I get asked a ton of questions about tea and tisanes, but the one that stands out to me is, of course, from Jacob.
"Why would you drink tea when you could have coffee?"
Well, most "Tea People" I know would start with the health benefits. There are so many that my hands got tired before I started writing this today just thinking about it. But being the honest Tea Lady I am - I will share a secret. Coffee is great for you too! Especially men. Now I did say too, which means in addition to tea. Hunt & I have great fun bringing health reports to each other's attention. It goes something like this:
H - "Turns out coffee is also good for the colon"
M - "Well, teas antioxidants are unprecedented"
H - "Coffee is full of them as well"
M - "Yeah, but I have Matcha and Green Tea Pomegranate, so beat that..."
This is a typical if not silly version of how to get bogged down in the details. Of course the truth is they are both good for you. Check out HealthCastle.com and search "benefits of tea and coffee" if you want to read for yourself. Be forewarned they are not as nice about the things we add to our coffee and tea (ie milk, sugar, half 'n half, honey - I can hear Kelly laughing at the computer, head tilted back..."that's why I drink Soy, hahahahaha"). But there are other reasons to love tea. Let me explain...
First is the Forgiveness Issue - Remember forgiving someone is a gift you give yourself.
Being American, I can see why we stopped drinking tea...we were miffed at the British. The taxes were too high...the representation was too low (wait, this is sounding like today - let me be more specific). I am talking about the Boston Tea Party - a bunch of angry Yanks dumping tea into the Boston harbor in protest. It became a patriotism issue. If you drank tea, you sided with the Red Coats. Well, I feel that we have decidedly gotten our revenge over that mean ol' King George - we are a super-power people. So, drinking tea is an act of unity and forgiveness. Don't you feel better about it already.
Next, no other beverage warms or sooths you quite like your favorite cup of tea (I recommend a Margaret's Soother or Lemon Sunset.) When the weather is 27 degrees outside, there is something about a Lemon tea that sooths a throat that has been battered by cold air.
Another is experimentation. Now while we all know that this can go too far, a little experimentation is healthy and vital to sanity in my opinion. Tea is generally used as a beverage at a meal (for us Southerns, that means weak tea, heavy sugar and lots of ice). But tea can transport you to another country or time and place. I've never been to India - I really want to go. But I have tasted some of the finest Assams, Darjeelings, and Chai Spice that India has to offer right in the comfort of the hippie booth or the man cave if I'm feeling sassy. However, tea can also be an ingredient in almost anything. Scones, cakes, cookies, glazes, casseroles, hookah tobacco...if you don't believe me, just ask I'll get you the recipe.
Next, there is the global angle. Safehouse cares deeply( to the point of obsession) about some subjects - direct trade farming (dealing as directly with the farmers as we can) and the global drug trade (stopping it, of course, not funding it)! We realize that the greatest impact we can have on the other side of the hemisphere or world is to pay a good price for a great product. If the families that have grown these teas (and coffees) for generations are paid a sustainable wage then they will not be as tempted to burn their crops and plant poppies or coca trees. But I guess that is a statement for coffee and tea.
Finally, there is simply nothing better than sharing a pot of tea with a friend. Forgetting the laundry or the party that you have to plan and just being with a friend and telling stories, catching up (okay, I totally realize this is a girly moment- indulge me - I am after all the only female of the Safehouse baristas). At that moment, smiling, laughing, passing the honey...time stands still and relationship takes priority over the rat race. That is why I drink and love tea. Don't get me wrong - I love a Hot Chocolate Mocha or a mug of Happy Monk as much as the rest of you, but once you experience great teas (not the garbage in the grocery aisle), it is hard to keep the passion inside.
So my question to Jacob is, why not?