Ah, winter is finally upon us. The brisk weather and freezing winds are almost quite refreshing… for about five minutes, at which point I am thoroughly sick of it and want to hibernate until next April. Winter is a great time for drinking tea though – a nice soothing, warming drink that is also gently stimulating and aids hydration. Let’s look at the best ways of enjoying a brew when the wind is howling and the temperatures and falling, and some of our favorite blends to relax with on a chilly December day.
A cup of English Breakfast tea in the morning
It’s hard enough to prise yourself out of bed in the AM at any time of year, but in winter when you’ve made yourself some kind of duvet chrysalis and its cold outside, its nigh-on impossible. A good cup of tea can make the difference between just 5 more minutes, and turning off the alarm and sleeping in way too late. An English Breakfast blend is just the thing – a decent amount of caffeine, as well as the strong, reassuring taste of black tea, will awaken the senses and warm the tum, making it seem a little less daunting to venture out of the house before the sun is even up properly.
A warming cup of liquorice root tea at mid-morning
During the winter, it’s all too easy to succumb to seasonal coughs, colds, and other lurgies, so it’s a good time to make sure your immune system is up to scratch. Many herbal teas contain ingredients that can help you fight off seasonal illnesses, including liquorice root – this can help by reducing painful swelling in the throat, as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Liquorice root also helps your body expel mucus from the respiratory tract. Gross, but effective. Some teas also contain Echinacea, which is thought to boost the immune system and can even help to reduce the duration of a cold.
An afternoon treat with an Earl Grey tea
An enduring English pastime is the traditional afternoon tea, at around 3 – 4pm when tea is served alongside some light refreshments, such as small sandwiches, biscuits or cakes. The authentic afternoon tea would probably involve scones with lashings of jam and cream, but this may be a bit too rich for some. A small snack in the afternoon can help to boost your concentration for the rest of the day and stave off hunger cravings before dinner, and a nice fragrant cup of Earl Grey is the perfect accompaniment. This tea is flavored with bergamot oil from the rind of the bergamot orange. While this distinctive and strongly flavored tea may be an acquired taste for some, it’s worth sampling a few times, as it truly makes you feel like royalty.
A spicy Chai blend after getting home
Ugh, I hate getting rained on. Especially that British winter rain that appears to fall sideways, rendering my umbrella obsolete and somehow getting into my shoes at the same time. When you’ve been caught out in a rainstorm and arrive home freezing, soaking and in not the best of moods, a big cup of rich, spicy chai with the flavours of cardamom, cloves and cinnamon is the best thing to warm you up and help you forget that you basically live in Mordor for 6 months of the year. Chai is an Indian blend of tea known in its native country as Masala chai and is traditionally made with rich black tea, full-fat milk, a combination of various spices including cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper, as well as a sweetener such as sugar or honey.
A cup of Rooibos tea before bed
At the end of the day when you are settling in before bed, it’s nice to have a warming cup of tea to relax with. But if you find that tends to wake you up right before bedtime, it could be due to the caffeine content of most green or black teas. Rooibos tea, which is also known as red bush, is a flavorsome tea made from the leaves of the rooibos plant native to South Africa. While this is not a traditional tea in that it is not made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, Rooibos tea is pleasant and naturally sweet-tasting and can be served in the traditional British way with milk and sugar. Some Rooibos blends are flavored with vanilla, making it a great choice for a tasty after-dinner treat.