Tea Time!

A few weeks ago, on Facebook, I took a test to determine in what city I should actually live.  I was directed through a series of questions, some involving which Beyonce (?!) or alcoholic beverage I prefer, and eventually told that London would be my perfect home.

The final blurb said, "Let’s be honest, you probably look pretty good in a Burberry trench coat. You’re the type of person who loves city life, but without all the hype. Your ideal day consists of the Tate Modern, a pleasant evening at a nice restaurant, and a hot cup of tea before bed."  Beyond the Burberry trench, it was surprisingly accurate.  This got me thinking--not of moving to exciting London--but rather, I Do love a nice cup of tea before bed!  (and first thing in the morning... and sometimes after dinner when I'm a little hungry for, like, a snack, but not really hungry... and sometimes chilled and on the go...)  I had never really taken the time to evaluate just how much tea I drink and just how much I LOVE tea.

This, in turn, got me thinking of YOU.  Do you also know the joys and splendor of drinking tea?!  Do you know how it can instantly provide relaxation or be the catalyst for an essay-grading marathon?  About five years ago, as what comes closest for me to a New Year's Resolution, I decided I would begin each day with a cup of Matcha green tea.  I liked the idea of beefing up my morning routine, and as someone who doesn't drink coffee, I determined that incorporating antioxidants, other green tea health benefits, and some caffeine into my day would be a great move.  

Matcha is a powdered green tea in bright green color.  Historically, this tea has been a Japanese ceremonial tea.  It contains approximately three times the antioxidants of other green teas (so, like drinking three cups of other green tea), likely because this tea is comprised of the whole ground up tea leaf.  As a result, it provides a higher level of catechins, chlorophyll, as well as antioxidants.  It is pretty expensive, as far as teas go, but I love it so much that I've made it work in our new budget.

Source: Amazon.com
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Update: The Richmond Times Dispatch recently wrote this piece about the rise in matcha tea popularity in the US, an interview with a tea blender in Richmond, and some ideas for recipes incorporating matcha into the food you eat.  They do a nice job explaining how matcha is made and its health benefits.  Plus, the dessert recipe looks great.  Check it out!
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Before bed, however, I have found that tea helps me to decompress and get ready to rest.  Growing up, my mom had Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime tea in the house, and although we didn't drink it regularly, it was a nice and relaxing nighttime treat.  Obviously a caffeine-free tea, it has become a staple in our home.  (Even my manly, firefighter husband has enjoyed the benefits of drinking tea.  If he can try it, anyone can!)  In the last year, Danny and I have each begun to rely on a cup of Sleepytime every night before bed.  We love the smell, taste, and soothing nature of this tea.  Danny prefers the vanilla flavor and I like their green tea or original flavor.

Source: vine.com

Another caffeine-free tea that I've grown to love is TAZO Passion tea.  I used to keep a box at my desk at work for daytime (tea) emergencies.  It is hot pink (!) and delicious, though a little tart for some taste buds.  It is wonderful over ice or hot.  I think even Starbucks sells it.  This is perfect for after dinner to avoid a true snack, because it has a somewhat sweet taste.  Plus, you get the added benefit of taking time to yourself to let it cool a little to a drinkable temperature.

Source: Amazon.com

Because one of my favorite ways to relax is to curl up with a blanket, no matter the temperature, and a cup of tea, I thought this was an idea worth sharing. Cheerio and bottom's up!

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