Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrating Hot Tea Month

January is Hot Tea Month, and that got me to thinking that I have always loved tea, in fact it was why I started to grow herbs, because I love tea flavored with herbs.  Now Herb Tea is technically not tea at all, but rather an tisane made by steeping herbs, but since we drink it much the same way, I will group it together with regular tea which can include white, green or black all of which come from the plant Camellia sinensis.

As a purveyor of herbal and herb-infused green and black teas, I have some tips to offer for enjoying tea, both for those who have drunk tea for years, and those who are just beginning to enjoy its nuances:

Ways to Celebrate Hot Tea Month

 1. Try a new type of tea. There are many variations beyond traditional black or green tea, including caffeine-free herbal blends (tisanes) or rooibos from South Africa.

2. Buy loose tea instead of bags. Loose tea creates a bolder, fuller flavor because it doesn't constrict the leaves like bags do.  I also heard that many tea bags these days are made of plastics, not cotton.

3. Learn how to brew the best tea. It’s not hard, but there are variations in time, temperature, and brewing equipment that can make a big difference in the quality of tea. (I did a blog on this in January 2013)

4. Understand how to store tea. Use opaque food-safe containers with a sealed lid to avoid exposure to light, heat, moisture, and air. (No glass containers) Here are some details from a previous blog.

5. Experiment with tea in other drinks, such as lattes, cider, cocoa or as Chai.  Tea can also be used as an ingredient in recipes from desserts to main dishes.

6. Host a tea tasting with friends. Try several different flavors and compare notes. Or hold an actual tea and serve scones and treats with your tea selections.

7. Put brewed tea leaves to good use. Sprinkle them on plants, add to a compost pile or cook with them!

Most people have heard that drinking tea (particularly green tea) is good for you, but they don’t do it because they have memories of less-than-pleasant tea experiences. However, once someone begins to explore all of the options out there, one can find what works for them in flavor, richness and strength.

I recommend you take advantage of suggestion number one and try a new tea.  You can find all our teas on the website.  The Backyard Patch offers caffeine-free herbal teas, herb flavored black teas and herb blended green teas, as well as Chai blends  that combine tea, herbs and spices.

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