Numi Tea at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2013

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Tea has been around for thousands of years and, yet, the folks at Numi have managed to do a brilliant new thing with it. Meet their Savory Teas, in six flavors that star vegetables as the key ingredient, with support from herbs, spices and decaffeinated tea. They’re like the lovechild of tea and vegetable bullion, with a subtle, well-rounded flavor profile. These inventive new tea bags easily earned my “best new product” award at this year’s Fancy Food Show.

Fennel Spice is the most expected, with licorice and orange notes – but it gets more interesting after that. Broccoli Cilantro has a bit of a kick, with cilantro and celery. Spinach Chive is perhaps the most complex, with lime, coriander, dill and green tea. Beet Cabbage not only has the crimson color you’d expect, but gets a lot of personality from mustard seed, coriander, clove and apple. My two favorites are Carrot Curry (who wouldn’t love carrot with ginger and turmeric?) and Tomato Mint, which has a Greek feel to it, with lemon peel and cinnamon. Fortunately, they’re available in a sampler pack, as well as boxes of  individual flavors, so you can easily try them all. Boxes of 12 teabags are expected to retail for about $7.99

Packaging for Numi Savory Teas – six flavors plus a sampler pack.

The tea bags need to steep longer than regular teas, eight to 10 minutes, to hydrate the ingredients. The taste is light enough to enjoy with a sandwich, but might be a little funky with a chocolate chip cookie. The Numi folks also suggest the brewed tea can be used to cook rice or noodles. Interesting. If you try them, let me know what you think!