores, or order in bulk online.
In the end, I preferred the gummies from Squish Candies, especially the green and yellow ones. I’d buy them again, given the opportunity.