Just as iced tea gets its own commemoration during the summer, hot tea has rightly received equal recognition, as the month of January has been designated “National Hot Tea Month.” There is so much to be said about the benefits of hot tea – it’s soothing to not just the body, but the mind and soul as well. Hot tea allows one to wind down from a long, stressful day, forcing you to slow down during the tea making process. It is likened to a ceremony – select a favorite teacup, measure out the tea leaves, boil the water, pour the water over the leaves and watch the tea extract in a wispy cloud throughout the cup, breathe in the tea’s aroma, relax.
It is no mystery that hot tea provides a range of health benefits, some of which go so far as to improve one’s quality of life. Flavonoids are natural compounds contained in tea that offer antioxidant properties preventing damage to cells caused by free radicals. The immune system can also benefit from the amino acid theanine contained in tea, which has been known to prevent the onset of a cold or flu. The risks of stroke and heart disease are also lowered when regularly drinking tea. A noteworthy mention is the polyphenols, a natural compound found in some teas, can greatly protect against many cancers. Bone health is another benefit derived from polyphenols. Tea has half of the caffeine content as coffee, so drinking tea in the afternoon and evening can actually improve mood and concentration without the crash associated with coffee. But one should remember that excessively added sweeteners and dairy would offset the health benefits that are naturally included in tea.
Obviously not one tea will suit every person, which is what makes the various tea types quite encompassing – black, green, herbal, rooibos, white. With over 50 teas in our collection, it is difficult to name just one favorite or bestseller; however, here are a few that we are enjoying right now:
- Black Pearl Gunpowder Black Tea – Gunpowder tea got its name from how the tea leaves resembled granules of the black ammunition powder, as well as its smoky flavor. The “Black Pearl” part actually comes from the way the tea leaves are processed – rolled into pearl-sized balls by experienced tea experts – a Chinese tradition that dates back generations. This black tea is from the eastern part of the Chinese Province of Fujian. The pleasing aroma and mild, full-bodied taste with slight notes of smokiness makes this tea a wonderful way to ward off the chill of winter.
- Joyous Wintertime Herbal Tea – This is an herbal tea that includes real pieces of cinnamon sticks, cranberries, apples, almonds, pomegranate seeds, and other complementing herbs and spices. The longer this tea steeps, the more it tastes like candied pomegranate, as the natural sweetness of the fruits is extracted. This is one that could easily be sipped on all day long.
- Maple Walnut Truffle Green Tea – Despite January’s reinstituted resolutions, there are times when we still crave something sweet. This green tea is blended with chunks of walnuts and pieces of brittle, and when steeped properly, tastes just like a stack of pancakes dripping with real maple syrup – without all the added calories!
- Mint Verbena Herbal Tea – Mint and lemon are natural cleansing agents, so it stands to reason that would also be the case in tea. This herbal tea is refreshing and bright with the naturally complementing spearmint and lemon verbena flavors. This would be a great morning tea to ease into the day or a tea to end the night on.
- Queen City Black Tea Blend – Our signature blend is one that we really cannot get enough of – it just tastes good day in and day out. We have taken traditional English Breakfast tea and blended it with a medium-bodied black tea from Sumatra, which adds subtle notes cedar and walnut.
- Sparkling Citrus Herbal Tea – Mid-winter blues and sickness can put a damper on anyone’s day, but this wellness tea wrought with sweet citrus flavors and brisk herbs goes a long way in lifting spirits and clearing the head while warming the body.