I have always been a tea girl, and I don’t mean that sweet sticky stuff Southerners drink. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a native of the South, and I can’t imagine not having “sweet tea” as a part of our culture, but me, I’ll take unsweet green tea any day. Besides the antioxidants it has to offer, I love that it doesn’t have as much caffeine, and the flavor blends well with other enhancements like herbs, spices, and fruits.
With the onset of cooler weather, my daughter and I have been drinking hot tea in the evening. It has inspired me to try some new combinations of both herbal and green teas for my “good morning” cup and my “good evenin'” mug.
Some tips for brewing tea. . .
- I’ve read that to maximize the benefits of the antioxidants, do not bring the water to an active rolling boil. I typically take mine off the burner when the little bubbles start rising to the surface.
- Let the tea steep for at least 15 minutes–I promise, it IS worth the wait.
- If you prefer sweetened tea, try honey instead of sugar. Not only is it healthier, but it also adds a richer flavor. Also, I find that it works better to add sweetener when water is hot instead of waiting to add to cold tea.
- While I prefer loose leaf teas, I will admit that I buy the bagged teas for convenience. I do not skimp though on quality of tea leaves when I buy tea bags.
- Add other ingredients while the water is hot to maximize their flavor.
- If you like stronger tea, add two tea bags (or tablespoons) for every one mugful.
And now for the good stuff–a few of our favorite tea combinations! I make all of these with green tea, but I imagine they might be interesting with other teas as well. Each of these recipes are written for a full kettle of tea. I typically do not strain my tea after ingredients are added.
Growing Grace Farm Tea Blends:
Pineapple Ginger (good for digestion): 2 heaping tbsp honey, 1 circle slice of fresh pineapple with peeling cut off, 1 tsp of finely grated ginger
Ginger Lemon (excellent for a cold or flu–antibacterial and antiviral properties): 3 heaping tbsp of honey, juice of one lemon, 1 tsp of finely grated ginger
Warm Orange (nice reminder of cool autumn evenings): juice of one orange (and/or orange slices floating in it), 1 tsp cinnamon, dash of clove, honey optional
Soothing Mint (refreshing and relaxing): handful of fresh mint leaves or couple of tablespoons of dried mint leaves (we prefer spearmint), handful of dried chamomile flowers
Lemon Mint (a great alternative to lemonade): a couple of sprigs of fresh, not dried, lemon balm (a great perennial herb in the mint family), a couple of sprigs of fresh mint, 2 tbsp of honey
Citrus Splash (my favorite to drink while I’m workin’ out on the farm): slice 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 1 lime in rings and let steep in tea, honey optional but usually not needed
Ginger Fizz (special drink for special occasions): First, make tea: shredded ginger, juice of one lime mixed with kettle of green tea then let cool; fill a glass with crushed ice, add half can of ginger ale then fill rest of glass with tea, top with a slice of lime
Evenin’ Blend (for my sweet baby girl to help her relax): I do NOT use green tea or caffeinated blends with this one–I prefer a chamomile tea. Brew with a sprig of lavender, juice of half lemon, 2 tbsp honey
All of these teas chill well and are delicious on ice. As for me, however, I’m learning to appreciate the quiet time spent with my daughter, cuddling with LuLu and sippin’ a mug of tea.