Tea Time (and brewing and blending the perfect tea)

Tea has been a long standing tradition in every culture around the world.  Many times the teas were medicinal, other times sacred.  Mostly shared in moments of friendship or sometimes as a break from the day.  From Japanese tea ceremonies to 4:00 tea time, tea is a lovely custom.

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Despite my family being on American soil for three to four hundred years now, our European DNA hasn’t altered much.  For me, 4:00 and 8:00 are automatically timed within me to make a spot of tea.  Sharing tea is wonderful if I have someone over.  My mother always drinks tea in lovely tea cups throughout the day.  I do as well.  My daughters followed suit.  The cup is important.  Drinks taste different in varying cups and always taste better shared.

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This is my new tea set.  I love Japanese gardens and I adore ponds of koi.  This sweet set reminds me of our travels to gardens and it reminds me to take a moment to breathe.  In this set, you put the loose tea in the pot, let steep, then pour through the strainer into the pitcher and serve in tiny cups.  This tea pot calls for Genmaicha tea.  It is a fragrant green tea with toasted rice.

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I was given my first tea set when I was ten years old for Christmas from my Grandma and Grandpa.  A miniature tea set with espresso-sized cups with pink rose buds.  I had a Tuesday Tea Party where I was allowed to invite a friend over and my mother made us tea with real sugar cubes and small snacks.

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One of my favorite teas is a good black tea like Earl Grey or Assam, with agave and cream.  Or maybe brewed with honey and orange peel instead.

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Use 1 teaspoon of loose tea per cup of near boiling water and steep for 4 minutes.  You can use dried herbs like mint, roses, or yarrow.  I grow my own jasmine as a houseplant and it is lovely as tea.  Combine herbs and teas and enjoy to your heart’s content.  Tea is low in caffeine, filled with antioxidants and health benefits, and is good for the spirit.  It makes you slow down, breathe, and take a moment to be present.

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One’s Daily Tea

JpegCould a simple cup of tea help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?  Can a simple cup of tea act as medicine?

I drink four cups of tea with herbs in it daily.  Each batch is slightly different.  I will make a month’s worth of tea at a time.  This month’s tea is made up of many herbs that help with the lymphatic system, essentially boosting immunity since I work in a busy apothecary with lots of folks with colds!  I also added plenty of herbs for circulatory and heart health.  A bit of wild yam for progesterone.  And some chai tea to make it all taste amazing (which is also for the circulatory system).

I love this thermos I got from Teavana.  It has the tea strainer built into the top.  I can also easily add ginger, or orange, and honey to my mixture.  I drink more fluids if I have it with me.  Here are some additions to your daily tea, green or black, that will help you achieve your physical goals.

If you want to increase focus and memory so you can get organized– Add 1 part rosemary and/or sage to 3 parts loose black or green tea.

If you want to lose weight– Dry your citrus peels in a paper bag for three weeks then store in a sealed container or freezer bag. Or just purchase dried orange peel.  1 part citrus peels to 3 parts green tea with a little cinnamon added will help metabolism and detoxing.

If you want to help your heart and circulatory system be stronger– Add 1/2 part each; ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom to 3 parts black tea like earl grey or even chai.

To decrease inflammation and boost immunity- Add one part basil to 1/4 part turmeric and 1/8 part pepper to green tea.

If you want to find more inner peace and calm– Combine 1 part each chamomile and lemon balm with 1/2 part roses and lavender with 3 parts Earl Grey.  Delightful.

Simple kitchen herbs and teas can be powerful, safe, and delicious medicine!