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Tea Time - De File — LiveJournal
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Tea Time
Over the past few years I've learned to enjoy a post-prandial tea or two. If I intend to stay up late, but don't want to be as "on" as an evening coffee invariably makes me, I will have black tea or yerba maté. I like both with milk, no sugar. I'm not sure whether that makes my approach to those beverages "English," but it does wonders in preventing me from succumbing to horrific indigestion. This is why I even pour milk in my iced tea and therefore like only the sort that comes "pure," like the moderately priced Tejava, or the sort I make myself. More often than not, however, I'm reluctant to experience the sensation of being excessively amped when my body cries out for a slackening of its rough muscles.

This is why I've spent considerable energy seeking out caffeine-free teas that I actually like. There's the elusive Cranberry Cove, which remains my favorite Celestial Seasonings tea to drink straight. If I'm feeling congested or uneasy or, more commonly, both, I'll mix Tension Tamer from Celestial Seasonings with a health food store-bought ginger tea or I'll simply chop up some ginger and steep it along with the tea bags. If I feel the need for a little head rush to go along with my Entspannung, I might combine the Tension Tamer and ginger with either a ginseng tea or some powdered ginseng. The advantage to this latter "cocktail" is that, although it wires me for an hour or two, I can go to sleep at a reasonable time after it wears off, which is not always the case when I consume caffeinated beverages after sundown. Whether I go for two ingredients or three, I do not add milk to the mix, for reasons that should be obvious.

And then there are the days when I just want something warm to push me gently into the night. For several years I used the roibos or "red bush" tea sold by Trader Joe's for this purpose. Although this South African delicacy has a viscosity and complexity of taste similar to black tea and bonds beautifully with milk, it is free of stimulants and easy on the tummy. Unfortunately, though, our local TJ's stopped selling it about a year and a half ago, forcing me to look elsewhere for a substitute. I found some at Wild Oats, but it seemed to lack something. TJ's started stocking an orange-spice flavored roibos earlier this year, but it tastes too much like a chai blend and goes poorly with milk to boot. Peaberry's in Oakland was selling straight roibos in June, but I didn't want to waste any of the money I'd set aside for my favorite black teas, Ostfriesen and Black Currant, particularly the former, which I've never found a match for anywhere else.

I'm sure I could find a decent roibos in Tucson, whether at the 17th Street Market or the tea shop on 6th across from the Rincon Market or at one of the natural-food emporia. But I so rarely shop anywhere other than Trader Joe's, Wild Oats, or AJ's that I haven't managed to locate a source. So when I saw that TJ's had started selling a new caffeine-free tea from South Africa called "honeybush," I figured I'd give it a try. "Maybe," I thought, "it's actually roibos under a different name." It isn't, as I had already figured out before actually doing the spot of research that I just now undertook. It brews a redder tea, surprisingly, than roibos and tastes, not so surprisingly, more like honey. But it's really nice, though less likely to fill the void left by black tea than its South African counterpart. More importantly, before they are immersed in hot water, the bags, which come individually wrapped in plastic for some reason, smell exactly like the inside of a Cost Plus store on a rainy winter's day. And that, as anyone who has done holiday shopping there can attest, is a very fine thing indeed.

Mode: honeyed, dewing
Muse: The Winter Is Coming - Elf Power - The Winter Is Coming

5 comments or Leave a comment
kdotdammit From: kdotdammit Date: August 21st, 2005 05:44 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This is SO funny. I hope you were wearing a cute little white apron when you wrote it. Preferably one with a cute ruffle trim. Honeybush tea. Whoever woulda thought of that? Honeybush. HaHaHaHa.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: August 21st, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love roibos tea. Curiously enough, Jet and I have been drinking almost exclusively Honeybush Tea lately (between the two of us, we go through about 12 quarts of iced tea a day). We've been drinking Celestial Seasonings "Peach Apricot Honeybush", which is a fairly standard Honeybush but with the aforementioned Peach and Apricot thrown in, as well as vanilla bean and honeysuckle.

I'd have to say, though, since we drink such large amounts of tea in this house (having two seperate cupboards, as well as three metal tins, devoted to holding nothing but tea) that our favorite is just plain old unadorned green tea.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: August 21st, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
seeking out caffeine-free teas that I actually like

As a side note, once at a dinner party I served Bigelow Chamomile Mango tea (iced) and it went like *wild*. I ended up having to make 24 quarts of it throughout the evening and got asked the name of it by everyone, including people who made a point of saying "I don't usually like tea". It's very very good -- tasting, to me, not much like chamomile *nor* mango, but something just very good. You might want to check that out; it's caffeine-free.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 21st, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'll have to try that Bigelow. That's a lot of tea you guys are drinking: I'm impressed. The nice thing about roibos is that it goes so well with milk, which I favor.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: August 21st, 2005 11:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a lot of tea you guys are drinking:

Jet and I are mad crazy iced-tea fools. It will go down pretty dramatically once it's not so hot out -- and we're not as obsessed about hydration -- but then we'll pick up the pace of hot tea considerably. Jim, however, doesn't drink any tea at all. Bah to him!

It's the natural drink of choice in our house because a) I don't like sweet things very much at all and b) Jet is limited in the amount of Sweet Things (including fructose) he is allowed to have. That leaves tea or water, pretty much.

I'll be curious as to your opinion of the Chamomile Mango, as I was completely surprised that it went over so well; I never went through so many tea bags in one day in my life. I've never had it hot yet, so I cannot vouch for it's taste at that temperature (or with milk!).
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