I am a self-proclaimed coffee lover, though I think anyone who sees our K-Cup collection and Starbucks card usage would agree. I love caffeine and the flavor of coffee and dolling up the darkness of the bitter-goodness. But, I start to feel guilt over the loads of it I can be predisposed to drink (especially on a really cold, early morning run day).
Lately my goal has been a cup of coffee in the morning and, on days when I've been especially productive, one in the afternoon. But between those times, I crave a hot, delicious drink. So, in college, I asked a roommate and she sang the praises of tea. I wondered how she could love it so, and decided to try it for myself. And here enters tea.
I never knew I could enjoy hot water with the flavor of dried leaves and berries floating around in it. The idea really doesn't charm me much. I also felt too stupid for tea -with the steep times and fancy names (like oolong) and the overwhelming number of flavors. So I started simple, just drinking the tea that I knew -Good Earth's Sweet & Spicy- and I enjoyed it. But, like every person has been known to do, I wanted more. I wanted variety and sweetness and fruity flavors.
And that's when my tea buying adventure started. Slowly, over a matter of years, I have come to find my favorite flavors and tea fixings. And so, today, I share those with you:
I add frozen strawberries, lemon slices and some Truvia in and sip all day long by adding a bit of water any time the mason jar falls below half full. The flavor dulls a bit, but it's strong and willful, so you'll continue to taste the floral essence.
To Settle A Stomach: Tazo Refresh (Mint Tea)
I used to get this steeped and poured over ice when I had a hangover. But drink a mug of it warm whenever my stomach is upset nowadays. It's calming and refreshing and like a warm shower for your insides.
Loose Leaf: Teavana Youthberry (Now available at Starbucks)
Tea without a bag intimidated me until Jason and I decided to become tea drinkers one year. We bought ourselves a teapot and all the accessories and took on loose leaf like champions. The trick: you NEED a tea diffuser. You can buy them on Amazon. Mine's a mana-tea.
As Is: Good Earth Sweet & Spicy
I drink this straight. No lemon, no sweetener, no milk. Just the tea bag in hot water. (It's also delicious iced.)
For Detox: Celestial Green Tea with White Tea
Seriously I swear this stuff has made me thinner. I'm not a huge fan of green teas in general (too plant-tasting), but the white tea that's laced in these bags makes it easy to drink (I don't even add sweetener). That means I'm getting the health benefits of green tea without choking down the flavor.
Caffeinated: Tazo Awake (English Breakfast)
This with some half and half and a splash of Vanilla Bean Paste. HOLY LONDON FOG. But usually, I don't treat myself (or I'm at work and don't have half and half and vanilla bean paste) so I add a half packet of Truvia and mix. This one I have to watch for the steep making sure it doesn't get too dark and, therefore, too bitter.
I get all of my tea at Target or our local grocery store, but you can easily find it on Amazon. Celestial and Tazo are standard brands that might overwhelm you with their selections. Keep your cool and choose what sounds good to you in the moment, it's likely you'll love it once you get home to brew. I've only had one tea I couldn't doctor up to a way I loved it and, well, you win some you lose one.
Let me tell you about my fixings really quick:Rock Sugar: this stuff melts phenomenally and a little goes a long way. You can get it at Teavana or on Amazon.
Vanilla Bean Paste: this is sweet. It can be used in baking, but I found that I loved a drizzle of it in my coffee or tea. It's delicious.
Truvia: I bought the packets, like in the picture, and wish I hadn't. I don't use an entire packet (ever) and so I find myself throwing it away... I wish I'd chosen to buy the jar so I could add the little bit of sweet that I want without wasting the rest of the baggie.
How do you take your tea?