Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ahhh! Tea

There's nothing like a nice cup of warm tea on a cold day. I have been a tea drinker from the get-go because for some reason, I could never tolerate coffee and it's not the caffeine. I used to drink regular teas and my husband called me a tea connoisseur. I loved Earl Grey and a good Darjeeling. But in my 30s I decided to give up caffeine entirely for no special reason and switched to herbal teas. Now I search the stores and the Internet for different herbal concoctions. In the early years it was difficult to get herbal tea whenever we dined out, but now almost everyone has something. When we travelled in Germany and Italy in the 80s, all the waiters thought I was sick because I would ask for chamomile tea after dinner (my all-time favorite) and they had the custom of drinking chamomile when they were not feeling well.

One great place to purchase both tea and coffee turned out to be right around the corner from my sister's house in Connecticut. In fact, she is the one who introduced me to the teas of Simpson & Vail. For years, she sent me a selection of their teas for Christmas or my birthday but this year, I couldn't resist and I purchased my own, shamelessly, just weeks before my birthday. Well, they were offering free shipping from their website and I have been wanting new mugs for quite awhile. I only had one with an infuser and lid which I kept using and washing over and over all day long. Anyway, that's my excuse.

As you can see, I purchased four new mugs with infusers and lids. The blue bone china mug from England, where they know a thing or two about making a good cup of tea, in the front is turning out to be my favorite with the glass mug a close second. The white mug is extra large for when you know you are going to want two cups of tea and the other blue mug has a nice saucer included and a very comfortable handle. There is a problem with the glass and blue pottery infusers in that the holes are too large for herbal teas and bits of tea end up getting through. The china and white mugs have metal mesh infusers which work much better. But I have always loved the idea of tea in a glass container and already own three glass teapots, two purchased on vacations in Scandinavia.

To go with these new mugs, I bought several teas some of which I have had before and some which are new. For that glass mug, I bought Moonlight in the Garden because of its blue color. The mix contains alfalfa leaves, malva flowers, cornflowers, and flavors, one of which is blueberry, 'natch. And it stays blue even after steeping.

Another new tea blend I am trying is Papamint, a combination of papaya leaves and peppermint for good digestion, although I generally do not drink teas for medicinal purposes, only for taste and pleasure. One that I have tried before is Moonlight Snooze which is wonderfully relaxing. The other two teas I bought were Lavender Lace, with lavender, cinnamon, and rosemary, and of course, organic chamomile.


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  2. Lovely tea cups. Drinking tea out of bone china really makes any cup special, doesn't it?

    My favorite online tea purveyor is Upton Tea. They are out of western Massachusetts.