- Food and Cooking
My favorite brands and flavors of tea
A Multitude of Choices
When you go to the tea section of almost any supermarket today, you are confronted with a mind-boggling array of different brands, blends, flavors, and choices of teas. Many of these choices have appeared on the scene in the last ten to fifteen years. Much of this increase is due to the new awareness of tea being a health-aid and a booster for the immune system, but tea is a delight unto itself. A cup of hot tea is, and has always been, one of the great pleasures of life, and more and more people are becoming devotees of a comforting drink that has been around for a very long time. A cup of tea is a perfect accompaniment to any meal, and if your spirits are flagging or you feel tired in the afternoon, a cup of tea will make you feel like a new person. I would like to recommend five of the teas that I enjoy most, out of the dozens that are available.
Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea
Bright, Intense, and Refreshing
Twinings Irish Breakfast is the tea I drink most often. It has a bright, intense flavor and a delightful aroma. Even the box smells good when you take off the clear outer wrapping. Irish Breakfast is slightly reddish in color, and the taste is crisp and clear, totally different from the dark, mellow smokiness of English Breakfast. This tea is perfect to drink with meals, or with scones, a slice of cake, or other desserts. It makes a great pick-me-up at any time of day when you need a boost.
Twinings Earl Grey Tea
Fragrant With Lemony Herbal Essence
Earl Grey tea is black tea flavored with oil of bergamot, which is an herbal extract taken from the plant called Monarda, or Bee Balm. This gives the tea an aromatic, lemony flavor with a slight undertone of mint. It makes a dark, strong flavored tea that is good by itself or with delicately flavored or lemon flavored cookies or cakes that will not clash or compete with its distinctive taste.
Bigelow Constant Comment
The Warmth of Oranges and Spice
Bigelow Constant Comment Tea has been around for a long time, but it is still one of my favorites. It was one of the teas my mother used many years ago, and I believe it was one of the very few flavored teas that were available then. This is black tea with oranges and spice added, and it has a warm, rich, comforting flavor and aroma. This tea is delicious by itself, or with mild or buttery tea cookies. Let it steep a little longer than usual to give the flavor time to develop.
Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry
Lipton is an old name in tea, but they have some delightful new flavors and blends. Bavarian Wild Berry is black tea flavored with berries, and it has a wonderful fruity flavor and aroma. This is one of the Lipton teas that come in little pyramid shaped tea bags. It tastes to me like the tea that Peter Rabbit's mother would give him for breakfast with bread and butter, and it is perfect to drink with exactly that. This tea is also perfect with a slice of pound cake, or angel food cake.
Lipton Island Mango & Peach
Lipton Island Mango & Peach is white tea, green tea, and flavorings of orange leaves and lemon grass. The flavor of this tea is almost indescribable. To me it does not taste like either mango or peach, but like distilled flowers and honey. The flavor is very light and delicate, and it makes an pale amber colored brew. I love a cup of this on a winter evening while reading a good book, or watching a favorite movie.
I like sugar in my tea. I feel it improves the flavor and is almost essential with the fruit flavored blends to bring out their true character. It doesn't require a lot, just a half-teaspoon of sugar will enhance the taste of the tea and adds very few calories. I also prefer to use cane sugar rather than beet sugar. It has a better flavor, and a much better aroma. (If you don't believe me, try sniffing an open container of each one.) If you don't see the words "cane sugar" on the package, then you can assume it is beet sugar.
Please Use A Teapot
If you do not already use a teapot to brew your tea, please give it a try. Tea tastes better when it is made in a teapot. Really, it does. The larger amount of water and the enclosed chamber inside the pot with the lid on, creates a richer and more true version of any tea you use because it keeps the water hot longer. Not only that, but if you want more than one cup and you brew them in a teapot, every cup will have the same strength and color, instead of the first cup being too strong and the second one weak and watery the way they are if you use a teabag in your cup. If you need another reason to use a teapot, the pots themselves are beautiful and just looking at them makes the tea taste better. Be sure to let leave tea or teabags in the pot for at least three to five minutes to develop the full flavor of the tea.
Books About Tea
If you love drinking tea, you will certainly enjoy books about it, and recipes for making delicious treats to serve with it. Here are a few choices to start with.