Besides water, tea is undeniably my drink of choice on a daily basis. And by tea, I mean organic, loose leaf green, white and herbal teas in different varieties. But I wasn’t always a tea fan. In my early teens, my Indian pen pal sent me a package of premium Assam black tea from her family’s plantation. While I was thrilled to receive such a precious gift, I was probably too young to fully appreciate the taste. My parents devoured it. I would go through a passionate love affair with caffé (never coffee) and cappuccino during my years in Italy, and a later addiction to diet coke (yikes!) before I came to fully appreciate the beauty of tea. The years I spent in Korea certainly helped me along.
So what’s so special about tea? Here are my 5 reasons for loving it:
1. The Taste
Obviously I love the taste of it. Tea to me is like wine: tasting it is a subtle affair. There are so many varieties and blends that I can always find what I’m in the mood for. A word of caution though: there is such a thing as bad-tasting tea. Green tea steeped too long turns bitter. And the better tasting teas don’t come in bags from the grocery store, so experiment with quality loose leaf tea before deciding you don’t like the taste of it.
2. The Health Benefits
Where do I begin? Tea strengthens the immune system, has anti-stress properties, is cleansing, detoxifying and longevity promoting. White and green teas have a particularly high content of antioxidants and are potent sources of vitamins and minerals. As part of a healthy lifestyle, tea helps prevent illness, promotes mental clarity and stimulates neural activity. And the list doesn’t end there.
I tended to favor cold drinks over warm, but that began to change during the five years I lived in Asia. Hot tea seemed ubiquitous, and I started to drink it even during meals, often for lack of alternatives. Come to realize, it’s much better for the digestion to drink warm or at least room temperature drinks during a meal, instead of the ice cold fare that’s favored in the West. In fact, I’ve even started to order my water in restaurants without the ice cubes. And I absolutely love my tea hot- the warmth that it brings to my insides is very comforting.
4. Tea Is Natural
With tea it’s very easy to see how it is a natural product- loose leaf tea is so clearly a plant. Humans were not meant to consume artificial food-like substances. The mere sight of the bright colored sodas, sports drinks and juices out there makes me appreciate my beautiful and fragrant teas even more.
5. The Ceremony
Although I spent years in Asia I’m not conducting traditional tea ceremonies in my home! But the act of preparing my tea every day, several times a day to me has a ceremonial element to it. I like to make it a mindful, personal practice. I like to do it with appreciation, gratitude and presence. It’s the little things in life that count the most, after all!
Why do you drink tea? How do you like to drink it? What tea/s do you prefer?
My favorite supplier for ordering quality organic loose leaf teas online is Mountain Rose Herbs. I blend my own teas at home so their special discounts for bulk orders come in handy! And I know I can trust their ethics and integrity.
All images © 2014-2017 Pauliina Parris. // All rights reserved.