“Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was. ‘Is there any tea on this spaceship?’ he asked.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
When I was a kid growing up in the nineties, tea was not a big thing. If you drank it, or if your parents did, it was something relatively tame, like black tea with milk and sugar, or something herbal, like peppermint and chamomile.
The more time went by, the more flavors started popping up on the shelves. Nowadays, we’re inundated with choices: caffeinated or herbal? Savory or sweet? With milk or without?
It’s hard to know where to start, so we have a tendency to find our favorites and stick with them. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes trying something new can help us appreciate what we love that much more, or maybe it’ll introduce us to a new favorite.
Here’s a quick guide to start you off, including a few recipes to whet your appetite for incorporating even more tea into your day.
Though white tea comes from the same plant as black, green and oolong teas, it has a taste all its own, natural but without the grassy taste that green tea sometimes possesses, or the occasional bitterness of black tea.
Of those teas, it has the most antioxidants, and it’s also good for keeping dental plaque in cheque, as well as boosting your immune system!
Peach Mango White Iced Tea
White Tea & Ginseng Smoothie
Oolong tea is not a specialty of mine, but I’ve heard it combines the flavors of black and green teas.
It has a myriad of health benefits, including powerful antioxidants, better skin (eczema sufferers can benefit greatly from a few cups a day!), stress management, and healthier bones. Unfortunately, it also has a high caffeine content, like many teas, so it’s important to keep this in mind when incorporating it into your day.
We’re drooling over:
Oolong Donuts with a Milk Tea Glaze
Creamy Oolong Chai Iced Tea
Green tea is one of my everyday favorites. I also crack up when my mum sneaks a sip and declares that it tastes like grass clippings. It’s a taste that either grows on you or doesn’t.
There’s a couple of tricks you can employ to make it more palatable:
(1) add a bit of lemon, which also allows some of the good stuff in green tea to be more easily absorbed by your body, amping up the health benefits
(2) pour a wee bit of cold water over the leaves, whether they’re loose or in a bag, before pouring the hot water in – it keeps the water from “burning” the leaves and drastically changes the flavor
You can also try a Chinese-style green tea, they tend to be mellower and sweeter, as opposed to the Japanese-style green tea. It’s well worth the effort, because green tea helps fight heart disease, improve blood flow and stabilize blood sugar – and, once again, it’s an antioxidant powerhouse. (Tea is starting to sound pretty good, huh?)
Soft Batch Green Tea Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bonus round for the ambitious twenty-something: Matcha Goma Mousse Cake (Green Tea-Black Sesame Mousse Cake)
One of my favorite things about rooibos tea is how scrumptious it tastes when you combine it with other flavours, and companies like David’s Tea have taken full advantage of this.
It’s naturally caffeine-free and boasts a ton of minerals, such as magnesium, iron and calcium; it has less tannins so your body can absorb the iron better; helps relax you; and soothes upset stomach conditions, including, for those of you with babies, colic!
It can even help reduce seasonal allergies, particularly if you get the unfermented rooibos, which is a great boon for those of us who dread the annual onslaught.
I grew up drinking black tea with milk and sugar (which I later discovered nullified some of the health benefits, but it sure tasted good, and made it easier on my stomach, too), so it still holds a special place in my heart, especially blends like Earl Grey.
It can be a bit harsh, so I would avoid having it on empty stomach, if you can, and it’s worth trying different kinds to see which you like best. There are countless varieties out there nowadays, you’re nearly guaranteed to find one that suits you!
When you do, you can reap the rewards of a better immune system, higher energy levels, stronger bones, and the possibility of a lower risk for ovarian cancer.