Friday, November 22, 2013

My Cup Of Tea

The best flavored beverage for me is tea.  And not some sort of iced tea mix, just real plant parts steeped in water.  No sugar, just flavor, water, some antioxidants, caffeine sometimes.  (The health benefits/costs of caffeine are frequently debated since it is America's favorite drug.  I try not to make a daily habit of it, but it sure is helpful if I've had a short night or I have to prop my eyelids open long enough to get through a long procedural document.)

I'm a bit snooty about my teas.  I'd like the whole experience to be pleasant, not just getting my caffeine hit as quickly and cheaply as I can.  I find the better quality teas are all loose leaf teas.

I don't normally recommend products, but I'm in the mood today.

First of all, I recommend Upton Tea for caffeinated teas.  I've not been real impressed with the herbal selections, but every green tea I've tried has been of good quality.  My absolute favorite is Jasmine Pearls.  I was initially spoiled by a gift to my mother and now I can't go back to ordinary tea.
Jasmine Pearls
It is quite pricey, I recommend you try a variety of Upton's 15g sample packets before you spend a lot of money on tea you may not like.  If you are a daily drinker this may be a bit steeply priced.  I have it as an occasional treat so I justify it to myself.

For a long time I used a normal tea ball for brewing my tea, but somehow it got misplaced during the move.  I picked up a new one at the local grocery store, and it was a complete piece of junk.  So with my next Upton tea order, I looked at their infuser options, and settled on a Finum Brewing Basket.

Finum Brewing Basket
The mug that you can get with it is just a small clear mug that has no integration features with the basket.  Just get the basket and use with your favorite mug.  It even fits in my tapered mug that's a little narrow at the bottom.  It could get lost in an extra wide mug, the handles are designed to sit on the mug rim.  The basket has lots of room for the leaves to move around and open up, it's easy to remove, the lid serves as a good drip tray, and it's easy to dump out the used leaves.  I highly recommend it.

I'm still considering my options for herbal teas.  I'd like to move to a loose leaf tea, but I've not been fond of Upton's offerings I've tried.  (All the bags, tags, individual wraps are wasteful and don't brew as well as the basket.)  Maybe I could order plain hibiscus from Upton and blend in my own fruit/spice flavorings.

I'm currently drinking Twinings Orange & Cinnamon Spice.  It's a nice warm-up when I come in from the cold in the morning and don't need caffeine.  If I'm really cold I will spike it with a little honey to get the internal furnace going.

So that's my cup of tea, what's yours?