My profile says that I love a good cup of tea so I thought I might detail that out on here. First off, I have really just come to have a love for tea over the years. My mom drinks tea a lot and so does my Aunt. I remember one time when my mom and I took a trip to St. Louis. My Aunt took off from work one afternoon and we went and had tea at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Talk about fancy! It is still a fond memory for me that I got to share something special with two very special people. There is also a great little tea room here near the seminary and I love to go there with a friend or my mom as their tea is wonderful and the atmosphere is very charming.
And I don’t like caffeine. I came to realize about a year ago that me and caffeine do not get along well. It gives me headaches and the jitters and is just not good. So I gave up soda and coffee, which I really was just drinking because it was the “cool” thing to do. I love the smell of coffee but as for drinks I like it with lots of sugar and cream or flavorings.
But tea has always been my friend. Here are some of my favorite kinds:
– Irish Breakfast Tea: There was a book I read in high school in which the main character drank Irish Breakfast Tea. I thought the name sounded neat so I tried some and fell in love. Irish Breakfast is the coffee drinkers tea – it is strong stuff! It is best brewed strongly and with a little bit of sugar (in my case splenda) and some milk to give it a nice rich taste. It’s great on cold, wintery days. My favorite brand is Twinings.
– Raspberry Tea: I have been drinking Raspberry for a long time. It’s like a dessert in a cup. My mom has this pink dainty tea cup that I love to drink Raspberry out of. It makes me feel elegant and special. It is best brewed lightly with just a taste of sugar. Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger is an excellent choice.
-Mint Tea: Mint Tea has been my college tea. I think I started drinking it last year and it is so yummy. Mint is great because it wakes you up (I believe I read that somewhere) and is great for your throat and breath. For my 9am history class last fall I always took a cup of tea with me, always. It was just sometimes a hard class to stay alert in, even though I learned so much. Our professor was kind and had a coffee pot that he would make coffee in for everyone to wake us all up. Since I had decided to not drink coffee anymore I decided to start bringing my own choice of drink and mint tea it was. My favorite brands are Laura Lynn Peppermint Tea (sold at Ingles) and Archer Farms Mint Tea (organic in mesh bags and sold at Target).
-Earl Grey Decaf: This is the only decaf/caffeine free tea that the coffee shop in the campus library has so many of my long study sessions involved this tea. Earl Grey is rich like Irish Breakfast and is also great with sugar and milk. The only thing with Earl Grey is that I grew tired of it very quickly after drinking it so much in the library!
-Sleepytime Tea: Oh bedtime is so much better with this tea! I started drinking it more this past year because I had an apartment and it was easy to put the kettle on and make some tea. In college it can be hard to go to bed early even when you want to because your body gets used to staying up late. I had to fight this sometimes but trying to do relaxing things early in the night to make myself sleepy. One such relaxing thing is to drink a cup of sleepytime tea. It has chammomile and mint and other flavors that calm me down and leave me feeling at ease. Sandman PM by Stash Tea is also a great choice.
-Tazo Passion Tea: Sold at Starbucks by the cup or in bags, this stuff is great! It’s fruity and very bold. I just got some for my birthday and have enjoyed sipping on it!
All of the teas above come in bags which are great for throwing into travel mug to take with you. While bagged teas are convenient I have lately become somewhat of a tea snob and have started to drink whole tea more frequently. It can be a pain to use whole tea sometimes because it’s not in a prepackaged individual bag but it is so worth it for the taste!
Teavana Strawberry Kiwi Tea – My mom got this from a friend and it is great. It’s light and fruity and good hot or cold!
Tazo Mambo Tea – I currently only drink this at Borders Bookstore but just found out that I can buy a small canister of it loose! It is fruity but also bold.
Chai – I love chai but rarely drink it as much as I did in India. We had it what seemed like 5 times a day in India but they serve it in small glasses. I have the real stuff from India, Assam Tea, and the spices used to make a great cup of chai. It’s quite delicious but tastes nothing like the yucky American imitations. Trust me on this one. If you ever want a great cup of chai let me know and I will be glad to make you some! The only bagged american chai I like is Stash Decaf Vanilla Chai.
Some Tea Tips:
1. Celestial Seasonings individual tea bags don’t have strings and labels but are great because you just throw them into the bottom of your cup. They are also stored all in one resealable pouch instead of separate paper bags so be sure to seal the bag carefully to keep the flavor.
2. You can find all sorts of nifty tools for steeping/brewing loose tea online and in tea/coffee stores. I use a spoon steeper because it’s great for just making one cup at a time. I also have a teapot that has a built in mesh strainer so I can make a whole pot of loose tea at one time!
3. If you are caffeine wary like me be advised – decaf teas still contain some caffeine! Shocking, huh?!! I look for teas that say “naturally caffeine free” to drink most of the time and only drink decaf some of the time. If a tea says “herbal” it is most likely caffeine free.
4. Take some tea bags and put them in a ziploc baggie in your purse or backpack. Then when you are out to eat or even at a fast food restaurant you can have your tea. A good friend of mine and I went out late one night to Ruby Tuesday’s where we simply ordered one dessert and two cups of hot tea – he brought the tea bags with him. Also, carry some splenda packets with you and you will always be ready to enjoy a great cup of tea!
Now after all of this tea talk I am ready for a cup myself and then it’s off to bed!