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Craving coconut? Put the kettle on

The tropical flavors of coconut are seeping into more and more hot beverages, with premium tea makers infusing their brews with the palm fruit.

While coconut water is now considered a mainstream product that can be found in major grocery stores, coconut tea is also following suit, with a range of premium tea brands jumping on the latest flavor trend.

A common strategy is to pair coconut with exotic and spicy tea blends like chai, or use the clean palate and antioxidant-rich green tea to carry the robust flavor profile.

This week, Tea Fort � for example, whose signature pyramid packaging makes it instantly identifiable, launched a new line of coconut teas made with organic leaves and infused with the creamy flavor of cut coconut.

Flavors include Coconut Mango Colada Green Tea, Coconut Chai Latte Black Tea and Coconut Chocolate Truffle Black Tea.

US luxury tea brand Harney & Sons also uses green tea as a vehicle to carry coconut, ginger, vanilla and lemongrass in their Green Tea with Coconut & Ginger, while Celestial Seasonings has a Decaf Sweet Coconut Thai Chai Tea.

Meanwhile, though the tropical fruit is enjoying the flavor spotlight, critics have blasted the coconut water industry for making what they say are misleading health claims that includes everything from curing hangovers to acting as a natural alternative to sports drinks for hydration.

Last year, independent consumer advocacy group ConsumerLab conducted its own investigation into three of the most popular brands of coconut water, O.N.E., Vita Coco, and Zico, and found that only Zico delivered on its nutritional claims while the other two fell short on electrolytes, sodium and magnesium listed.

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