January is National Hot Tea Month

I didn’t even know there was a whole month dedicated to tea. Did you?

Anyway, let’s all admit it: tea rocks. It’s one of those little wonders that we all should be drinking more of. It boosts metabolism and decreases hunger, aiding weight loss and management, and helps build immunities to fight off cold and flu.

The first references to tea are a bit obscure, and go back five thousand years. Chinese literature says that Emperor Shen Nung always boiled his drinking water. One day, some leaves from a nearby tree fell into the pot, creating a delicious, fragrant beverage.

The first tea bags, made of silk, were created by Thomas Sullivan in 1904.

Today, tea is the world’s second most popular beverage consumed, second only to water. It’s simple to make, it’s affordable, and comes in so many flavors. Americans drink 50 billion cups of tea each year, 40 billion of which are served as iced tea. Think about it—that’s a boatload of tea.

Black, green, and oolong teas are all made from the same type of leaves; it’s the process they go through that makes them different. Black teas are fermented, left in a cool, dark, and damp place for a time, then heated to stop the fermentation process; oolong teas are semi-fermented; and green teas are heated after picking, so no fermenting process. Herbal teas are not actually teas; they are a collection of herbs, peels, flower leaves, and spices, and contain no caffeine.

You can also cook with tea. The next time you’re making chocolate, infuse the melted chocolate with some Earl Gray tea. Yum. Or, here’s a recipe for tea braised chicken.

Teaist Bonnie Rose and her company, Tea Time Garden, were featured in Create & Decorate’s Holiday Gift List in December 2009. Bonnie was kind enough to send me samples of Consider the Coconut and Ginger Peach Blossom. I’m a coconut, well, nut, and Consider the Coconut was so very good. Tropical and soothing, and just yummy. Bonnie also sent some Chocolate Raspberry for styling purposes, and while I didn’t get to taste it, it smelled amazing, and I’m not even the biggest fan of chocolate tea. Check out Bonnie’s store. 

If you have any other tea inspired recipes, or if you know any other fun tea facts, please share in the comments. Now go grab a nice hot cuppa, and delight in the awesomeness of tea.

P.S. Go here, here, and here for some more tea info.

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