Apricot tea is any tea, whether iced or hot, that is flavored with or made with apricot. Most apricot teas are black teas with flavoring added. Dried apricot pieces and apricot blossoms can be boiled to create a sort of herbal apricot tea, as well.
The term "tea" typically only attaches to beverages made by boiling and straining tea leaves. Tea leaves come in several varieties; the flavor largely depends on the type of tea leaf used, and the stage at which the leaf was picked. Flavor can also come from different elements, such as fruits, herbs, and spices that are added to the tea leaves as they brew. Apricot tea is usually a combination of tea leaves and apricot pieces.
Apricot can be added to black tea, green tea, or white tea. The delicate flavor of the apricot fruit lends itself well to a variety of different tea combinations. Most of the time, tea masters make apricot tea by adding bits of apricot fruit, apricot peel, or even apricot blossoms to tea leaves as they dry. Apricot oil or apricot-flavored extract can also be added.
Most teas, apricot tea included, are sold either loose-leaf or bagged. The contents of each are usually the same, but the strength and overall taste of the tea can differ depending on how it is prepared. Most bagged teas are more finely ground, for instance, and any apricot pieces are usually crushed, often making them indistinguishable from the other tea bag contents. In a loose tea, by contrast, the apricot is often readily visible. The apricot flavor usually comes across more strongly in loose tea, as well.
Flavor is usually one of the main reasons that apricot teas are so popular. Dried apricots still carry a strong apricot taste. The teas, then, often carry a fruity, floral bouquet that reminds many people of summer.
In the summer, apricot tea is frequently iced. Iced apricot tea, often garnished with a bit of mint or lemon, is a popular alternative to traditional sweetened iced tea. The sweetness of the apricot usually means that the tea does not require much additional sugar. In many markets, apricot iced tea is also available commercially.
Aesthetics can also be an important part of apricot tea, particularly when prepared loose. Loose apricot green teas, for instance, often feature apricot blossoms that rehydrate beautifully in boiling water. Apricot blossoms and petals do not usually taste like apricot, but they are often quite fragrant and floral.
Apricot tea made with large chunks of apricot fruit or twists of apricot peel usually also changes appearance when brewed. Brewing loose apricot tea in a clear teapot or infuser maximizes these sensory experiences. The aesthetics of tea come across best when they can be seen, and visual elements often complement the drinking experience.
Some apricot teas are not actually tea at all, but rather are herbal infusions. An herbal infusion is any combination of herbs, plants, or florals brewed together as if they were tea leaves. Many herbal apricot teas are no more than brewed apricot along with other flavors, like chamomile, or spices, like cinnamon. Herbal teas almost always contain no caffeine.