28 October, 2021, 10:36

Transit Tea: Playful meets refreshing with sodas, popsicles and snow cones

This drive-thru and walk-up establishment serving all things tea is doing things a little less traditionally.

When you think about marketed beverages, specifically non-alcoholic beverages, what comes to mind?

There’s bottled and canned drinks, including the big obvious one, bottled water, but there’s also coffee, soda, juice, and energy drinks. Outside of bottled and canned drinks, there’s walk-up and drive-thru establishments, like Starbucks, Dutch Bros., as well as local and independent spots, like Coffee Times. But, what about spots for tea? After all, tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world.

To be sure, there are local spots for tea but Transit Tea, a recently opened drive-thru and walk-up establishment serving all things tea, is doing things a little less traditionally. Okay, a lot less. But it’s still tea. Tea, that is, in the form of sodas, snow cones, and popsicles.

Cold drinks and frozen treats at Transit Tea

Cold drinks and frozen treats at Transit Tea (Photo by Adam Lehrman)

“We really worked hard at creating a variety of unique flavors that instill a sense of nostalgia,” said Transit Tea owner Manish Shah. “We were driven to make tea as fun as possible.”

Flavor for Days

And nostalgic, fun, and refreshing is exactly what they serve at Transit Tea. In over 26 different flavors, no less.

Starting with Transit’s menu of tea sodas and tea snow, each drink was inspired by a familiar flavor, like a watermelon jolly rancher or a sauvignon blanc. (But even if a drink doesn’t remind you of something familiar, they’re still tasty and refreshing.). With the option of tea soda and tea snow, guests have the best of both worlds. The tea snows aren’t too sweet, yet at the same time, they can easily be enjoyed like a dessert. And if you feel like sipping instead of using a spoon, go for cold tea, either still or sparkling like a soda.

The menu is organized by each drink’s tea base, of which there are 9. Each option is available as a tea soda or as tea snow, which is Transit’s version of a snow cone. Recently Shah added popsicles, or ice-pops to the menu, available in 12 of Transit’s guest favorites. Flavors, along with their base are listed below. Asterisked flavors below are also available in ice-pop form.

Also take note, Transit uses a state of the art water filtration system that provides amazing taste and quality for a superb beverage experience.

“The best tea starts with the best water.”

Transit Tea Menu

(Asterisked flavors also available as popsicle )

  1. Black tea
    • Zephyr* – lime, toasted marshmallow
    • Bayou* – raspberry, white peach, saffron
    • Rainforest – pineapple, smoked cherry, strawberry, lime, kiwi
    • Wanderer – elderflower, pomegranate, anise
  2. Green tea
    • Solstice* – lychee, grapefruit, elderflower
    • Tiger cola – warming spice, ginger, lemon, lime
    • Escape – mango, cayenne pepper
    • Globetrotter – strawberry, saffron
  3. Yerba Mate
    • North Star* – hibiscus, cherry, almond, warming spice
    • Wonderlust – passion fruit, cherry blossom
    • Interstellar – coconut, lime
  4. White tea
    • Enchantment* – watermelon, cardamom, green apple,
    • Windsurfer – blackberry, coconut
    • Trek – strawberry, kiwi
  5. Hibiscus
    • Kaleidoscope* – watermelon, toasted marshmallow
    • Throwback – warming spice, cherry, vanilla
    • Joyride – white peach, cranberry
  6. Rooibos
    • Luminous – banana, vanilla, caramel
    • Odyssey – rose, passion fruit
    • Compass* – blood orange, toasted marshmallow
  7. Cinnamon
    • Whimsical* – marshmallow, white peach
    • Discovery – apricot, almond
  8. Mint
    • Jaunt* – strawberry
    • Traverse – white peach, elderflower
  9. Tulsi
    • Kismet* – grapefruit, passion fruit
    • Starboard – blood orange, saffron
Mo’ Tea, Please

Being that it’s still hot out and most likely will be for most of October, Transit’s sodas and snows will be the most appealing to most guest. But that’s not all that’s available in the cold drinks department. If you’re more of a traditionalist, all bases are available without flavor or sweetener. And Transit’s chai tea is also available, which is a guest favorite. Look for it in four variations: Heritage (lighlty sweetened and made with traditional spices, Low Sugar (sweetened with monk fruit), Devi (extra spicy and also available in ice-pop form), and Raga, which includes turmeric. All of the drinks just listed can also be prepared hot.

Transit Tea

Photo courtesy of Transit Tea

Oh, but there’s more. Transit offers 10 different tea lattes, available with a wide variety of milk options:

  1. Cartwheel – black tea, tiramisu, cinnamon
  2. Navigator – yerba mate, almond, blackberry
  3. Gravitation – green tea, coconut, lavender
  4. Spellbound – yerba mate, lychee, toasted marshmallow
  5. Souvenir – black tea, smoked cherry, chocolate
  6. Standout – black tea, peppermint, vanilla
  7. Overseas – matcha, peppermint tea, mango
  8. Carnival – black tea, popcorn, toffee, peanut
  9. Optimist – white tea, coconut, caramel
  10. Serendipity – rooibos, cinnamon tea, apricot

I’ve personally tried so many of the drinks that I’ve lost track of what I like, but I tend to lean towards Tiger Cola, Interstellar, and Solstice.

Give Transit Tea a try and see what nostalgic flavor resonates with you. You might even find something you didn’t know you’d like.

Transit Tea is located at 2645 E Speedway. For more information, including hours and contact information, visit transittea.com

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Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.

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