I love tea... and I'm not as picky as some when it comes to loose leaf vs. bagged. I still have a picky palate and I've come to realise my tea tastes have evolved a little over time. I've been using Steeped Tea products on occasion for years since a friend introduced me to the company. I'm also a fan of some of the Tazo varieties and my all-time-favourite tea is still the White Christmas by Stash. It's like a cozy sweater in a cup. (It's also great for soothing sore tummies with its blend of mint and ginger.) I'm NOT a fan of most of the traditional brands, but in a pinch, they will do.
Fast forward to now... I have a cupboard full of teas in all varieties. Green, black, rooibos, fruit, latte blends, and more. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan (eek!) of all the flavours I have in my tea basket. This is expensive quality product that you don't just want to toss if you don't like it. Black & green teas are not my most favourite varieties as my tastes have changed, but I've ended up with some in my kits.... so we improvise and try some new-to-me ideas on brewing a cup and blending to find just the right fix.
In my ongoing ever-present quest to live a practical healthy lifestyle, I've cut way back on my diet pop consumption (I don't stock it in the fridge anymore.) We also don't drink fruit juice (or fruity drinks) on a regular basis (and really, juice has never been a big part of our diet.) I've been experimenting with my loose leafs and have found that switching up how you brew and blend can leave you with fabulous results that feed the cravings for those unhealthier choices.
We've found that Justin & I enjoy rooibos blends iced (various methods) and berry fruit blends are fantastic no matter how you drink them. I love brewing our own iced teas and I still use a simple syrup for sweetening, but my ratio of sugar to water in the syrup and syrup to water in the tea blend is minimal.
To put it in perspective, I have read that 4 grams of white sugar (granulated) is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar. (Side note, did you know a can of Coke gives you 11 teaspoons of sugar in one easy convenient drink???? Ick!) I brew a jug with 8 servings of tea, with one cup of simple syrup, and approx. 2 teaspoons of sugar in my simple syrup. So my one cup is divided by 8 servings... which means my 2 teaspoons of sugar are now spread across those 8 servings leaving me with 1/4 tsp. of sugar per serving or 1 gram of sugar per serving. I can live with that... it's not eliminating the sugar completely, but it's definitely a better option without adding artificial sweeteners to the mix.
Earlier this week I tried Berry Mania tea strong-steeped, iced, and topped with Perrier - pop with a subtle flavour - almost like an Italian soda. Sparkling, but not overly sweet. The bubbles hit those soda cravings without all the crap. I've also been doing various teas (iced) and blended with lemonade (not the real stuff... it's all about the small changes!) I do 2/3 tea to 1/3 lemonade ratio and serve on ice. This works well with fruit teas... but last night I switched it up with a smooth Earl Grey de la Creme and topped with a splash of Perrier. Wow!
Tonight I'm brewing one of my green teas. It smells fantastic but I. Don't. Like. Green. Tea. Until I tried a sip... mint mojito. I'm icing it now and will blend it with my lemonade for my morning on the go drink. Because what's better than mint lemonade... or green tea lemonade... or mint green tea lemonade. I'm thinking this would also be a fabulous one topped with sparkling water.
So long story told... I've learned that even if a certain blend isn't my cup of tea (we're talking about you Banana Split Fruit Tea - ugh!), there's generally a way to incorporate that blend into a new or tastier brew to make a cup that's... welll... just my cup of tea. (PS, Justin loves the Banana Split - I think it smells like Carribean rum cake and plan on using it for a Bundt cake with an infused-rum glaze. Ah, memories of Jamaica!)
What's your favourite cup of tea?