My family are shameless tea fanatics. My sister once told me how shocked she was to discover that her friends did not have an entire cupboard dedicated to tea at home. ‘What do you mean you don’t have a selection of forty different types of tea?’ she asked wide-eyed. Perhaps it is strange that my family have such a partiality to tea as we are not from England. Tea drinking is often considered quintessentially British – in fact according to the ‘UK Tea & Infusions Association’, the British consume 165 million cups of tea daily. What can I say? Tea is just so tan-tea-lisingly good!
I have never been a typical teenager – the type who regularly goes out to parties, getting drunk (or whatever those raucous youths do nowadays). My only pot addiction was a teapot addiction. Perhaps I should have been called a tea-nager – the slightly awkward type of adolescent who prefers to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. I, however, preferred to see myself as a hipster – I drank tea before it was cool (I did burn my tongue though).
I have always found tea very relaxing and comforting. There is surely no problem that tea cannot solve. I am reminded, here, of Sheldon Cooper from ‘Big Bang Theory’ – ‘social protocol states that when a friend is upset you offer them a hot beverage’. Tea is not only soothing, it also has a range of health benefits. It is well known that green tea is full of detoxifying anti-oxidants. However, many other types of tea can also boost your overall health and well-being. Ginger tea and chamomile tea, for example, are believed to have potent anti-inflammatory effects.
I would like to share with you some of my all-time favourite brews:
- Yogi Tea – Liquorice
I know what you’re thinking – ‘I hate liquorice!’ However, this tea doesn’t taste remotely like that horrible black, chewy stuff you find in liquorice allsorts. When used in tea, liquorice root just makes the drink taste sweet. In this way you can satisfy your sweet tooth without going on a sugar binge. This tea also contains ginger, orange peel, cinnamon and other ‘Oriental spices’ which blend together perfectly. I also love the inspirational messages that come with each Yogi tea bag. Every time I get a new tea bag, I always get that same strange sense of anticipation as when you open a Chinese fortune cookie. I should warn you, though, that Yogi teas can be quite expensive – I only drink this tea as a special treat.
Peppermint tea is a tea-riffic (sorry, I’ll stop) choice, if you want to enjoy tea regularly whilst on a student budget – you can buy a box of peppermint tea at Sainsburys for just 75p. According to ‘health line’ peppermint tea is one of the most popular teas world-wide and, in my opinion, there is good reason for this. Peppermint tea has a refreshing taste and an enticing aroma. Also, peppermint tea does not contain caffeine, so it is not dehydrating. This makes it a good alternative to water, if you prefer something with a little flavour.
- Classic cuppa
Nothing beats a cup of English breakfast tea in the morning! I always start my day with this classic British brew. My relatives abroad always gasp in disapproval when they hear that I drink tea with milk (‘with MILK??’), but in fact they are the ones missing out.
I should be clear that there are very specific guidelines for making this tea. Somebody once informed me (in a stern tone) that English breakfast tea should be the colour of peanut butter. Indeed, a white, milky brew is a traves-tea (Ok, I really will stop). There has also been wide-spread discussion about whether you should pour in the milk before or afterwards (Afterwards is obviously better!). The heated discussions that English breakfast tea generates is an indication of just how loved this tea is.
There is actually a long-standing joke in my family about English breakfast tea. One morning my dad walked into a café and asked for a cup of tea. The waitress said, ‘English breakfast?’ and my dad replied, ‘No thank you, just a cup of tea please.’
- Feeling adventurous? – Try quince tea
This tea is slightly unusual in the UK, but you should be able to find it in health stores. I got this tea as a present from my Grandma last year and it is now one of my favourite teas. If you manage to find this tea, you will be rewarded with its warm, aromatic flavours.
These are just some of the amazing teas out there. I hope this list will inspire some of you to turn over a new (tea) leaf this year and try out some funky brews for yourself. If, however, you are steadfast that tea is not your… cuppa tea, then at least you can still enjoy some of these jokes I found about tea (Yes, people have devoted their precious time to making jokes about tea):
How does Moses make his tea?
How long does it take to ship tea from China?
Why do communists only drink herbal tea?
Because proper-TEA is theft