Maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lots of tea

It’s the perfect weather for tea.

When I started getting headaches from tea and soda, I began detoxing from flavored everything and thought my days of sipping on a hot cup of tea or grabbing a quick soda were over. A relative told me I would never be able to drink tea again without getting a headache.

Then I went to the doctor and was prescribed the right medication at the right dosage (the took some time finding) and now I don’t get headaches drinking most tea and coke.

Bad news: because I’d gone so long drinking soda they all taste flat to me now.

Great news: tea tastes wonderfully new and delicious to my taste buds!

I dusted off my old tea collection, discovered new teas, and have been partying it up since. I used to own a tea business, so I’d like to pay homage to that on this blog by sharing some of the first flavor combinations I’ve tried since being headache-free.

Before I reveal my flavor combinations, I’d like to share how I’m mixing them. I’d like to preface this to say this is just one way; if you’ve got a tried and true method use what works for you.

Because a small cup of tea isn’t enough

I’ve gotten away mostly from steeping just because I don’t have the patience anymore waiting for traditionally brewed tea, and I brew in large batches because I drink a lot of tea and don’t want to keep making more over and over. Here’s what I do:

I take a wide-mouth 32 oz Mason Jar and fill it up with hot or cold water, whichever I feel in the mood for. Then I dump my tea in (loose-leaf or tear open the tea bags and dump it all in) and stir into the water with a spoon. This allows for maximum surface area exposure of the tea and instant diffusion of flavor.

Then I gently insert a cold brew coffee filter, stainless steel, food-grade, into the mason jar. This will keep all the filtered tea particulate on the outside of the filter and allow you to stick a straw of any kind into the center and drink without having to worry about tea stuff getting sucked up. I prefer using smoothie straws – easy to clean with a brush and keep re-using multiple times.

But what do I do with all those tea leaves?

Tea leaves are high in nitrogen, which is good for plants, so you can add them to your trees or garden, or a compost pile. Or you can just throw them away, whichever works best for you.

Tea combos that will make your taste buds dance

So, without further ado, the first flavor combination is from my old collection: mixing Lipton Southern Sweet Tea with Bigelow Lemon Lift Black Tea. Because I like things strong, I mix 2 bags of each together in the Mason jar. Once I drink it all, I remove the straw, leave the coffee filter in place, and fill it back up with water. If you need more sweetener, you can always add Stevia (which I think enhances the subtle weakened tones of the tea leaves. I can usually get two to three mason jar fills by using this method).   

Now, you might be thinking, that’s a lot of caffeine there. While I can’t personally speak to that since caffeine doesn’t affect me that much (I can drink caffeine before bed and be out like a light in about twenty minutes), the packages do say each tea bag is much less than a cup of coffee, so overall, a full mason jar of the combined bags might be equivalent to a cup of coffee.

But the flavor, oh, it is truly a lemon lift. The combination of lemon swirled with sweet tea is a delight and tastes like a delightful sweet lemon drop cookie with no tartness. It really does lift your day!

The second flavor combination continues with the Lipton Southern Sweet Tea but I combined it with a tea I picked up at a local wine and whiskey festival. There was a booth selling teas that I recognized, but they had a new flavor I hadn’t seen before: Harney & Sons Dragon Pearl Jasmine, which is a combination of green and white tea, according to the ingredients on the tin. I took it home, mixed these together (2 bags each), and was greeted with a lovely jasmine chocolate taste. As I write this I am sipping on my Mason jar of this mixture, relaxed and enjoying my sweet drink. It was a great find at the festival.

The next weekend I combined the Dragon Pearl Jasmine with the Lemon Lift (two packets each in the Mason jar) and those tones mixed together produced a subtle taste of hint of cinnamon and chocolate, according to my picky taste buds. A nice combination that got me through a day of grading, class building, and planning for the weekend. I tried it hot and cold, and the cold had a richer tone to it; to me, the hot water seemed to mask the taste.

The week after I waited to try another flavor I picked up at that same festival: Harney & Sons Earl Grey Supreme. I did various combinations, with and without the Lipton Southern Sweet Tea (which by now you’ve probably figured out is a staple of mine); with and without Stevia (I did prefer the Stevia taste). In all combinations, it had a beautiful taste of dark chocolate, especially in hot water. I will say though this one only lasted one round in the Mason jar; when I refilled the jar to have a second cup of tea it tasted very dull and watered down.

When I first tried it, the weather had gotten chilly. We had just put the heater in our greenhouse for our winter garden, and I was taking a heavy jacket to work. To relax in the evenings I wanted a soothing hot tea, and this one delighted my taste buds while satisfying my dessert craving.

These Amazon purchase links I’ve used myself, or have found similar links to buy in bulk—last week I stocked up on these teas to tide me over the holidays, as I tend to drink tea like a fish when I work from home. So even if there is a shortage over the yuletide season I will be set sipping away on my flavors of choice.

That’s my tea report for now. I’ll keep you posted on more tips and tricks as I venture back into the world of tea. It’s like greeting an old friend from a long respite, and I’m being welcomed back home with surprise gifts. I can’t wait to try out old and new combinations again.

That’s my tea report for now. I’ll keep you posted on more tips and tricks as I venture back into the world of tea. It’s like greeting an old friend from a long respite, and I’m being welcomed back home with surprise gifts. I can’t wait to try out old and new combinations again.

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