Tropical Teas For Winter

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As we head in to the chilliest and darkest of the winter days, Kat is trying to keep things warm and cheerful.  I’ve suggested ways to get cozy with tea in previous posts, and we’re always thinking up ways to get creative. Recently I overheard Kat’s friend Stacie talking about her trip to Hawaii, where she had the most delicious tropical fruits. I started dreaming about a tropical beach paradise, and then it hit me- why not bring the tropical flavors to the teacup, and create a warm and cheerful atmosphere?

I started thinking about Kat’s favorite warm-weather fruits such as mango, papaya, and pineapple. These are flavors that can be found in many tea blends to bring a feel of island breezes to a freezing cold day. I started rounding up tea pairings such as a papaya herbal tea to pair with coconut macaroons, and pineapple green tea with toasts spread with mango chutney. So many possibilities! Kat even downloaded a tropical playlist filled with Caribbean and Hawaiian music.

Dried tropical fruits are easy to find, and you can blend them up and steep in boiling water for a delightful treat. We also love adding ginger for a bit of a zing. You can add these flavors to your favorite green or black tea as well, for an extra boost of tea. Right now we’re adding a few pieces of dried papaya to a bag of green tea and a little knob of ginger. Steep for about 8 minutes and add a dash of honey. That sunshine will be beaming on your face in no time at all!

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I’ve been helping Kat brew up some of her own tropical blends, and have also found a few of our old favorites that contain her favorite beachy flavors. Right now a box of HEB Mango Black tea is in our heaviest rotation. Kat picks up a box of this tea every time she visits family in Texas. She always makes a trip to the store to stock up! Kat likes to describe this tea as ‘Juicy mango deliciousness’. It’s a wonderful combination of malty black tea and sweet mango. A few sips of this tea and you’ll imagine the snow melting away. We keep this tea on hand all year long for iced sips in the summer and images of fresh tropical flowers in the winter.

Dearies, what are your tea tricks to keep the nasty winter chills at bay? Do you have your own tropical blends that you whip up? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

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Matcha Donuts!

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Dearies, as you know matcha is everywhere these days. You can enjoy it straight up, as a latte, or in a myriad of foods. Kat has brought home everything from matcha cream puffs, to matcha green-tea noodles. We’ve been putting it in our bath products, and you may remember I created a matcha face mask that’s perfect for an at-home spa night. It seems that everywhere you turn you’ll find a new use for matcha!

 Kat recently brought home a surprising matcha-product. A matcha donut! This donut in particular was quite special. A chocolate cake donut with a luscious matcha glaze. What a way to enjoy our favorite tea!

 It seems like many donut shops are jumping on the matcha bandwagon. Kat said some of her friends around the country have found matcha donuts too! This is definitely a trend that I can happily support. More matcha for everyone. Our local shop keeps this donut feeling special. They only make them on Saturdays! This causes the lines to be a bit long on Saturday mornings, but well worth the wait. If you have a donut shop or two in your town, ask if they make any with matcha! If you can find one, you’ll be glad you did.

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I was thinking that it would be such fun to matcha donuts from scratch, but Kat said she doesn’t have time for something so labor intensive. But what about a quick matcha glaze to add to your store bought donuts? Make a matcha glaze with three simple ingredients: powdered sugar, matcha, and water! A quick search can come up with lots of recipes, but I do like this one best. You can put it on your donuts, cakes, well just about anything!!

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So, what tea to pair with your matcha donut? I’d suggest a refreshing green tea. In fact, we’ve been pairing out donuts with Private Selection Citrus Green. I’ve paired this tea with sweets before as it’s a lovely combination of delicately vegetal green tea and tangy orange. The green tea compliments the matcha, and the orange cuts through the heavy donut and even accentuates the chocolate notes in the confection. Kat keeps this tea on hand to drink all year round. It’s thirst quenching in the summer, and a relaxing warm cup for early afternoon sips in the chillier weather. This tea is definitely one of our staples!

 Dearies, tasting this chocolate matcha donut has given me new found inspiration for matcha and chocolate recipes! Stay tuned as I’m going to start brainstorming and recipe testing! Kat always loves being my official taste tester. If you’ve come across any matcha donut varieties, do feel free to share them with me! Oh, the possibilities!

Teas To Cure The Winter Blues

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It’s the time of year where everything is cloudy, grey, and sunny days are few and far between. Dearies, I have the time to hang around the kitchen window and soak up the precious few rays of sunlight that drift in. But for most of you busy folks out there, it’s hard to find a cure for those winter blues. Well, leave it to me, I have thought up a helpful remedy! Fragrant teas sure to give you the feeling of warm sunshine with each sip. Surrounding yourself with beautiful tea will do wonders for your mood. Here are a few types to keep an eye out for:

Lemon and Ginger- These two ingredients bring sunshine and tropics. It’s sure to immediately lift your mood. Simply grate a teaspoon of ginger in a cup, squeeze in a large wedge of lemon and pour in the hot water. Steep at least 5 minutes before enjoying. The smell alone with bring you a jolt of happiness. One of Kat’s friends grew up in Trinidad, and she said they served ginger tea for every occasion. Just a sip can bring her back to the deep blue sea and bright sunshine. Kat often adds a dash of honey to the cup, to round out the flavors.

Peppermint- I like steeping up some fresh peppermint if Kat can find it, but bagged mint tea will do nicely as well. The fresh herbal flavor will evoke images of lush herb gardens in the summertime. Just inhale that wonderful minty flavor and remember that spring isn’t too far away.

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Fruity blends- Choose blends with fruit flavors and aromas. Anything with berries, and/or fruit work nicely. In the winter Kat often reaches for Private Selection Acai, pomegranate, and blueberry green tea. Her mother enjoys sending her tea care packages from time to time, and this tea from Kroger came in her last shipment. As soon as the hot water hit this tea, the aroma uplifts her mood. The sweet, fruity pomegranate and blueberry flavor bring an inner sunshine to the day. The flavor is strong and juicy, so Kat doesn’t normally take any sweetener, but a touch of honey would also be lovely. This would be a fantastic refreshing iced tea as well! The flavor evokes picnics in a sunny meadow where wild berries grow.

These are just a few ideas to melt away those winter blues. Do you have any of your own winter go-to teas? I’d love to give Kat even more ideas!

Why I Buy Tea From The Grocery Store

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Kat loves her tea. She’s also on a budget. So as much as she enjoys ordering the occasional loose leaf tea from a boutique tea retailer, when it comes to her every day tea, she picks up her supply from the grocery store. If you haven’t looked at the variety of teas available lately, you’ll be amazed and delighted at the selection.

First, there are the cherished brands that many people know and love, like Bigelow, Celestial Seasons, Republic of Tea, and even Lipton. But then there are the store brands that have made quite an impression on both Kat and me. The more we try, the more we love them. And her pocketbook loves them as well!

When she runs to a Kroger store, the Private Selection Teas are a favorite. The Acai, Pomegranate and Blueberry Green Tea is a staple in our home. While many fruit blend teas can be overly sweet, this is a subtle, beautiful blend that is absolutely heavenly!

A trip to Target always results in a stocking up of Simply Balanced Organic Black Tea Breakfast Blend and Organic White Tea Peach Honey. Kat can’t seem to ever get enough of these. Hot or iced, they are a crowd pleaser.

What she loves about so many of these store branded teas is that they are affordable, easily accessible, and they taste so good! No matter where she is, she can find good tea very easily. The best part? Each tea bag comes in its own airtight envelope that she can slip in her purse or my carrying case. No muss. No fuss.

Char felt this way, and I know Kat does, too: Tea is one of the greatest luxuries, and its universal appeal is that it’s so accessible.  and that is as it should be! The teas available on our grocery store shelves are a lovely, affordable luxury. My question to you? What grocery store tea is your favorite?