Sunday, February 21, 2010
Tea for Two ~
I am a true lover of teas.
My favorite quote that graces the bottom of my email signature reads ~
"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be diminished by a nice cup of tea."~Bernard Paul Heroux(1900's Basque philosopher)
It's not just because he was Basque like I am...it's just simply the truth. I've tested out his quote theory for years and found over and over again that a lovely, simple cup of one's favorite hot tea can truly relieve most troubles and restore a sense of peace and warmth to the soul. Drinking tea is a cherished and ancient ritual that dates back to the earliest of civilizations and cultures, as well as being used for its healing powers. The true country of tea's origin is China, and its history and impact on the world is truly fascinating.
As we've established...tea has history on its side, as well as a sense of elegance that seems to accompany each leaf, each pot, each sip. Black tea, Green, White, Oolong...mmmmmm
The flip side of honoring the true history and beauty of tea is found in a quote I once heard from a very strange fellow who referred to tea in this manor..."hot tea is basically the equivalent to drinking...(okay wait for it)...weed water!" At the pronouncement of this statement, monarchies all over the world crumbled and deceased royalty were literally rolling over in their graves.
Have you ever wondered how "afternoon tea" came to be? I found this interesting article about the conception of this event...The English ceremony of Afternoon Tea dates back to the 1840s but rather than being 'invented', it actually evolved out of the rituals and routines that had surrounded tea drinking in Britain before that time...
A fun piece of French tea history comes from my most beloved tea company, Mariage Freres, goes like so...Around 1660, on behalf of King Louis XIV and the French East India Company, the ancestors of the Mariage brothers sailed to distant lands on a quest for new exotic flavours of tea. Tea soon became a strong family passion maintained over the centuries in a tradition of excellence in taste and creativity, giving birth of the French Art of Tea.
I could go on and on about this topic - there are thousands of varieties from hundreds of countries around the world, all boasting their own unique flavors and qualities, depending upon their origin. Personally, whenever I travel to another country I always try a foreign tea and if I enjoy it, bring some home! It's a true treat and lovely way to later conjure up the memory of a hot cup of tea you drank or pot you shared while sitting along the Seine or the Yangtze rivers.
Here are a few of my most favorite teas:
- Mariage Freres - A "must visit" to their gorgeous shop when in Paris!
- The Hediard - Another lovely spot in Paris and be sure to have lunch there
- Harmony Tea - Delightful and the wrapped bags come in reusable tins
- Tazo Tea - Fun website that reads your tea leaves and great teas in so many flavors
- Davidson's Tea - A northern Nevada local favorite offering organic teas
- Mighty Leaf Teas - Some of my favorites and I love their loose leaf bags and silk tea pouches
- Yogi Tea - Offering detox, and more medicinal teas that heal the body
- The Tao of Tea - I dig their flowery herbal blends
- Harney & Sons Fine Teas - They make a delicious raspberry herbal ice brew
- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - Their Ceylon teas are simply delicious
As I wrap up this post while sipping my favorite Tazo lemon green tea with honey and warming by the fire (it's been snowing here for 24 hours straight!)I am reminded of what simple pleasures come from a delicious cup of tea and what it can do for my spirit and mood. There's a comfort that your favorite cup of tea provides, not to mention its nourishing and healthy qualities.
I'm not sure what flavor or brand of tea tomorrow will bring to my lips, but I look forward to the surprise...right now, I'm leaning towards a delicious Early Grey partnered with warm almond milk and my favorite honey from Marshall's Farm.
What are your favorite (gluten-free) teas that you would love to share?
Sweet tea to you~