I’m a tea freak, much to my dental hygienist’s chagrin. She says it stains my teeth. But I figure that’s what god gave us whitening strips for, right?
Because I’m sensitive to caffeine, I buy mostly decaf, although I drink regular iced tea in restaurants. I also steep most flavored and herbal teas with an equal amount of decaf green tea. Green tea provides high levels of the phytochemical EGCG, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. While decaf green tea provides lower levels of EGCG than regular green tea, according to an MSNBC report, “Other studies show that markers of DNA damage decrease after drinking even black tea or decaf green tea.”
I didn’t realize how many tea flavors I had until I inventoried my cupboard for this blog. Here’s what I found, by brand:
Celestial Seasonings: Peppermint, Country Peach Passion, Wild Berry Zinger, Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride, Candy Cane Lane, Green Tea (I buy it in bulk and keep in a glass jar).
Trader Joe’s: Chamomile, Pomegranate White Tea, Irish Breakfast, Bedtime Tea (a mixture of peppermint and chamomile), Raspberry Infusion, Blackberry Infusion.
Tazo: Wild Sweet Orange
Bigelow: Earl Grey
London Fruit & Herb Company: Strawberry & Vanilla Fool
I bought the Tazo Wild Sweet Orange after spending copious amounts of money buying it by the (venti) cup at Starbucks. It’s strong, very strong, and works well iced. So do many of the teas in my cupboard, particularly the fruit kind. I steep four bags of flavored tea with four bags of green tea in eight cups of boiling water for 10-20 minutes (sometimes longer), remove the bags, allow to cool and then put it in a glass container in the refrigerator.
My latest tea find, ala Starbucks, is Vanilla Rooibos Latte. I was a little skeptical about a tea latte since I’m not a fan of milk in tea. Seems like heresy. Here’s the description from the S’bux website: “Full leaf African rooibos tea (naturally caffeine free), also known as red tea, paired with Tahitian vanilla and cinnamon. Sweetened with classic syrup and topped with steamed milk and velvety foam.”
The lady at S’bux never steers me wrong (she turned me on to the shamefully good cinnamon dolce latte and wild sweet orange tea), so I bought a tall rooibos (she pronounced it “roy bows”) to go. I wish, however, that I’d sat down and drank it like a sane person rather than take it on my hour-long drive from P’burgh to home.
There are no cup holders in the Jeep, so I tucked the cup precariously between my purse and a bag of Old Navy t-shirts. After 10 minutes, I was far enough out of the city and away from most of the traffic that I could put the Jeep in cruise and carefully lift the lid on the tea. Of course being S’bux, the tea was still a million degrees, but I wanted to get the tea bag out. With one eye on the road and the other on the cup, I yanked out the tea bag and threw it on the floor. Let’s just say there’re still remnants of “velvety foam” on the gears, seats and floor.
But it was worth the struggle and the wait for it to cool down. The vanilla is not overpowering and the milk simply adds texture, not flavor, which is good since I hate the taste of skim milk. A tall, non-fat latte is 2 WW Points and has 120 calories, no fat, 24 grams of carbs (a little high, I assume because of the syrup), 75 mgs sodium, and 20 percent RDA of calcium. It’s not an everyday treat, but that’s what makes it so special.
So let me have it, folks. What are your favorite teas? Some of you may suggest I try loose-leaf teas, and I plan to as soon as I find a good tea shop. (Any online suggestions since I live in Podunkville?) Also, how do you “take” your tea? I sweeten mine with stevia or take it straight up, but am I missing something by not adding milk or cream to certain teas?
I’m off to finish my cup of Earl Grey. I was in a bitter mood today. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I’m in a splendid mood, but I was in the mood for a bitter tea this morning, thus the Earl Grey. Hot. Just like Captain Picard.