I have been drinking green tea for some time to obtain its purported health benefits. I cannot say to what extent I am in better shape, but I have certainly come to enjoy both the taste and the ritual – and I have gotten fond of munching the leaves lying in the bottom of my cup. Does anyone have an opinion as to whether this is a good thing (extractives, fiber, etc.)?
With all the new awareness of trying to get back to purity in foods and going organic we also think about our water and what chemicals are put into it to make it safe to drink. Many of you have purifying systems to take out some of these chemicals. That is one way of getting rid of chemicals we deem harmful to ourselves and our children. One very important natural chemical that occurs in tea leaves is fluoride. Black tea carries the most fluoride but all tea has this most important content for our bones and teeth. For further information read Dr. Jane Higdon’s research on fluoride at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
This recipe is great for a summer day, and as a starting place for additional creativity.
1/2 pint strong Darjeeling Tea
6 ounces sugar
1/2 pint orange juice
4 TBS lemon juice
1 large bottle lemonade
2 small bottles ginger ale
1 orange, sliced
Put the tea in a bowl; add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the orange juice and lemon juice and strain. Chill. Just before serving, mix in the ginger ale lemonade and orange slices.
Courtesy; The Darjeeling Planters Association
You may have heard that the tea bag was an accidental discovery. The story goes that in the earlier part of the last century Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant, sent out samples in hand sewn silk pouches. His customers actually brewed the tea in those and demanded more. He was shipping loose leaf tea, and had that been the end of the story, we would not have had the great advantage of being able to dunk tea bags containing fannings in tepid water, and having that considered to be what tea is. Okay, maybe I am being just a little harsh. After all tea bags are used all over the US and Europe, even in Afternoon Teas. And you can get some nice teas and flavored teas in them, and they certainly are convenient.
My gripe is that like so many other things, we have traded convenience and speed for quality and taste. When I say quality, I am not referring only to the taste of the tea, but to the quality of the experience of tea as well. The process of making a good pot of tea, serving it, and drinking it is not a complicated process, but it does take a little time. Time which can allow us to slow down a little, and actually enjoy tea and the process. After all multi tasking is not absolutely essential to our existence.
Next time you want to ‘enjoy’ your tea, heat the water to the proper temperature, (and not in a microwave, that is cheating), measure out the amount of tea that should be in your cup or pot, give the leave the proper time in the water, and after you pour your first cup, let it cool slightly so that you can really sense the aromas and taste that is in that wonderful leaf that you bought.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This has become an important holiday for many. If you don’t think so, just skip getting your significant other a gift or card and see what happens. I did this one year, thinking we could save a little money at the time, and I get reminded of my lapse of good judgment on a regular basis!
Consider tea as the replacement for flowers and chocolates as the quasi official gift for Valentines. Think about it for a moment. Flowers are beautiful, but they sit on a counter and die after a few days. Chocolate is great, but it gets hoarded by the recipient (at least in our house!) Tea however offers several distinct advantages.
First of all, it is economical, so you can give without breaking the bank. (Yes I know my ‘thriftiness’ shows up again!) It lasts for months, so is a reminder of your thoughtfulness and generosity. Many of the teas are visually attractive, especially those with flowers in them. But most importantly, tea is meant to be enjoyed and shared with others. If done right, we slow down a moment, and spend time with each other while waiting for the tea to infuse, then while drinking we converse and enjoy one another’s company. What better gift for Valentine’s Day than one that will allow us to spend time with those that are special!
So next time you get to vote on this (or act) consider a gift that is really special, your time over a special tea that you chose!