Matcha (Photo courtesy of Transit Tea)

Transit Tea Unveils New High-Quality Matcha & Drink Flavors


May 21, 2024
By Matt Sterner

I always learn something new when I chat with Manish Shah, the brains behind the nationally renowned brand, Maya Tea Company, the mastermind behind Heirloom Farmers Market, and the local Tucson tea shop, Transit Tea.

One of those things I recently learned about myself — or was reminded of — is that I really, really love that classic, artificial flavoring found in grape sodas or inexpensive grape juices. I’ll get to that later, though. First, we need to address the new ceremonial-grade matcha Shah acquired for Transit Tea.

Matcha (Photo courtesy of Transit Tea)
Matcha Made in Heaven

Choosing the perfect matcha for the shop is important… but it’s also one of Shah’s favorite things about owning a tea shop.

“We get samples of matcha — ‘You’ve got to try this and you need to try that’ — and I get boxes of them,” said Shah. “Then, this one matcha came out and it was ceremonial grade and it was perfect! It took me two weeks to go from ‘No, whatever’ to “I have to have this in my shop.’ So, matcha at Transit is now ceremonial grade.”

Super quick matcha comparison: Ceremonial-grade matcha is of higher quality and tasty enough to drink, and culinary-grade matcha is often used as an ingredient in recipes due to its more pronounced bitter taste.

“Matcha — it’s a dual perspective,” said Shah. “For one, I have my perspective as Maya Tea. We sell a couple of types of matcha. I always see the trends and I know what’s going on with what coffee shops are doing with matcha — matcha lattes have just taken off in coffee shops! So, everybody’s rediscovering matcha after about 10 years of matcha being around. It’s finally hit the mainstream and critical mass. And, I thought How can we make some cool flavors out of them?'”

And, when it comes to flavors on the menu, a couple of these are extra special for Shah.

“When I was a kid, I loved strawberry Nesquik and chocolate Nesquik,” he said. “Back in the day, I was denied strawberry and chocolate milk. My parents would only let me have Ovaltine because it was fortified with all of those vitamins and minerals — it’s healthy for you. And, since we were able to get Ovaltine in India, they had an attachment to it.”

Right now, you can order chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, mango mint, and lavender matcha at the tea shop found at 2645 E. Speedway Blvd.

New Flavors For Teas

If you’ve ever been to Transit Tea, you’re aware that the tea and flavor combos on the menu are nearly endless. I mean, it would take a mighty long time to try every possible combination — there are more than 4,500 possibilities.

However, there’s always room for new flavors!

Transit Tea (Photo by Taylor Noel Photography)

The newest additions include the Arroyo (a Sonoran sweet prickly pear), Windsurfer (coconut pineapple piña colada), Luminous (blueberry and lemon squeeze), and the almighty Concorde. I referred to it as “the almighty” because of the love I have for that old-fashioned grape soda flavor.

“This is for you, man! I made this for you,” Shah laughed.

The Concorde has a raspberry twist as well, and the spelling is a mashup of Concord grapes and the Concorde airplane (you know, since airplanes get you from one place to another/in transit).

“My parents also never let me have soda and my favorite flavor was grape,” Shah added. “So, we made this beautiful grape soda. Remember those really artificial, terrible versions from the ’60s, ’70s, and the ’80s? We need more of that in our lives! Just not artificial.”

Transit Tea is located at 2645 E. Speedway Blvd. For more information, call (520) 433-2886 and visit transittea.com. For more information about Maya Tea Company, visit mayatea.com.

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