Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tea for one

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.

Mixed bag

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?


  1. That's a lovely selection of teas. You are quite the tea shop!
    I love, love, love Planet Organics loose leaf chai. Two cups of that one first thing in the morning, set straight for the day.

  2. Ah, I keep forgetting to try Licorice! Must buy some for work :)

  3. @cityhippyfarmgirl
    Ooh, I haven't tried that one. Thanks for the tip! I will look out for it.

  4. @Hannah
    Do! It's one of my favourite teas for at work :)

  5. Oh how awesome. I love teas! I love Celestial Bengal Spice, it's really good. Remind me of chai actually. And I also love the Creme Brulee tea from T2! Can I ask you though, where in Perth did you find that Blueberry tea, I can't seem to find those here

  6. @Cecilia
    I had half-forgotten about that Celestial Bengal Spice flavour! It is really good - I must look out for it again. And I definitely concur that Creme Brulee and tea are a no fail combination :)

    I found the blueberry tea at an independent supermarket known as Farmer Jacks. There are only a handful around Perth (not sure if they're elsewhere in Australia?) but they have many things other supermarkets don't. I spend far too much money in them, but that tea is worthwhile if you can find it!

  7. Love all your teas - so much more interesting than coffee - I have been through many tea habits but right now don't have much of one - I am glad you reminded me of liquorice tea (I am sure there is a q in there) which I haven't had for a while but used to have at work and it made my drawer smell wonderful

  8. Phew! I was reading this, and starting to wonder if in fact we are the same person, but your love of liquorice tea assures me that we are in fact separate individuals :)

    The majority of my liquid intake is definitely through hot drinks, and I like the little break it gives me from my desk to get up and get more hot water. As those around me get increasingly sniffly and coughy I like to also sip on lots of ginger tea made with hot water and freshly chopped ginger.

  9. @Johanna GGG
    Thanks for confirming the 'q' - it was playing on my mind! And that is one of the lovely things about teas, they make containers and drawers smell delightful.

  10. @Conor @ Hold the Beef
    It's probably just as well we're not the same person, but it's nice to know we share some tea preferences :) And I have to agree on the break-from-work benefits of tea making. Then, of course, there are the break-from-work benefits of the associated bathroom trips. It's a great way to break up the day!


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