Friday, September 11, 2009

My Favorite Tea Now


At 40, I had to stop drinking tea.

My body changed, and I suddenly found myself in the midst of chronic migraine. The chemicals in black tea -- tannins and caffeine -- were on the list of things to avoid. A little testing confirmed it: yes, these were a problem. I could safely drink a few herbal teas, but only blends without citrus or dried apple.

Since that time, my migraine problems have ebbed, and I've enjoyed more freedom in my diet. I can occasionally drink one cup of black tea or herbal tea blend with citrus. Last night, I treated myself to a cup of Constant Comment. But it had been a month. I still can't drink these teas often.

About five years ago, I stumbled across rooibos tea in a restaurant. As the waiter explained what it was, and as I was feeling brave, I ordered it. The first sip made my mouth sing. Caramel, baked apples, honey, malt, roasted pecans, carob, vanilla -- flavors like these were blended into one sweet sensation. I was hooked.

A little research led me to the Atlantic Spice Company, where I can order teas in bulk at reasonable prices. They sell loose rooibos tea, which looks like tiny, hollow, small sticks. The picture above shows a cup of red tea resting on a bed of the leaves. When I want a cup of tea, I put a teaspoon of red leaves into an infuser from Teeli, pour boiling water over it, steep for three minutes, and add unrefined sugar or honey.

Rooibos tea is actually an herbal tea with no caffeine. Its leaves are harvested from the African red bush, leading many people to simply call it "red tea." It's packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and anti-inflammatory chemicals. Since it's also low in tannins, it won't make migraine worse. In fact, this tea can only make you feel better. It tastes like black tea, only a bit milder and sweeter, with slightly nutty overtones . It's the perfect choice for those who want the experience of tea without the risk of headaches. Delicious with milk and sugar, it's also a great choice for children.

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If you've never tried it, and you're curious, you can pick up a box of Celestial Seasonings' Madagascar Vanilla Red Tea at your grocery store.

To learn more about rooibos, read this brief history from TeaMuse.

This article from Savannah Imports explains some of the health benefits of red tea.

3 comments:

  1. Oooh - I'll have to try this. Two of my favorite teas are English Breakfast and Taylors of Harrogate's Yorkshire Tea. Both are black teas. I do enjoy a few herbal teas. But for me, there's nothing like a cup of black tea with a little cream and sugar. I'm going grocery shopping probably tomorrow. I think I'll look for this tea! Thanks for telling us about it!

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  2. I drink decaf green tea as my "staple." And Decaf Lady Grey is another favorite. MMMM! I just had a cup tonight with milk only. That's the way I take my tea.

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  3. I lurve tea! How did I miss this post? ha ha It's on my grocery list this week, thanks for sharing!

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