5 Spring Teas to Add to Your Pantry
Spring has arrived, which means it's time to pack away your heavy coats, dust off your windbreakers and open-toed shoes, and get back to tending your garden. And when you don't have your hands in the earth, or your feet in a pair of hiking shoes, you can post up on the porch and enjoy the season's splendors with a cup of springtime tea. Nothing says blooming flowers, soft breezes and warm afternoon air quite like these bright, herbal and earthy brews:
This traditional Chinese tea can land anywhere between a green tea and a black tea in terms of hue. It's flavor can range from fruity and sweet, to floral, to woody and aromatic depending on where it is grown and how it is processed.
This spring, we recommend erring on the brighter side with a high-altitude Taiwanese oolong. These incredible tea leaves are known for having a light, vegetal flavor reminiscent of early April, that evolves on the palate into a more rounded, floral quality than you'll find in a green tea – like the end of May. No tea embodies spring quite as completely as a good oolong. But take heed: this tea needs to be steeped at 195 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes. Make sure you use a precision kettle like the Mr. Coffee® Hot Tea Maker and Kettle to retain oolong's complexity.
If a floral, scented brew to complement the lightness of spring's evening air sounds nice to you, then jasmine is your cup of tea. Primarily produced in China, Vietnam and Japan, this brew typically has a green-tea base that is scented with the aroma of jasmine.
The flower is often referred to as "the cool beauty of the night" because it only opens at sunset. Jasmine is reveled for its calming properties, and is often used as an aid in the treatment of anxiety, headaches and skin irritation. When you steep these perfumed tea leaves, the result is a taste as light as the air that jasmine flowers prefer. Just make sure that you don't let your jasmine tea sit any longer than six months if it has a green tea base. It won't necessarily spoil, but it may increase in oxidization which does alter flavor. For a longer-lasting jasmine tea, go with a black-tea base. The flavor won't be quite as bright, but it will last until next spring.
Every rose has its thorn, and spring's is the allergies that come along with it. However, the millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies may find reprieve from the big sneeze in the form of, you guessed it, tea. Specifically, we're talking about a plant with southern African origins known as rooibos (commonly pronounced "roy-boss"). Meaning "red bush" in Afrikaans, roobios makes this list if for no other reason than its immune-system building and anti-oxidant properties. According to LIVESTRONG, the secret is high flavonoid content.
This caffeine-free, herbal tea is also a favorite among tea drinkers for its mild, slightly sweet but earthy flavor. Its taste can be spruced up with vanilla, berries, hibiscus and other additives to accommodate a range of palates.
Hailing from the Yunnan province of China, pu-erh (or pu'er) holds a special place in tea lovers' hearts. Like scotch, this tea takes on more character with age, with some leaves dating back several decades.
Of course, that's not to say that a young pu-erh is without character. Leaves that are only given a few years to ripen tend to have a sweeter, almost floral quality, but with noticeable bitterness. One might even say, a young pu-ehr invokes the sprightliness of spring – which also happens to be the best time of year to pick these leaves. A mature pu-ehr that has been allowed to age 10-20 years has deeper, complex and more earthy tones that go well with an afternoon of raking flower beds. While many consider this to be the "sweet spot," some swear that the older the tea, the better. It is said that when pu-erh is properly aged for 50 to 100 years, it takes on unparalleled elegance in flavor. For now, we'll just have to take that on faith.
5. Ginger and Turmeric Teas
The small southern Japanese island of Okinawa is known worldwide as being home to some of the longest-living people on the planet. Okinawans are five times more likely to live to be 100 than the rest of Japan, a country that, as a whole, has a higher average lifespan than any place on Earth. The reason? Well, there a number of factors, including a strong sense of community. But many believe the secret to being a 100-year-old spring chicken is none other than turmeric tea.
Turmeric is a close relative of ginger, and it takes on that spicy, but ever-so-sweet property that makes for some of the best tea you will ever have. Ginger and turmeric have anti-nausea benefits and antioxidant properties. In a tea, they go deliciously with a splash of lemon, a few tablespoons of honey and the fresh air of a spring afternoon.