It’s vibrant, multicolored and probably taking over your Instagram and TikTok feeds. But what exactly is tea loaded? How do you make them?
The hashtag #LoadedTeas has over nine million views on TikTok: These virus-boosted tea drinks — with funky names like Bahama Mama, Mermaid, and Unicorn — have gained cult followings who claim the drinks are low-calorie, sugar-free, packed with antioxidants and most importantly loader With caffeine … hence the name. Eater reports that a standard loaded tea contains about 160 milligrams of caffeine — nearly twice the amount found in a cup of coffee.
How did loaded tea start?
Loaded teas are found initially in one of the nearly 6,000 “nutrition clubs” across the country, particularly in small towns in America. The people behind these clubs mostly use products from Herbalife — a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells nutritional supplements, meal replacements and other health products — to make caffeinated beverages. While the brand has no direct relationship with these nutrition clubs, individual distributors have given the impression that loaded tea can only be made using Herbalife products, when that is far from the case.
Tee tea…without MLM
Jana Rogers, the face behind SilverLiningLessons and maker of Tee Teas without MLM, has gained over 415,000 followers on TikTok as she documented her efforts to make loaded tea more accessible…without committing to the world of multi-level marketing or breaking the bank.
According to Rogers, depending on the Nutrition Club website, loaded teas can cost anywhere from $7 to $10 per tea. That price can go as high as $10 to $15 per tea with added functions like protein and collagen.
Rogers started making loaded tea in 2021, when a reader asked her to write a blog post about Herbalife. “While researching and writing the publication, we realized that these products were nothing special, just extremely overpriced and strictly sold by Herbalife,” Rogers says.
Rogers set out on a mission to create her own loaded tea for less than $1 each, using products found at Walmart, dollar stores, and online retailers. Early versions of their loaded tea consisted primarily of Walmart’s great-value energy drink blend, but they were missing some vitamins—plus the carbonation in Herbalife’s Liftoff—used in Nutrition Club teas.
“After about three or four months of research, we found the exact alternative to the Herbalife Liftoff product used,” Rogers says. “It was at Walmart for roughly 10 cents per serving, compared to $2 per serving at Herbalife.”
She reveals, “The product is called 4C Energy Rush, and it has the same vitamins and carbs needed to make a refined tea at home for less than a dollar.”
Herbalife and 4C list similar ingredients in the two products, such as taurine, several B vitamins, and of course, light carbonation.
Make stuffed tea at home
Now, Rogers has over 400 loaded tea recipes available on her blog, and she’s shared hundreds of clips on TikTok showing users how to make the popular loaded tea at a fraction of the price.
Some of the most popular teas have been original creations such as Mountain Dupe, a blend of citrus brew powders, green tea, and aloe vera juice, and Christmas Tree Farm, a fruity blend of tea and aloe vera that makes it perfect for the holidays. I’ve also succeeded in creating well-known tea dupes from the nutrition clubs, such as Dill Pickle, which has a pickle-flavored sports drink, Fruit Roll-Up, Guarana, black tea and an energy drink packed with fruit flavor.
Want to make your own tea loaded at home? These three tea-loaded recipes from Silver Lining Lessons are the perfect place to start.
This Sugar-Free Mountain Dupe Tea is made with Citrus 4C Energy Rush, Waka Green Tea Powder, Tang Orange Beverage Mix, Hawaiian Punch Lemon-Lime Splash Drink Mix, Cold Aloe Vera Juice, Water and Ice.
Looking for a beauty drink? Choose Basic Witch, Loaded Tea Made with Citrus 4C Energy Rush, Nutricost Guarana Powder, Great Value Strawberry Lemonade with Collagen, Hawaiian Punch Berry Blue Typhoon Drink Mix, Rainbow Fudge (1/8 teaspoon Limeade Cherry Drink Mix and 1 /8 teaspoon grape syrup mix), water, and ice.
Based on the popular Nutrition Club drink, Bubble Yum Tea is made with 4C Energy Rush berries, Waka Black Tea powder, Nutricost Guarana powder, Sunkist Grape drink mix, Starburst All Pink drink mix, cold cranberry juice, water and ice.
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