Cosmic Tea

The Whole Leaf

In 2009, using the IRAM radio telescope in Spain, astronomers from the Max Planck Center for Radio Astronomy discovered molecules of ethyl formate in Sagittarius B2,  a massive dust cloud at the center of the Milky Way. The cloud also contained propyl cyanide. The scientists had discovered the two largest molecules ever identified in deep space, but that wasn’t what made headlines. On earth, ethyl formate is the chemical that gives raspberries their flavor. It also helps to make up the aroma of rum.

The idea that a giant space cloud might taste of raspberry-flavored rum excited many (nevermind the lethal power of propyl cyanide), and now you can experience that flavor in tea.

Space Tea, made in Japan, is a blend of Assam and Ceylon tea with added ginger, peppermint, mallow, and other “fragrance” and promises to reproduce the scent of the universe we now associate with ethyl formate (not present in the tea). Twenty “space flavor” tea bags come in a simple, lunar-themed tin. For now the cosmic concept is only available for purchase in Japan, but Space Tea planner Masahiko Hakoda said in an e-mail that more variations of space-flavored tea are on the horizon.

—Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor. Photo courtesy Space Tea.