Hello? I love a good tea-related pun, this one courtesy of Lionel.
Segway goes here…so as I’ve become even more addicted to all things British, Sherlock, Prince George, and beautiful Kate and Pippa being just a few of my favorites, I find myself drinking tea on a daily basis.
A wannabe Brit’s guide to all things tea
As a student, unfortunately I don’t have the best resources to brew myself the best, so tea bags are usually my go to.
However, after visiting a lovely Tea House over spring break, I set my mind to stepping up my tea game.
Now my mother has excellent tea resources, from great pots with build in filter cups, to that fancy plastic thing that steeps itself and you put on top of your cup to drain (what an eloquent description), but my barebones apartment doesn’t have such equipment, nor am I feeling free enough to purchase said goods.
So, I found a little strainer ball thing that has a lovely hook I can clip to the side of my mug, to brew myself a gorgeous cuppa when I’m chillaxing, working, or winding down at night. (jk, see “insomnia” post here.)
For loose tea, Teavana has been the best bet thus far. I was gifted a tin ofearl grey creme, a black tea. What I like about Teavana’s mixes is that it’s other funky ingredients like vanilla pieces, or dried fruit in addition to the tea leaves. It’s a nice vanilla-y tea, fairly mild, without a major caffeine jolt or overly strong tea taste. It’s heavy on the creme flavor.
Earl Grey Creme, photo from Teavana. I don’t have pretty bowls, so let’s rely on their gorgeous pictures.
Today, I finally stumbled into the nearest shopping center with a Teavana, with the intent to buy a green tea to add to my stash. Granted, Teavana has a wide selection. Since I figured I might as well pick something snazzy, I bought 2 oz. of the Jade Citrus Mint variety. It’s heavy on the lemongrass, and has a nice citrus kick to it. Overall, it’s very mild as well, and is low on the caffeine scale, but high in anti-oxidants. After reading of the health benefits, I’m attempting to drink a cup a day. It also smells wonderfully. If you’re going to splurge on fancy loose tea, might as well pick something unique, right?
Jade Citrus Mint. photo from Teavana. Is it weird if I name my future daughter after this tea?
Since I don’t live close to a store, I picked up a second loose tea as well. For the past two years, I’ve been drinking Yerba Mate as a morning substitute for coffee. Granted, I don’t always wake up early enough to brew a batch and pour it in a thermos, so I do still buy cups of coffee. But to save money, I try to drink tea instead, also to avoid having brown pirate-y teeth in the future.
Whole Foods’ Yerba Mate tea bags are great, and do contain a good enough amount of caffeine to do the trick in the morning. I can’t really compare its taste to anything else, but it is similar to a plain hot green tea, but with a bolder flavor.
Teavana has multiple varieties of Mate tea. I also picked up 2 oz. of the Caribbean Calypso Mate Tea, which smells divine. I’m a fan of all things tropical, the Caribbean Passion smoothie at Jamba Juice being a favorite, so this tea seemed like a fun variety. In addition to the tea leaves, this mix has pieces of dried apples, mango, pineapple, and coconut. It’s also low on the caffeine scale, but unlike green tea, isn’t listed on the anti-oxidant scale. Still, for those who aren’t into tea, it’s a good fruity variety.
I’m tempted to just eat this mix. So pretty. Is this what heaven smells like?
Note: My handy dandy tea ball strainer hasn’t been the most effective for brewing tea with really fine leaves. I decided to do a science experiment, along with guidance from other thrifty people on the Google, and attempted to brew my own tea using my coffee maker. Lo and behold, it worked! Granted, tea experts would probably be horrified, but I just used a coffee filter, put about a tablespoon of loose tea (more than you would put directly into a strainer for a mug since the tea won’t be soaking for as long), and let ‘er brew. I’ve just been refilling the water throughout the day and using the same leaves, and have brewed about 8 cups total thus far with just that batch. I don’t taste any coffee flavor or anything, and my machine is just a simple, one button Mr. Coffee. The Keurig reusable cup would do the trick as well.
So, all that being said, let’s all take an hour this week to brew or steep a nice cuppa, curl up with a good book or movie, and relax.
Are you a tea drinker? Got any interesting methods or gadgets? Do you hate tea? Any favorite flavors?