Q: I loved your post last week on ways to prepare coffee in the AM, but what about tea toward the end of the day? Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by all the factors - tea bags, tea leaves, how long to steep, how hot should my water be - but I'd like to get in the habit of drinking tea daily. What guidance can you give?
A: While we love our morning coffee boost, nothing beats curling up at home with a warm cup of tea. It's hydrating, full of nutrients and antioxidants, and can leave you feeling calm and focused. Try to drink organic decaffeinated tea when possible.
Many cultures around the world have ritualized the tea making and drinking process for centuries. The famed Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh describes tea drinking as a means to ground yourself and to speak calmly to others: "Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."
Steeping Guide for Loose Leeves
We found this super simple guide to determine how hot your water should be and how long you should steep depending on the kind of tea you drink and how strong you'd like it to be. Simply pour your boiling water into a mug then place the steeping vessel on top. Ceramic is best, followed by glass, then metal. Pour tea leaves into vessel and allow the tea to steep for as long as the guide below suggests.
Matcha Green Tea
We are huge fans of matcha, the oldest kind of green tea harvested in Japan. It's even been referred to as "the healthy espresso of green tea," and is being sold more often in cafes these days. Green tea is brimming with antioxidants, chlorophyll, amino acids, and other nutrients and vitamins. It provides sustained and focused energy, enables weight loss, and offers a natural detox.
Panatea Green makes a gorgeous tea brewing kit ($67), so you can make ceremonial grade green tea at home. They also offer dozens of recipes that incorporate matcha green tea into all kinds of yummy, festively green treats. We can't wait to try the matcha lemonade popsicle once it warms up!
If you're looking for a brand of teas to rely on, we suggest the delicious, Martha Stewart-approved line of teas called Bellocq. Their tea atelier is nestled in a quiet corner of Brooklyn, NY, and there, you can taste, smell, and admire their teas that come from around the world. Their teas transport you to the meditative place that Thich Nhat Hanh encourages you to go. They even offer an "Ultimate Year of Tea" box ($198), which contains 12 months of their finest artisan blends in their beautiful yellow boxes. Each package includes a handwritten note and metal strainer.