Friday, January 8, 2010

Drink Some Tea! My Favorites

First, a brief update: my foot is healing. It is feeling better every day. I still have to stay off it some and be careful, but with the nice soft padded socks I am wearing and the inserts for my shoes, both feet are feeling much improved. I have biked for 10 minutes on no resistance for the past couple of nights, but that's all the exercise I am getting (besides the strength training/upper body sessions twice a week). My eating is pretty good (as you can see if you read my menu Tweets) and I am back down to 225 pounds, which is the lowest weight I hit in December and also the lowest weight I have been in a year. I feel great and am excited to watch the scale going down again!

A long time ago I wrote about how much I love tea. I have a tea collection that you would not believe! Every time I see a new tea in the store, I have to try it. (Yeah, it substitutes for buying those new cookies or candy bars. But tea has no calories! Works for me!) Currently, I have no less than 50 flavors of tea in my kitchen. Crazy? Yeah... but I drink tea every day, sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. It helps fill me, warm me, soothe me, plus it helps get that water in. Since this week's Healthy Habit relates to fluid intake, I thought I'd share my favorite teas.

My #1 favorite tea that I drink everyday (mainly for the health benefits) is Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon. I love this stuff. I used to *hate* green tea because it tasted grassy and bitter to me. But Bigelow won me over. This is the tea I drink every morning with breakfast. Now, let me add that I do not drink it hot. I drink this tea cool or iced. If you like water with a bit of lemon in it, you'll like this. I brew it for about 3 minutes with water that is not quite at boiling, in about 4oz of water. Then I add that to about 12 oz of cold water (or cold water and ice in summertime) for a very refreshing drink to go with my meals. No calories, lots of health benefits, love it!

*Remember that the reason a lot of people don't like green tea is that they oversteep it (too long) or use water that is too hot (boiling). Try a gentle, short brew and see what you think. And remember that a cup of green tea has the same health benefits even if you dilute it in a bunch of water to make it taste better to you!

I am trying to drink at least 2 cups of green tea each day, so I have several flavors on hand including a few decaf in case it is later in the day before I get to that second cup. I usually drink these teas *hot* but in the summertime I will pour them over ice and have it as my dinnertime beverage. Some green teas I enjoy:

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea (not 'green tea-ish' at all! so good)
Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orchard Decaf Green Tea
Stash Pomegranate Raspberry Green Tea with Matcha (excellent plain)
Stash Ginger Peach Green Tea with Matcha (quite gingery, a bit of a bite to it, great for upset tummy)
Choice Organic Ban-cha Toasted Green Tea (omg this is soooo good, I cannot describe it, very different. LOVE this with milk & agave)

White tea is supposed to have similar health benefits to green tea, so I have them for variety:
Celestial Seasonings Antioxidant Plum White Tea
Trader Joe's Pomegranate White Tea

Sometimes I want a regular, traditional black English breakfast tea. I have two that I love:
Mlesna Ceylon English Breakfast Tea (the best! excellent!!)
PG Tips Black Tea (a close second, so much better than that plain Lipton crap)

I also enjoy other kinds of tea that serve as a special treat. I love dessert teas because with a bit of agave nectar and milk, they feel like a nice indulgence mid-afternoon, or the decaf ones are great in the evening when I might feel a bit hungry but not want a lot of calories. Some favorites:

Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla Red Rooibos Tea (rooibos has no caffeine. This one is my fave flavor for "something sweet" anytime. It is heavenly!)
Celestial Seasonings Red Safari Spice Rooibos Tea (yummy and a bit spicy!)
Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet Black Tea (Seasonal, so if you want this, get it now!)
Stash Chocolate Hazelnut Decaf Tea (Nice for dessert)
Celestial Seasonings Almond Sunset Dessert Tea (I loove almond, reminds me of almond cookies)
Guayaki Mate Chocolatte Yerba Mate Tea (mate is wonderful for a calm energy and alertness without any jitters. I drink the regular, non-chocolate kind too).

I have so many teas I love it would be hard to tell you all of them, but there's a start. I was trying to figure out a way to *show* you the tea boxes, and the easiest way for me to let you see them is to create an amazon store. A lot of the teas are out of stock on amazon, plus some of them you have to buy like 6 or 12 boxes at once, so just use this link to look at the tea boxes so you know what you are looking for when you go to the grocery store. Most of these can be found at Walmart or any other grocery in the tea aisle: Lyn's Tea Collection.

I also buy and adore the loose Masala Chai from Indonique.com. I think it is the best Chai out there. This is the stuff I drink every morning before breakfast; I put 2/3 c. water in a pot with 1 tsp loose Chai and 1 tsp loose Yerba Mate and after it simmers and brews a bit I add 1/3 c. milk and 2 tsp agave nectar. Heaven!!!!!!! If you order something from them right now, they will send you a free box of Chocolate Chai as well. Tell them Lyn sent ya! (I haven't gotten any $$ kickbacks from Indonique but they *have* sent me some free teas before when I blogged about them). They really do have nice teas...

Also, let me add that one appliance my family uses every day and loves is this: Sunbeam Hot Shot. I got it a couple of years ago to make my tea, but it is one of the most useful things in my kitchen. It is just a simple thing. You pour water in it and it boils the water and turns off. That's it. But it only takes like, 30 or 40 seconds to boil my water for tea every morning! I use it for tea and coffee. The kids use it for those instant soups/noodles, making hot chocolate, or instant oatmeal. Anything you need boiled water for, this is great! Last time I checked they sell them at Walmart. Actually, this tea infusing Thermos is one of my other favorite tea gadgets. It brews my loose or bagged tea when I am running out the door in the mornings and keeps it hot.

I would really love it if you would feed my addiction by leaving me a comment naming your favorite tea! Really, you should see my eyeballs get big when I see new flavors in the tea aisle. Tea makes me happy!

Have a great weekend!

55 comments:

PamL said...

This is not about tea, but I know you have mentioned Agave nectar as a sweetener, so I thought you might like to read this article. I had never heard of it before I saw it on your blog, so I was interested to read this. http://ow.ly/TStI

Val said...

You are preaching to the choir sister! I'm southern on my moms side and my dad is British so I come from an all-around tea loving group-hot, cold, iced, whatever.

I thought I was the only one with a ridiculous amount of tea in my kitchen. I don't feel so alone anymore :D

Lyn said...

PamL~

I have read and have been thinking about the whole "is agave good or bad" debate. I know I want to avoid table sugar, and I use honey for some things, but I don't want a honey flavor in my teas. Anyway, for now, this article pretty much sums up my views on the agave debate:

http://www.vegfamily.com/whole-family/wholesome-sweeteners.htm

Graze With Me said...

Current favorite tea: Kombucha Green Tea from Yogi

So good, I'm drinking some right now!

Melissa said...

I love Bengal Spice Tea from Celestial Seasonings. It's an herbal tea & is great with milk and honey (or agave) but I also like it just with honey or agave.

http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products/detail.html/herbal-teas/bengal-spice

I also just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. You are very down-to-earth and your honesty in sharing personal struggles is very inspiring@

tessler said...

My current addiction is Comfort and Joy Tea (that's the name of it) from The Republic of Tea. You can by a round tin at Cost Plus/World Market RIGHT NOW but you have to hurry because it is a seasonal tea and they have it on clearance (if they have any left).

You can also order it directly from The Republic of Tea website.

I also love to add Celestial Seasonings Peppermint herbal tea to this by brewing a cup with both tea bags dunked in it at the same time. Delish!

Kyle Gershman said...

I'll pretty much drink any green tea. I have been off "hard" caffeine since I started my program in mid-November. No coffee, no soda, no non-green teas. yes...it has caffeine, but minimal in comparison.

I love the idea of the steeping thermos of the link provided. Looks cool!

Shelley said...

I've just gotten into drinking hot tea this winter (now iced tea, that's another story...we go waaay back!). I am loving Celestial Seasoning's Gingerbread Spice (so much that I bought out the store that carried it as I know it's seasonal) and also their Candy Cane Lane and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. I want to try a chocolate tea, but so far the couple that I've seen have been around 8 bucks, and that's a lot to spend before I know for sure that I like it.

I will have to try the regular green tea once my CCL runs out!

Seren_Sighs said...

I drink white tea every day now. White tea, green tea, and black tea are all from the same plant but have different levels of processing. White tea is the least processed so it has higher antioxidant levels. There haven't been as many tests on white tea as there are on green tea because it's just now getting popular, but studies show that it's actually a bit better than green tea as far as fighting off infections and such.

And I like plain white tea because I feel like it's better for me since it's nothing but white tea leaves. I looked for it for a long time but couldn't find it until my friend got it for me for Christmas! She found it at a store but the company is called Touch Organic. White tea has a milder flavor than white tea and tastes less grassy.

And I add lemon because studies also show that you can absorb the polyphenols and catechins from green tea better if you add lemon, so I figure it works for white tea too.

Lea said...

I like the Bengal Spice tea (like Melissa mentioned above) as well! Another great Celestial Seasonings tea is the Sweet Coconut Thai Chai.

Seren_Sighs said...

Well, I just read the links about agave nectar and I was unaware of the new information.

However, after reading the second article, I will say that the main issue with HFCS is that studies on rats have shown that HFCS increases their set point weight, increases the amount of calories they consume, and desensitizes them to sweet flavors.

NewMe said...

I like Japanese green tea with rice. Yes, there are actually little tiny pieces of rice in the tea. It adds a lovely nutty flavour.

You only let it steep for less than a minute and you can actually reuse the leaves a few times. My yoga teacher introduced me to it.

screwdestiny said...

Lol! You're quite the tea connoisseur. If I'm ever in the mood for tea, I just pick up some flavor that sounds good. I can't even remember what's in my pantry right now.

Andra said...

I'm married to an Englishman for 8 years, our electric kettle is boiling all day. I love tea! My favorite is Prince Vladimir by Kousmi Tea, followed closely by Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips. I drink green tea daily and always look for new varieties, I recently found Bancha which is toasted green tea, which is like a cross between black tea and green tea but with all health bennies of green but with a similar feel to black tea. Lovely!

Fertility Chick said...

One tea that I fell in love with is by the London Fruit & Herb company called "Strawberry Vanilla Fool" To die for!

Tasted like a strawberry shortcake and had no caffeine. Delish!!

I think you can order it from amazon.com and there are lots of other flavours from the same co.

100in28 said...

Awesome post! My coworkers and I were discussing all of the teas we have at home, some we love, and some not so much. We decided yesterday to bring in anything we didn't want for a Great Tea Trade! I ended up getting a few bags of Candy Cane Lane - since you had been raving about it I was excited to try! :) So funny that you blogged all about tea today!

100in28 said...

OH and I totally LIVE by the Hot Shot! All tea afficionados must have!

Ashley said...

I am a huge fan of tea as well. For everyday green tea drinking, I like The Republic of Tea Pomegranate Green Tea and Rishi Orange Blossom Green Tea. For special occasions, I order my teas from Adagio Teas (www.adagio.com). It's a little pricey but so amazing. Everything you order from there is ten times better than the high quality tea at the grocery store. Also, if you brew and drink lots of loose leaf teas, you need their ingenious teapot. It makes brewing loose leaf teas and cleanup SO easy. (Not, I do not work for adagio in any way; I am just a very satisfied customer :)

Laura I. (G.G.) said...

As dull as this is, I love Earl Grey tea. I'm a sucker for the bergamot. I'll try anything and everything tea-wise, but always come back to that.

Salted with Shadows said...

I have recently discovered the wondrousness of tea and now drink several cups a day.

The two I like from the grocery store are:

Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice
Stash Black Chai Spice (I need to try the double spice, I think I would like that even more)

My favorite teas are Zhena's Gypsy Teas, though. I bought a tin of seasonal Gingerbread Chai tea at Tully's and fell in love, so I ordered five or six more to get me through the year. I also like the Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple.

Chocolate Chai and Coconut Chai are really good,too. I put in a packet of Stevia and I'm good to go. It's really helping me control my sweet tooth.

Ms. PJ Geek said...

Tea..We are talking my language.
I don't have more than you, Lyn, but I do have many of the same ones. Lots of good ideas in the comments, too. I'm taking notes. The Stash Chocolate Hazelnut is being bought tomorrow.

I have a Tea/ Coffee/Cocoa area of my kitchen..it's a whole section of the counter. I figure accentuate the stuff that is calorie free, so I'll veer in that direction for comfort versus snacking. I've decorated it with white fairy lites, special tea towels, and I have little raised shelves from Bed/Bath/Beyond that I display the tea boxes on . Most unusual is the Pirates Rum Punch Tea that came in a little wooden crate with pirates on it(like something off a pirate ship)

Top 4 (right now)
Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet
Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane
Harney and Sons(sold at Barnes and Nobles) Holiday Tea
Bigelow Vanilla Caramel

Andrea said...

I love Zhena's Gypsy Teas. My favorites are Egyptian Green Mint and Coconut Chai. I'm also a big fan of good old Earl Grey and Irish Breakfast tea.

bbubblyb said...

I'm a tea person too. I love mine with milk and splenda though so I tend to go with black teas mixed with herbals. My favorite combo is 3 honey vanilla chamomile/2 Irish breakfast/3 lipton. I make mine in the coffee maker. It really helps me with my food cravings at night. But I usually switch to decaf at night so I'm not up all night.

You know almost every post you write I identify with and start to comment then don't. Not sure what that's all about lol. Think most times it's because someone else has already said what I would or I know I could write a book in the comments lol. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Dances with Corgis said...

We have a tea we love it is a vanilla bean white tea. Shucks, I can't remember the name.

Go, Lyn for #225!

M said...

I also like drinking tea. Green tea is very good for you. Have you ever tried Red Roibos? It's South African. My friend from South Africa says they drink it there regularly, but they do it with milk or cream. Maybe fat-free milk would work okay. I enjoy reading your blog. Please visit my blog and my journey to weight loss and healthy living. thisgirlislosingit.blogspot.com

Hanlie said...

I love how rooibos tea has become popular in other parts of the world. It comes from my neck of the woods and we grew up on it.

I have green tea, rooibos tea, honeybush tea (another local caffeine-free tea), red clover tea, raspberry leaf tea, nettle tea and a selection of fruit infusions. All of these are drunk plain.

At the moment I'm just drinking one or two cups in the evening, but in the colder months I usually have some during the day too.

blueraspberry said...

I am a Brit, and being so, am an all time tea drinker. I drink Earl Grey routinely - perhaps 4 or 5 cups a day. The other tea we drink all day every day in our house, I refer to as 'builders tea'. This is anything that is dark, strong, and basic. The box of PG Tips on your amazon store was one of those 'builders teas' and I nearly fell off my perch when I saw how much you are paying for it. It is one of the bog standard everyone drinks it cheap and cheerful teas over here. UK price is £2.99 for 100bags, or $4.70. I suppose it is the import duties etc that whack the price up. Did you know that there is a PG Tips Green Tea too? Others you might like to try along the same theme as PC are 'Yorkshire Tea' - really strong, stand your spoon up in it tea, Tetleys, and Typhoo. Both standard 'plain' teas drunk every day.

BR

Vickie said...

I am a Lemon Zinger girl.

and I am also a thermos girl. I had a child in the hospital (outpatient, minor surgery) this week and I took 3 thermoses with me - Lemon Zinger, regular room temperature, plain water, Hot Lemon water (literally just hot water with lemon - cold water really bothers my GI track)

Kailey said...

Hmmm....I think I'm going to try that Candy Cane Lane Green Tea. I just tried some peppermint tea yesterday that I loved so I hope this stuff will taste similar. I really hope the minty taste overrides the green tea taste.

Jen said...

I love all of the Christmas teas. I stock up on Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane, Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Gingerbread one. I also like Stash's White Christmas and I bought a few of their other Christmas teas. I also found Twining's Winter Spice which is good. I will drink them all year and stock up next Christmas.

spunkysuzi said...

I love teas and i've tried quite a few of the ones you mentioned. Hubby made my day when he took me to a mall that had Teopia in it, over 100 kinds of tea all in one place :)

FrogiNater said...

I've found that I don't mind green tea (my fave is with pomegranite or raspberries) cold. I dislike it greatly hot.

Anonymous said...

I'm not normally a tea drinker, but I want to be. Just can't develop the taste for it. But, your post was so inspirational I ran right out to get some. First two for today are:Guayaki Yerba Mate - Mate Chocolatte and Bigelow Vanilla Caramel. Cross your fingers that I like them.

Ashley said...

Oh, BR is totally right, Typhoo was my favorite tea when I lived in London and it was just regular, everyday grocery store tea. I wish I could find a place to buy it now.

Ashley said...

Oh, BR is totally right, Typhoo was my favorite tea when I lived in London and it was just regular, everyday grocery store tea. I wish I could find a place to buy it now.

BinAZ said...

How do I know if I have steeped and prepared my tea correctly?

aimeeinak said...

I never used to be a big tea fan but I recently tried Market Spice Cinammon Orange tea and I love it!

John said...

Hey fellow tea lover, if you're unable to find tea that's out of stock at Amazon elsewhere, try adding it to watchmyitems.com and you'll be able to find out when Amazon restocks it.

Christie said...

I have just recently started drinking tea and my favorite is the Nutcracker Sweet by Celestial Seasonings that you mentioned. I like that its got a good deep flavor.

Michelle said...

Hey, Lyn.

I'm also a tea nut! We have very different brands in Australia.

My favourite for quick black & green teas is Nature's Organic tea bags (from Aldi) or Dilmah.

Like "NewMe", I LOVE Japanese roasted rice green tea from my Asian grocer.

Then there's almost *anything* from my favourite store T2 (www.t2teas.com.au) (No, I don't work for them, just adore them . Favourites:
* creme brulee & chilli kiss black teas
* any of the honey bush varieties
* white ginger & white jasmine teas
* geisha getaway green tea (pineapple & coconut flavour!), sencha mango, & sencha peach

And... they make *the best* herbal infusions & fruit tisanes. My pick:
* strawberries & cream (OMG, SO GOOD!! no cream involved, just some pieces of freeze-dried yoghurt+ strawberries, cranberries, apples, spices.)
* white Xmas (papaya, elderberries, hibiscus & safflower petals, + cinnamon. Delicious)
* botanica (stone fruit, berries, apple + spices)
* lemongrass & ginger

They are pricey, but SO worth it. I always ask for a gift voucher for birthdays, Christmas, & Easter. LOL.

Happy sipping, Lyn. Hope that foot feels good in no time :-)

Greta from www.bigbottomblogger.blogspot.com said...

I like Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea. Comes in handy on a regular basis. I also love any tea with pomegranite...and despise any tea with apple or cinnamon (go figure..as I love apples and cinnamon). Thanks for the tip on the hot shot....cool beans! I wish they made one with a stainless steel inside, tho..not plastic. Hm.

pc said...

I love the licorice tea by Stash.
I drink it cold.

Your blog is wonderful

I am following your new habit a week regimen.

Julie Lost and Found said...

We have a "Teavana" at our mall and I'm addicted! http://www.teavana.com/

They have a white samuarai vanilla bean chai..oh man! There are so many loose teas.

I use organic blue agave and like it.

I find tea really soothing. I do try to drink green tea in the morning.

Kirsten said...

I'm not a big tea drinker, usually only when I'm really cold or need a boost to my immune system (Echinacea), but I'm going to try some of the teas you suggested and see if they suppress sweet tooth a bit. I am a big water w/ lemon drinker, so am esp. looking forward to the green teas.
Thanks!

Lyn said...

Greta~

the inside of my Hot Shot is metal; only the housing is plastic. HTH :)

Ron said...

Ashley, I saw Typhoo tea in World Market yesterday.

Chris said...

Generally I don't like flavoured, spiced teas very much. Earl Grey tea is about the only flavoured tea that I drink on a regular basis. I especially love Lady Grey tea from Twinings. It's a more delicate variant of Earl Grey with a hint of citrus.

I prefer traditional black tea blends. One of my all-time favourites is Harrods No.14 English Breakfast. I usually drink it straight. Their Blend 49 is also good, though on the pricey side. When I want my tea with milk and sweetener, their strong-flavoured Organic Assam makes excellent cups.

blueraspberry said...

Not wishing to intrude on your blog at all Lyn, and not wishing to teach grandmother how to suck eggs, but I noticed a comment or two about how to make tea or not. 'Tea' being how it is made in England by the butler. ( I wish roflol) I realise there are 'speciality tea's' that require you make it differently, but this is the way that we tea drinkers, (although we are fast becoming coffee drinkers too) make tea in the UK.

Step one - Always use fresh water, reboiled water makes horrid tea.
Step two - Its better to make tea in a pot - not in the cup.
Step three- Warm the pot with a little water as the kettle comes to the boil, by 'swishing' the pot with a little (egg cup full?) water.
Step four - One teaspoon of tea per person + one (or a bag if you use them) for the pot
Step five - Fill the pot with **boiling** water. Tea made with water that doesnt boil is grey and insipid.
Step six - Stir the tea once, put lid on the pot, tea will not steep if the lid is not on.
Step7 - Leave to steep for a minute or two
Step 8 - Pour the tea, and add milk to taste.

What we dont do is --
Use water 'off the boil'
Add the tea to the milk -how do you know how much milk you need before the tea is poured?

Hope that helps.

BR.

Lyn said...

BR~

Thanks! That was wonderful! Someone from England told me those things before and they DO make a huge difference in good tea (surprizing to this American who used to just put a tea bag in a cup, put some almost boiling water on it and wait awhile). Now when I am not making a whole pot I use those steps as much as possible, by warming the tea cup with hot water, using fresh boiling water over it, covering it with a little plate to steep, timing it 3-5 minutes and then removing and squeezing the tea bag. GREAT way to make regular tea!

Anonymous said...

Good Earth Tea - Sweet and Spicy - Luv it! Two thumbs up!

(publishing this as anonymous as I have no idea how to do it otherwise!)

Krista said...

Stash coconut mango is my absolute fave!

Cynthia said...

I had tea on my Christmas list, LOL! Hubby can load me up with lots of samples at $1-2 each, and I can decide what I might want to buy in a larger amount.

I like the Stash teas, but in the past year or two, I've gotten away from bagged teas and now mostly drink organic looseleaf. It tastes even better!

I drink all kinds, black, green, red/herbal and sometimes white. Mostly it is green though. And I usually will do a second steeping, but not a third.

I am particularly fond of Upton teas (www.uptontea.com), you can get them in samples, bags or tins. Their herbal sampler is very nice!

I like the fact that Upton always gives you the ideal temp and steeping time for each tea.They also post reviews on their site, which is nice for shopping new tea varieties.

I like my tea straight for the most part, though if I am sick with a sore throat I might add a bit of honey.

Anonymous said...

I love Lipton Tuscan lemon tea :)

Brenda said...

Lyn, have you tried Celestial Seasoning's Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride holiday tea? The smell is heavenly!

Carrie said...

Lyn, I love your blog and not finished reading it yet, but had to comment on your tea post.
I too have more tea than one person should have in their kitchen. Many different brands and flavors but my all time absolute favorite for all seasons is Good Earth ~ Original.
It helps when I want something sweet & I use it all year. Makes great sun tea but is quite strong, usually I do 3 bags of Lipton and 2 bags of Good Earth.
www.goodearthteas.com
Back in the day before the internet I had my family that lives on the west coast go to the resteraunt to buy me this tea, with the internet I could get it online and now a days it's available in my grocery store on the east coast.