Monday, January 21, 2013

Hot Tea Month 2013

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Chef Diane

This country gained its independence in 1773 over tea.  The revolutionary war began with the Boston Tea Party, where the colonists refused to pay tax demanded by England on 3 ships loaded with tea.  According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., Inc., drinking hot tea has many health benefits with antioxidants for cancer risk reduction, increased blood flow for cardiovascular health and increased energy expenditure that may help combat obesity.
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Here in the south, we are well known for our sweet iced tea, but during the winter months hot tea with a little lemon and honey not only warms the insides, but also soothes the throat.  I have often heard that the English do not understand the way Americans drink tea.  First they brew it to make it hot, then pour it over ice to make it cold.  Add sugar to make it sweet, then lemon to make it sour.  I'm sure it is very confusing.  In England, drinking tea is more of an event, than a thirst quencher.  My cousin's job transferred her to England several years ago, and my aunt recently went to visit her.  During her visit they went out for tea.  It was served in fine china along with finger sandwiches and pastries. She felt like Alice in Wonderland having a tea party in the afternoon.
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January is a time for new beginnings, health and the home. Not coincidentally, it's also National Hot Tea Month. Whether you're drinking to new beginnings, your health or the domestic realm, these are 31 ways you can celebrate Hot Tea Month. listed the following suggestions on ways to celebrate Hot Tea Month.  They include:

1.         Check out the best detox teas and try a few to see what works for you.
2.         Revisit old favorites (such as "herbal teas" / tisanes like chamomile and peppermint). If it has been in the back of your cupboard for a while, invest in a fresh batch. Your taste buds will thank you!
3.         Try some healthy teas that are new to you, like kombucha, pu-erh and white tea.

Try Wintry Flavors
4.         Brew a ginger black tea, ginger green tea or ginger "tea" using fresh ginger root or a ginger tea blend. Both are delicious and warming.
5.         Try a cardamom black tea or make your own Spicy Cardamom Tisane.
6.         Buy citrusy tea blends, or add a little orange or lemon zest to your brews.

Nurture Yourself
7.         Savor Japanese green teas like Sencha, Matcha and Gyokuro, which are all high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
8.         Rooibos is rich in minerals and antioxidants. Brew regular, green or flavored rooibos straight or as a tea latte.
9.         Remember that the healthiest teas are the teas you'll stick with. As long as it's pure (no milk or sweeteners), if you want to drink it every day, it's good for you!

Hibernate with Classic Tisanes
10.       Rejuvenate with mint. Peppermint is the most popular mint tisane, but spearmint is a tasty twist.
11.       Calming chamomile is the antithesis of coffee. Sip it by a fire or over a good book.
12.       Ginger "tea" is warming, soothing and enlivening. Try it before venturing out into a cold winter's day.

Brew Better Tea
13.       Find out why leaf teas usually trump teabags.
14.       Explore five easy ways to brew whole-leaf teas.
15.       Use quality water to brew your tea.
16.       Leave bitter tea behind! Teas taste far better when made with the right brewing time and brewing temperature.
17.       Get the right water temperature, store your tea for freshness and more with this easy tea equipment.

Expand Your Tea Horizons
18.       Try new white teas, such as Silver Needles, White Peony or White Darjeeling.
19.       Try a new green tea, like one of my Best Green Teas for Newbies, or use green tea as a base for my Top 10 Green Tea Recipes.
20.       Try a new oolong tea, such as fruity Bai Hao Oolong or mineraly Wuyi Oolong.
21.       Try a new black tea. If you usually drink flavored black teas, try an unflavored black tea. If you usually drink breakfast blends and the like, try an Assam, Keemun or Yunnan.
22.       Check out this list of common tea drinks for inspiration on more elaborate tea drinks you can make at home.

Store Your Tea Properly
23.       Learn to store your tea properly for maximum flavor and minimal spoilage. (This is such an important point; it gets its own heading!)

Try Some Tea Variations
24.       Make alcoholic tea drinks at home with tea-infused spirits. Blending them with hot tea for hot cocktails is optional.
25.       Meet your coffee cravings halfway with tea lattes and other milky tea drinks.

Cook with Tea
26.       Use green tea, veggies, fish/tofu and leftover rice to make ochazuke ("tea soup").
27.       Bake spiced, wintry barm brack (an Irish favorite). In many baking recipes, you can also use brewed tea as a substitute for water or substitute a small amount of Matcha powder for flour.
28.       Read this list of ways to cook with tea for ideas on how to cook with tea every day.

Find Teas You'll Love
29.       There's a growing list of loose-leaf tea reviews, teabag reviews and other coffee / tea reviews on About. Check it out now, and check back again later for more!
30.       Explore different tea flavor profiles with tea samplers and tea of the month clubs. listed the following suggestions on ways to celebrate Hot Tea Month.  They include:31.    It's said that you cannot learn all there is to know about tea in an entire lifetime. However, you can get the basics down with an easy, free Tea 101 e-course. Sign up today!
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January is Hot Tea Month, so take some time and relax with a nice hot cup of tea, or host a tea party of your own.

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