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Hot Tea Anyone?

Hot Tea Anyone?

Traditionally, coffee is the hot beverage of choice in Texas, starting with cowboy lore about making strong coffee before a trail ride.  Locally tea is often associated with one of two things: iced tea or "Texas tea," colloquial slang for "oil."

Tea -bag

However, it's time to take another look at hot tea:  its various preparations offer exhilarating and potentially healthier alternatives to the morning cup o' joe or the afternoon raid of the vending machine! 

Hot Tea Anyone

In fact, while cruising down a Fiesta aisle, you may have already come across some of the following teas -- not an exhaustive list but a good starting point:  black, oolong, green, yerba maté, rooibos, white & misc. herbal teas.  And these are only categories of tea, not to mention the many groups and subgroups within each category (Earl Grey, assam, sencha, etc.). 

You could have tea every day for weeks and not drink the same tea twice.

Although many tea enthusiasts prefer to use loose leaf teas with an infuser ball or brew basket, feel free to use tea bags if you find them more convenient.  The key to enjoying tea is to use the most basic accessories as you start your tea adventure:  if you have hot water and a sense of curiosity, you're well on your way!

The following tips provide a quick-start guide:   

  • What determines the different types of tea is the process used in their production:  the amount of oxidation, shaping, curing (if any), etc.  In turn, the processing methods dictate the ideal conditions for preparing the tea in order to avoid bitterness. Fortunately, most teas that you'll buy, loose leaf or in individual bags, will have brewing instructions.  You'll generally find that white and green teas require shorter steep times and cooler water temperatures (hot but not boiling) compared to other tea types. 
  • Tea has a well-deserved reputation as a wellness tonic of sorts, boasting benefits to your immune system, metabolic rate, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and overall state of mind.  It's important to remember that the healthful properties may vary, depending on the type of tea.  Also, be cognizant of your tea choices if you're monitoring caffeine consumption:  rooibos (South African red bush) and herbal teas are excellent options. 
  • Milk, honey, lemon, anything else?  That's completely up to your palate and you.  If you're not certain and want a "sure thing," thengo native:  explore the ways that other cultures prepare tea -- for example, a spicy, milky Indian chai; a South American yerba maté in a bombilla; or a whisked Japanese matcha.
  • Don't be hesitant to experiment:  tea can be as classy & elegant or as simple & cozy as you'd like it to be.

Enjoy!     

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