Tea, Wondrous Tea

In my last article, I extolled the virtues of the plant stevia for its’ sweetening qualities. I also bashed soda and coffee, settling on teas for my caffeine delivery method.

Tea has an extremely long history, even in my own life. I remember vividly my maternal grandfather making the rich Ceylon teas he’d bring back from his travels. I never drank them then – they seemed an adult beverage to me. Yet I was fascinated by the process, the tradition, the smells.

Fast-forward to the caffeine-hungry adult I’ve become, and you’d see someone rediscovering the beauty of teas. I do still like a strong cuppa joe every once in a while, but tea seems to satisfy an internal desire for subtle tastes and aromas which coffee tends to trod upon and sodas will never have.

My mother has been drinking iced tea for decades. She makes a super-concentrated syrup from bagged tea on the stove at a slow simmer and then dilutes into jugs. I used her method until I bought a cheap iced tea maker which slow-brews through a filter cup and drips into a ice-filled pitcher. More importantly, I stopped using most bagged teas.

Bagged teas now taste as rough and bitter to me as pre-ground store-brand coffee tastes to someone who grinds their own beans. While consistent, bagged teas frequently contain lesser-quality leaves and the flavored bags use heavy flavors to mask poor quality tea.

I’ve gotten some fine whole-leaf tea from the local Teavana and also via the internet from Mighty Leaf. A friend’s mother also supplied me with some excellent whole leaf green tea from an independent tea store. For our iced tea enjoyment, I’ve been using green teas, with some lemon rind and ginseng root. Served hot, I prefer full-bodied black tea, sometimes with a hint of orange flavor. Sometimes a tea latte is desired, and for those, I have some chai blends which are heavily spiced.

Two other teas I’ve become fond of are Yerba Mate and Rooibos. Yerba Mate has mateine in it, so it satisfies my stimulant fix, but Rooibos is caffeine free.

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