Hi there! It's rainy in Houston today, so that means... it's hot tea weather! Seeing as tea is my beverage of choice, I don't need an excuse to drink hot tea. But, it doesn't hurt. 🙂 I have to share my love of tea with you, as I enjoy my Eric Bur English Breakfast from Paris. I wish I could say I went to Paris to get this tea, but I didn't. It was a gift from my globe-trotting sister. Thanks, sis!
Any reason to enjoy some of my overflowing tea supply is a good enough reason for me.
Have you seen my tea drawer? It used to also house kitchen towels but they got kicked out. Muahahaha! See you later, towels. Tea comes first.
When I'm craving tea, I usually reach for a strong black tea. Some of my favorites are:
- Organic Irish Breakfast from The Path of Tea
- Organic Scottish Breakfast from The Path of Tea
- Irish Breakfast from Trader Joe's
- English Breakfast from Eric Bur
- Darjeeling from Eric Bur
How do you take your tea?
Sometimes, I take mine with soy creamer from Trader Joe's. Most of the time, though, I drink it straight, with nothing added. When I'm drinking a really good tea, I prefer to enjoy the tea itself, unadulterated. Strong, smooth and rich. Occasionally, I will add a bit of sugar to certain teas, but it's a rare occurrence these days.
Straight from the Tea Master
I count it a privilege to have met and learned from the late Thia McKann, Texas' 1st Tea Master. Can we take a moment and comment on how cool that title is? Tea Master. The master of tea. It makes me want to bow. If one learns at the feet of a tea master, what does that make them? Tea Apprentice? Tea Padawan? Tea Obsessed? I'd answer to any of them.
Thia, along with her husband, Chris, founded The Path of Tea, Houston's only all-organic tea house. She hosted tea tastings and tea classes for many years and before she passed away in 2013, I'm so glad I got to attend some of them. I learned so much.
The importance of organic
Like fruits and vegetables, many tea farms use pesticides and herbicides to keep pests away. When you buy lettuce or squash, you can wash away a lot of the yuckiness. When you wash tea, you're drinking it. Yeah. Ick.
The proper way to steep your tea (so it's never bitter)
Ever plunk your tea diffuser or tea bag in your cup and walk off "for just a minute"? You get distracted and when you realize you have tea waiting, you run back to the kitchen, pull the tea bag out, taste your tea and bam! Bitter as gnawing on orange peel. Blech. So, here's the deal. Don't steep your tea too long. Most tea should only be steeped 3-4 minutes. If you need to, set your microwave timer, so you'll be alerted to when to pull your tea diffuser or tea bag out of the water.
What kind of water to use for the best tasting tea
Our bodies work best when we are alkaline. The more acidic our bodies get, the more disease crops up. So, it would stand to reason that we should drink alkaline water. If you want to go all out, you can install a water filtering system that turns your city water into pure, ph-balanced, alkaline H2O. You can also buy bottled alkaline water (look for water with a ph of 8 or more). A good brand to try is: Evamor Natural Alkaline Artesian Water. You can find Evamor water and other alkaline water brands at Whole Foods, HEB and Kroger.
Not only is alkaline water better for you, it makes for better, cleaner tasting tea. If you don't have any on hand, use whatever water you typically drink. They do recommend heating it up on the stove and not the microwave, so keep that in mind. You want to heat your water to almost boiling. Then, it's ready to pour into your tea cup or pot.
Vessels Fit for Tea
Speaking of tea cups, I have to tell you about the one that I use most often when I'm preparing tea for one. This little beauty is an Asian Style Tea Cup by ForLife, with a built in diffuser and resting plate.
I put a scoop of Irish Breakfast loose tea in the diffuser, then pour in my almost-boiling water, put the lid on and set my timer for 4 minutes. After four minutes, I take the little lid off, lift the diffuser out and rest it on the upside down lid (which has a genius little lip to keep the mess contained).
Smooth, rich, strong Irish Breakfast. The best way to start the day.
So, tell me, what are your tea tips? What is your favorite tea?