It is snowing where I live today. In the UK, snow is either greeted with unadulterated glee or with unadulterated dread. I am not that bothered by the white stuff myself, but I will confess to loathing attempting to get around in this weather. I am a capable driver. It’s the other idiots on the road that I worry about.
Anyway, with this cold and snowy weather, I love making steaming hot cups of tea. I love tea. I love coffee as well, but I do feel that tea is somehow encoded in my DNA. My Mother’s family were tea planters, and some of their knowledge has been passed down to us. We know a lot less than they did, of course, but I find the best cup of tea is without milk, possibly with a slice of lemon. Obviously, you make it in a pot, preferably with leaves rather than bags, and you always warm the pot before pouring the hot water over the leaves and leaving it to steep. If you have to put milk in tea, then put it in after the tea has been poured.
A few years ago, my husband and I made a deal with one another. If we were going to drink more tea and coffee than we strictly ought to, then we needed to make it the absolute best quality we could. That is what we have done. We get fabulous tea from a supplier in Canada (yes, I am serious!). It is my best friend’s favourite tea shop, and when we were visiting there last year, we went in and bought stocks of my favourite blend. Seriously this tea (The Baroness, by The Tea Girl) is the most restorative cuppa I think I have ever had the delight of tasting. It takes me from utter exhaustion to back up on my feet and raring to go.
It got me thinking though. We all know that tea is an antioxidant and it doesn’t deliver as much caffeine as coffee does, but does it help with anything else? Turns out yes. Black tea reduces the risk of kidney stones and artheroclorsis, osteoporosis and helps to raise low blood pressure. Oolong tea is great for mental alertness and Green tea… well, this might be the biggest super food out there. People have claimed it has cancer prevention properties, but that might be accounted for by the fact it is an antioxidant., but it also lowers high cholesterol and helps with the old mental alertness. I really don’t like green tea. I don’t like the taste of it.
Then I looked into Tisanes. Well, first of all what is a tisane is any hot drink made of something not from a camellia bush. Yes, really. Tea is the only hot drink that comes from the camellia bush. Any other infusion is strictly a tisane. (My tea planter Uncle, a mild mannered man, was extremely vociferous on this topic). Herbally, we know that chamomile calms and peppermint is great for soothing stomach pain. But a Thyme tisane is great for coughs. And Ginger infusion is brilliant for nausea, dizziness and menstrual cramps.
I think, in this cold and snowy weather, hot drinks are a must. And if they do you good, then so much the better! Keep safe and warm!