Friday, February 27, 2015

talking tea as an avid coffee lover

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: 

Over Ice: Target's Hibiscus Tea
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.

Any questions?
How do you take your tea?

30 comments:

  1. as a southern girl at heart, sweet tea with a slice of lemon over ice is my ideal summer tea. But thanks to this snow I've had to branch out. Lately my go to is vanilla chai tea. MMmmmmm

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  2. One time I walked into a Teavana and spend $65 dollars. True story.

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  3. As another self proclaimed coffee lover, I too do also feel the need to cut back a little and drink tea instead sometimes. I love the Tazo Awake and Refresh. I am on a total loose leaf kick right now. David's Tea more specifically and my faves include Cinnamon Chai Rooibos and Forever Nuts. I always drink my tea "naked" with the exception of adding honey to my Refresh once in a while if I am not feeling the greatest.

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  4. Um let's talk about how much I NEEDED to read this. Gathering my grocery supply list now..

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  5. I'm the biggest coffee drinker I know, but there's something so cozy about a cup of tea.

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  6. Oh this is so helpful! Since I'm trying this whole drinking less coffee thing... It's rough. I've found a few things I like and I'm getting used to the taste of tea, but I haven't found anything that I,morally in love with yet. So I'll have to try some of these!

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  7. I love tea! So far my favorites are peppermint tea, green tea, and sun tea :) I usually add quite the amount of sugar and honey to mine. Lemon if my throat is feeling a little sore.

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  8. You are so worldly, you tea drinker you! I'm so fascinated by tea. I want to be a tea drinker, but every kind that I've tried is just horrible. Other than good ole Southern sweet tea, of course. But now, I'll be trying these thanks to your suggestions!

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  9. I recently found the Sweet & Spicy tea and I love it! Herbal teas are my favorites :-)

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  10. Like you, I'm a coffee and tea lover. I'd drink coffee all the time if the large amount of caffeine didn't turn me into a ball of anxiety & jitters. I just love the flavor. On days where I feel like I'm already wired, I love English Breakfast tea (my favorite is Peet's) with a splash of caramel coffee creamer. I have a feeling it tastes similar to your English Breakfast tea + vanilla bean paste mixture. SO good. I'm actually drinking an extra large cup now. I'm interested in trying that hibiscus tea though too- I love iced drinks :)

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  11. We have a store here called T2 that's like 80,000 different flavor a and tons of samples. I make a cup of peppermint tea when my tummy is upset and green tea with lemon in the evenings.

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  12. sweet tea ALWAYS. But vanilla chai. I think I need that in my life.

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  13. YES. We did that once. And we're still drinking the tea from it.

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  14. Please tell me the Vanilla Paste is one of them.

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  15. I'm usually a naked tea girl too (especially at work) but I've been trying to make tea more fun for myself (especially in the afternoons when all I want is coffee. :) (Also Cinnamon Chai Rooibos -YUM)

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  16. THAT IS WHY I WROTE IT. Well, mostly because you inspired me. What's new?

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  17. Yes. It's like a hug for your insides.

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  18. It is SO HARD. So. STINKING. HARD. Tea helps a lot, but it is just SO different than coffee.

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  19. Oh sun tea. Yes that's one of my FAVORITE parts of summer.


    I've never been good at adding lemon to my tea but I'm going to have to try more because I love lemon water... :)

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  20. Girl, southern sweet tea makes loving other teas so hard. Add some sugar to your hot stuff. And then slowly take it away... I promise it'll help you fall in love. :)

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  21. It's my old favorite. Like I ALWAYS return to it because it just feels like a warm blanket for my soul.

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  22. Ok wait, English breakfast with caramel creamer. Just the thought of that makes my mouth water a bit. (Must try immediately)


    The hibiscus is SO good. It's strong but it's SO good.

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  23. YES, we have Teavana and Jason and I went once and walked out the door with over $100 worth of tea and we then forbid ourselves to ever return.

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  24. I've gone almost all tea in the last year or two! Love it, and will have to try that vanilla paste for my chai lattes, and the hibiscus tea for this summer as it sounds heavenly!

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  25. Oh that was the first thing I wrote down!! So curious!!

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  26. I am really hoping to make a ridiculous amount of sun tea this summer :)


    Lemon water is so good for you! I love it!

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  27. Rock sugar? It looks fun, can I eat it whole? No? I like green tea with some fresh lemon juice. It's the best ever.

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  28. I've never heard of using vanilla bean paste in tea before, but now I HAVE to try it. I like my tea reeeeeal sweet, so I think it'll be right up my alley. I take mine with two teaspoons of sugar, no milk. Sometimes I switch out the sugar for good ol' honey, which I actually like better. My favorite tea of all time is Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile. SO GOOD. SO COMFORTING.

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  29. Your Instagram feed is amazing! I also am a coffee-lover, but I can appreciate good cup of tea. In fact, I thought about switching from coffee to tea for Lent, but with my morning commute, I'm too selfish for that. Sigh....

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  30. oooooook.
    loose leaf tea is mah jam.
    like i have tins and tins and tins and shitler hates it but i don't even care and i could guzzle it all day errrdaay. and NOW i shall sample all that you have suggested!

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