As we step further into Fall and the weather continues to cool down, warming foods and drinks become extra delicious and comforting. Think hot chocolate after a morning ski or an apres-surf cup of coffee or tea.
Tea is one of my favorite drinks any time of year. A wonderful tiny tea shop opened up near me last year (The Robin’s Nest) and quickly became my favorite place to splurge. A geisha teapot for grandma, a tin of Rooibos chai for me, and a chat with the lovely owner, Robin.
Tea has been used through time in a variety of ways. It can be used for everything from bath soaks to soothing puffy eyes to making potpourri and soap. Numerous health benefits are attributed to drinking tea as well, with antioxidants being high on the list.
Green tea, for instance, contains vitamins B, C, and E. The tannins in green tea are said to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Black tea is made from the same plant as green tea, but aged leaves are used instead of fresh. Common varieties of black tea are English Breakfast, Darjeeling, and Earl Grey.
Peppermint tea contains menthol and can soothe your stomach or strengthen your immune system. Chamomile can help with insomnia, and Rosehip tea is a wonderful plant-based source for vitamin C. Lemon tea is great for cleansing and stabilizing the digestive system.
An important part of getting the maximum benefit from your tea is to choose a tea made with high-quality ingredients. If you’re making it yourself, buy your tea from a reputable tea shop and try mixing up a few of your loose-leaf herbal teas for a new taste. If you want to drink tea on the go, look for ones low in sugar, Fair Trade certified, brewed from whole tea leaves, and organic (like Honest Tea).
There’s nothing like opening a tin of loose-leaf tea, steeping it yourself, and settling in for a few minutes of calm. Smelling, making, and drinking tea is an enjoyable and beautiful process akin to grinding and making your own coffee or enjoying a good glass of wine.
In our modern day, we don’t often have time for the ritual of Afternoon Tea, but we can still retain the benefits by warming up or cooling down with a healthy and delicious cup of tea.
Photo by Monique Minahan