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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Evening Teas

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I love the evening! Once Kat is off to bed, I adventure around the kitchen, chatting with my friends. Sometimes the soup pot will have a new joke to tell, or the kettle will start spouting folksongs. Kitchenware can get quite rowdy past midnight! But dearies, I don’t need to sleep like you all do. After dinner, Kat enjoys a warm, soothing cup of tea but she doesn’t want any caffeine to keep her awake at bedtime.

The days are starting to get a little bit shorter, and nights are a little bit chillier. It’s the perfect time to talk about teas to drink in the evening. Kat is always looking for new ways to create a tranquil nighttime routine and there are many teas that can enhance the setting.

Do you drink rooibos? Rooibos is always a good choice after dinner. It’s not actually a tea, but an herb made from the leaves of the rooibos bush found in South Africa. It’s often referred to as Red Tea or African Red Tea. It’s pronounced ‘roy-boss’, which is not easy to tell just by looking at the name! I’ve had to correct many of Kat’s friends. The flavor of rooibos is quite unique. It is naturally sweet with a honey-like flavor, a bit nutty and spicy. Kat often thinks it has a bit of a vanilla flavor as well. If you are looking for a decaffeinated alternative to tea, you should give it a try. It is a smooth, calming brew.

Kat enjoys this Fresh & Easy organic rooibos herbal tea on many quiet, chilly evenings. She actually discovered it after a yoga class. Her yoga studio often has invigorating herbal teas to enjoy after practice. She will often breeze past them but when she noticed rooibos, she stopped to have a sip. She hadn’t tried it before and had no idea what it was! She was surprised at the flavor. It was unlike any other herbal tea she’d ever tried. It has a strong flavor that is similar to black tea, but also quite different with the honey and spice notes. She also appreciates the individually wrapped teabags as she can take them to work, or on long plane flights when she needs a little extra help to relax.

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There are many herbal teas are perfect in the evening. Chamomile is a classic choice. The sweet, floral flavor is instantly relaxing. It is sweet enough alone, or takes to a bit of sweetener nicely. The flavor is gentle and calm and the aroma will fill your room with the scent of fresh flowers. Peppermint tea is also a popular choice among Kat and her friends after dinner. Kat often serves it at dinner parties in little glass cups along with a few springs of fresh mint. She loves how the glass cups enhance the vibrant color. It’s refreshing after a heavy meal, yet peppy enough in flavor to stimulate a lively after-dinner conversation.

Ginger tea is also lovely after a meal. Kat simply grates a teaspoon or two of fresh ginger into my cup, depending on how spicy she wants her tea. Then she simply pours some boiling water over it. You can let it steep as long as you like. If you don’t like the idea of drinking pieces of floating ginger, simply put the grated ginger in a strainer or paper tea filter. I personally enjoy the little bits as they float and tickle the sides of my cup! Kat agrees, and likes to munch on the little ginger bits. Feel free to add some sweetener as it can be spicy. But it’s the perfect way to take a deep breath, relax, and digest after a meal.

Just thinking about these teas makes me want to grab a blanket, a good book, and sit by a crackly fire. What do you drink when you’re trying to wind-down in the evening?