Fancy coffees, hot chocolate and assorted other exotic hot drinks can be found on every street corner of society. In fact, a sort of cult following has developed around the coffee shop experience. While these drinks can be exciting, delicious and intoxicatingly delightful to our taste buds, they often spell instant doom to any dietary balance we may be trying to achieve in our lives. Certain well known mocha drinks and lattes are well documented to have more than 1,000 calories and 50 grams of fat if consumed in their largest available serving cup. Who would have thought that a cup of coffee could compete against the most calorie-laden fast food meal for wrecking a diet?
Short of total abstinence, what’s a person to do if they want to enjoy the soothing comfort of a rich and flavorful hot beverage?
In a word, tea. More and more people are discovering the extensive and satisfying array of teas that are available, easy to prepare and delicious to consume. Annual tea sales in the United States nearly tripled between the mid-1990’s and the first few years of the twenty first century. It’s no wonder. Tea drinkers can be as passionate about their favorite beverage as any wine connoisseur.
Beyond being delicious, tea is a treasure trove of health benefits. Both green and black teas are heart healthy and antioxidant rich. Unless they are topped off with a teaspoon of sugar or a splash of cream, teas can be consumed and enjoyed any time of the day, as often as desired, with no danger to the waistline. Tea, in and of itself, is calorie-free. Few beverage can boast that claim.
Among tea’s health benefits to the drinker are: reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, fighting certain types of cancers, reduction of cell damage in the body.
Whether your tastes take you to something relaxing such as Bigelow’s Mint Medley or leads you to the wild side in pursuit of Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai, you can be assured of finding a flavor to fit your mood.
Preparation of the perfect cup of tea is disarmingly simple. It starts with fresh, cold water and a good teapot, preferably glass, ceramic or clay in composition. Bring the water to the full boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and then allow it to sit a few moments before beginning the brewing process.
The ideal brewing time for a cup of tea is one to three minutes, depending on personal preference. Any longer than that and, instead of soothing and relaxing, you may end up with bitter and acidic.
Major manufacturers of great tasting teas can be found in your local grocery store and in specialty stores alike. Yogi Tea produces a wonderful array of flavors, such as Egyptian Licorice and Green Tea Gogi Berry that delight and entertain the senses. As a bonus, Yogi Tea includes a tea tag on each bag which, much like Chinese fortune cookies may inspire you as you sip your beverage. “It’s not life that matters; it’s the courage that we bring to it.” Ah, a moment of reprieve for both body and soul!
Tea drinking is a pure and guilt-free experience. You won’t become intoxicated, you won’t blow your diet, you won’t break the bank and you don’t need a degree in culinary education to prepare it. What more could you need to recommend tea as your afternoon treat or after dinner dessert?