12.5.11 Tea House
I'm very into tea. I've never been into coffee (although I do like the occasional cup, especially with lots of cream and sugar) but I really enjoy the ritual of gripping a steaming mug of something first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I bring G a cup in bed around 7:30am and he brings me one at around 10pm. We favor herbal teas, though my repertoire includes some green and black teas as well. The latter I will often drink with a splash of milk, and a spoonful of local honey goes into almost all of them. In the winter, I will sometimes sip tea all day long. As I write this, I am wondering if this is why my teeth are starting to look yellow. Hmmm. Well, anyway, it's better than red wine. Or coffee. Or just as good. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.
Mariage Frères teas are expensive, so you know I love them. They are French and very voluptous with fabulously romantic names like Marco Polo and Wedding Imperial and Black Orchid and Eros. They are of course very hard to find unless you are in Paris, but try here or here.
Did you ever watch The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the HBO show with the incredible Jill Scott and the hilarious Anika Noni Rose? I loved that show and it got canceled after one season, I heard because Jill got pregnant. It took place in Botswana and the ladies were constantly downing cup after cup of bush tea. That's what rooibos is, "African red bush," a broom-like member of the legume family (caffeine-free) that is full of antioxidants. It has a mild flavor that is sometimes nice enhanced with vanilla or cinnamon.
We go through a lot of tea. I buy it in bulk, sometimes from Fairway, sometimes Kalustyan's and recently from Harney & Sons, either online or at their store on Broome Street in SoHo. I seem to have a lot in common with Mike Harney's wife, Brigitte, because all the teas she "requests" are the ones I like best. Like this ginger and licorice blend that is potent and soothing all at the same time.
Brigitte and I also love this roasted buckwheat tea. It's kind of like the Korean roasted corn tea I used to drink when I lived in LA. Nutty and delicious, and great with a spoonful of buckwheat honey. Remind me to make ice cream with this.
G is a big fan of mint tea. I think he got into the habit when he was having all his stomach ailments (HE'S CURED, HE'S CURED!!!!!) but he still likes it a lot. It's not my favorite but I do drink it quite a bit. Also good for digestion. And bad breath.
Jasmine pearls are so gorgeous, the way they bloom in hot water, giving off of a luscious floral smell and a subtle sweetness. It strikes me that this is a girly tea, but I like serving it to men, too.
My latest obsession is this green tea that's spicy with cinnamon. It actually doesn't need any honey because it's mysteriously sweet on its own. They say cinnamon is good for a sweet tooth (which I definitely have) and it's also anti-inflammatory, so this is a good choice for feeling both indulged and virtuous. It also comes decaf.
I'm not into tea bags. Too wasteful. Instead, I have a plethora of tea infusing spoons like these and these; here are some other annoying options. I also have this glass carafe with a built-in tea infuser and a neoprene zip-on jacket to keep it warm. Very chic and could make a great gift for some pathetic stay-at-home writer who can't even leave the house to get a cup of tea.