The other day, I counted up how many hot drinks I'd had, up until about 5pm. The result?
- 1 cup of coffee with milk
- 1 cup of green tea with lemon
- 1 cup of regular (black) tea with milk
- 1 cup of liquorice tea
- 1 cup of blueberry tea
This was perhaps a little more than average, but on workdays I probably do consume 1 L + of fluids just from hot drinks. In effect, when the weather starts to cool down, I drink tea pretty much all day long. In summer it is soda water, and in winter it is tea.
I am quite a well hydrated person.
After this slightly amusing counting exercise, I thought I would take stock of how many varieties of tea I have on the go. I have a collection at home and a few options at each workplace, so I'm certainly not restricted in choice...
English Breakfast and basic Black Tea
You can't go wrong with the basics, in my humble opinion. I generally only have English Breakfast at home, but both of my workplaces provide generic brand black tea, which I consume daily.
Since developing a love-hate relationship with coffee (love the awakening, mood boosting effect; hate the fact it makes me feel sick about 50% of the time these days), black tea has also been my caffeine friend.
Green Tea with Lemon
This is my favourite green tea variety. I also have a green tea with mint box at work, but I like that flavour considerably less than the one above. I find this to be one of the most 'hydrating' teas, and particularly like it in the morning.
Lime Tree Blossom
I have to be in the right mood for this tea - the flavour is a little weak - but it provides some variety once a week or so.
The ingredients are 100% lime tree blossoms and leaves, and, thanks to Wikipedia, I can inform you that the Latin genus for lime trees is Tilia. What is more, herbalists reportedly use lime blossoms as a remedy for restlessness, hysteria, and headaches.
I was finding the concept of curing hysteria with lime blossom somewhat amusing (it doesn't take much to amuse me), until I continued reading and saw that benzodiazepine-like molecules have been found in extracts from some Tilia varieties*. As Benzodiazepines are the class of drugs that include Valium, perhaps the herbalists were on to something.
And perhaps I'll up my intake to more than once per week.
* Medina, J.H. & Paladini, A.C. (1993). Occurrence of benzodiazepine, benzodiazepine-like molecules and other ligands for the benzodiazepine receptor in nature. In: Izquierdo, I. & Medina, J.H. (Eds.) Naturally Occurring Benzodiazepines. Structure, Distribution and Function. Ellis Horwood, London, pp 28–43.
Blueberry Herbal Tea
This is my newest flavour acquisition, and is the best fruit-flavoured tea I have found yet. I do tend to get tired of fruit varieties after a few months of a particular flavour, but I'm highly enjoying this at the moment.
This is my second-newest flavour discovery (I introduced it about a month ago) and it is still in my Favourites list. (Incidentally, do you spell liquorice as liquorice or licorice? I use a 'q', but my tea box doesn't!)
The liquorice plant is actually a legume, and is not related to fennel or anise, despite similar flavours across all three. It's naturally sweet and is thought to have a number of health-related benefits, including boosting the body's immune response and managing cortisol (and thus stress) levels.
A few years ago, I had the idea of organising my teas so that I didn't clutter up the cupboard with lots of boxes. This was a good idea in theory, but unfortunately my tea collection has never fully fitted in the box I bought. I also tend to forget about the teas I put in here, so they end up languishing for some months.
In addition to English Breakfast, the box currently includes...
- A cranberry, raspberry and strawberry herbal mix, which I actually no longer like (refer to above comment about tiring of fruit teas!)
- Arabian mint with honey (back left), which I quite like in the evenings
- Peppermint and English toffee (back right), which sounds much better than it is, but is still pretty nice
In addition to the above, I have a lemon and ginger mix at work and also quite like almond tea served with milk. I buy Lady Grey tea fairly regularly too.
You may notice none of these are of the loose leaf variety. This is partially because I am the only one in the house who drinks tea, and brewing a pot for one seems like a lot of effort, and partially because a lot of my tea drinking occurs at work, and bags are so much simpler in that setting. I do like the idea of using a teapot though, so perhaps one day I'll transition across.
What about you? Are you a tea drinker? What are your favourite varieties?