Tea is such a big part of many cultures, including ours in North America. I descend from Northern Irish folk (Britons) who call the bubbles after pouring tea “money” and believe the milk does not cool down the tea, the tea “warms the milk” (and milk always goes into the cup first). There really isn’t an occasion, when you’re alone or with others, that doesn’t call for tea, according to my Grandma. It warms you up on cold day, and cools you down on a hot one (from sweating, I presume).
And it’s got caffeine. A drug that is addictive.
When I was trying to beat my depression, I decided to tackle my physical health as an attempt to improve my mental health. Part of that involved cutting out caffeine. No coffee or tea. Are there health benefits to coffee and tea? Sure. Are there multi-million dollar companies funding research into the health benefits of their products? Yes, and I don’t disagree that perhaps coffee and tea drinking over a lifetime may help prevent cancer (so does staying inside). I just know that for me, I felt a lot better when I cut out caffeine. I started getting happier, and I’m not going back (except when Grandma offers me a cup of tea, because, you know).
Here is a quick blog about some great, cheap tea. Because let’s face it, tea is also a huge industry and you can spend a lot of money when you start going to places like David’s Tea, Teaopia, or even Starbucks, for your hot-water-on-leaves.
Spruce: Go native. Find a spruce tree, and put some in some boiling water. Tastes sprucey. The native people of Canada taught the pioneers about this in the early days of our nation. To prove that I’m not crazy, this blog titled “American Bushman” can vouch for spruce being delicious, natural, healthy tea. (ALSO – ripping off leaves from a tree is FREE.)
Ginger: Buy ginger root. It looks very odd, and I once put a small piece in my cart at the grocery store and my husband thought it was garbage and was going to leave it there when we were checking out, but it’s very cheap (since it’s light and you’re charged by the weight). I only use about one slice for one cup of tea, about the size of a quarter, and store the rest in a baggy in my fridge. If the ginger root is smaller than a quarter, I might use two slices. I tend to slice mine thin, and I don’t peel it, but you probably should. Add boiling water, and you get a tea which aids in digestion (like a ginger ale when you’re feeling sick, except without the sugar).
Anise: This is a seed you can buy in the bulk barn. It makes a tea that tastes like licorice. Again, aids in digestion. An Armenian friend of mine serves this alongside regular tea and coffee at her house – and I love it. It’s light and refreshing. You don’t need much (a couple pinches for one cup, or a teaspoon for a pot). The seeds are pretty fine so you can either use a strainer, or try your luck at letting them float around and sink to the bottom and just stop drinking when you can’t take a sip without getting a mouthful of seeds (like the Chinese do, with their loose leaf green tea).
The above three are the only teas I can attest to personally as being delicious, caffeine-free and so cheap it’s disgusting. But there are lots of other teas you can find at the Bulk Barn or bulk section of your grocery store, if you look!
What’s your favourite tea? Where do you buy it?