Tea company eteaket turns to sea buckthorn for its latest innovative tea blend

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

eteaket felt this bright orange berry, which is abundant on along Scotland's coastline, was overlooked as a superfood.
eteaket felt this bright orange berry, which is abundant on along Scotland's coastline, was overlooked as a superfood.
Scottish tea company, eteaket, has launched a new tea blend in the UK made with sea buckthorn, which has been widely used in other food and beverage products as a health-boosting ingredient.

The tea was launched this summer in the UK for £ 7.50 ($9.93) per 100g container.

Experts from the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation at Queen Margaret University (QMU) have helped eteaket produce the new fruit tea by blending dried cranberries and sea buckthorn berries with the hibiscus flower.

In addition to the partnership with QMU, eteaket also joined the QMU Sea Buckthorn Common Interest Group, which is comprised of nine companies all with the common goal of enabling producers to develop new products containing sea buckthorn, and to maximize the market opportunities for the “super berry.”

Owner of eteaket, Erica Moore, said that new sea buckthorn tea fulfills the company’s strategic priority to constantly innovate its tea products as well as its quest “for the latest weird and wonderful ingredient, flavor combinations, and brewing techniques.”

‘Greatly overlooked’

Sea buckthorns (from the genus Hippophae) ​are deciduous shrubs that grow naturally on the Atlantic coast of Scotland as well as parts of northwestern Asia.

Although unpleasant to eat raw because of its astringent and intensely sour flavor profile, sea buckthorn has been commonly frosted or fermented to enhance its sensory properties and added to beverages, according to QMU food scientists.

“We felt that sea buckthorn is greatly overlooked in terms of its health benefits, nutritional properties and unique flavor,” ​Moore said.

Harnessing its nutritional profile

QMU has been researching the nutritional properties of the sea buckthorn berry since 2008 to benefit food and beverage manufacturers who are looking to enhance the nutritional content of their products with a plant native to Scotland.

Research by QMU has confirmed that sea buckthorn has a high amount of antioxidants and is rich in vitamins C and E; its concentration of vitamin C is higher than in strawberries, kiwis, oranges, tomatoes, and carrots.

The berries are also a rich source of healthy fatty acids, soluble vitamins, and sterols, which have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the human body.

QMU researchers said that the main reason why sea buckthorn is it not commonly used is because its thorny branches and soft fruit clusters make it difficult to pick and harvesting can be financially challenging.

However, QMU believes that awareness of its potential as a new superfruit has meant that a determination still exists among several food and beverage manufacturers who are looking to use it as a functional ingredient. 

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