Tea Time!

24 Jul

Ahhh, I love tea. I’m enjoying a cup right now, while my lop-eared rabbit hops about for playtime. It’s a veritable English garden I live in, folks. Not really. But that won’t stop me from sharing my favourite kinds of tea with you!

Be aware that I’m a brand loyalist. The only tea I drink is Stash. This is because it’s the only brand of tea I’ve been able to find that tastes like what it claims to taste like. For example, their creme caramel dessert tea actually tastes remarkably like caramel. I’d love to see Celestial Seasonings pull off a feat like that! That said, I’m open to suggestion… anyway, getting on with it!

1. Red tea. Technically not a true “tea,” as it comes from the South African rooibos plant. I recently described it as being “blandly sweet,” which made no sense to my friends until they tried it and subsequently agreed. There’s a vaguely nutty flavour to it as well. This is my bedtime tea on account of its being naturally caffeine free. Caffeine and I don’t get along very well, particularly at night.

2. Organic honeybush. I picked this up one day when I couldn’t find my trusty red tea, and was told that honeybush is the same thing. It is not the same thing. However, it will do. Apparently (according to wikipedia, at least), there are great similarities between the honeybush plant and the rooibos plant, but you can tell just from the flavour alone that honeybush and rooibos are not one and the same. Honeybush is far more bland and I need to steep it longer in order to achieve a nice flavour. That said, once steeped, it’s certainly close enough to the red tea that it’s not worth splitting hairs over, and the fact that it’s organic is a nice bonus.

3. Double bergamot earl grey. God I love earl grey. This particular variety is my breakfast tea. I don’t do coffee in the morning as it tends to make me jittery, so this is my personal pick-me-up. Bergamot, just for the record, is a variety of citrus fruit. It’s also the ingredient that gives earl grey its trademark perfume-y scent and flavour. Personally, I love it, so while regular earl grey is great, double bergamot is much, much better.

4. Jasmine blossom green tea. Usually I’m not much of a green tea drinker. It’s just too delicate an art for me. Ten seconds too long steeping it and it’s bitter as all get out. However, I like the simplicity of it. I’m one of those people who carries tea bags around, and while boiling water isn’t really that hard to come by, milk and sugar are. So this is nice in the regard that it doesn’t require such accoutrements. Plus it tastes like flowers! (Uh, that’s a good thing.)

5. White peach wuyi oolong. I use this for homemade iced tea, as I can’t stand that powdered garbage that never quite dissolves, and pre-packaged peach iced tea is really hard to come by. The only kind I can ever seem to get my hands on is Snapple, and even that’s a rare find. I really don’t like fruit flavoured teas when they’re served hot, but peach iced tea is one of my favourite things in the world. White peach wuyi oolong makes it cheap and easy.

Now, everyone likes hot tea served a different way… you’ll have to muck about by yourself for a bit to figure out what ratio of milk to sugar you prefer and all that. But I can’t blather on about homemade iced tea without telling you how to make sure that it turns out awesome. It’s really easy to make, and very delicious. So…

– Boil 4 cups of water.
– Pour boiled water over 4 or 5 teabags (the flavour’s up to you, but seriously, try the white peach). It should go without saying that you need to use a heatproof container for this.
– Let steep for 1 hour or more.
– When tea has finished steeping (it should be relatively cool by now), add two cups of cold water.
– If you want to add sugar, add it now. I suggest a quarter cup, max.
– Done!

I don’t know if there are any sort of safety precautions that need to be taken with this recipe. It actually surprised me when I learned that iced tea should be prepared with boiling water for health reasons, but there you have it. Anyway, I always try to consume mine within a day or so of making it. But you really shouldn’t have any problems with that because it is delicious.

On a completely different note, I wish that I’d been able to make it out to the Blog Out Loud event tonight! I promptly fell asleep after dinner tonight, and remained in a state of deep unconsciousness until 10 p.m. It sounded like a really cool event. Next time, I guess.

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