tea! (instead of coffee)

It's just a little idea that I have...but wouldn't it be great to have more tea shops around (maybe even instead of all of the coffee shops...whatch out starbucks!) instead of coffee on every corner, think about it, they could be these quiet little enclaves where the brewing of tea (it just takes it's own sweet time) becomes the issue. you know what I mean, not so far as a traditional Japanese green tea service (although...how chic would that be!) but a quiet traditional tea shop!

I found tea when I had my second baby, three years ago, with all of the do's and don't of pregnancy coffee is off limits. One night when we were out for dinner in New York in my favorite restaurant, Omen (On Thompson between Prince and Spring) I ordered Adzuki bean tea and it was this rich smooth blend of tea (organic) that they import themselves from Japan, it's delicious! This started my adventure, I asked them if I could sell it on my website and when I finally pinned down the owner to ask him, he politely declined. (darn!) In the meantime, I enjoy it when I am in New York and at least that's something!

Back at home, I found an online tea shop called Samovar, they are based in San Francisco and they make and sell terrific organic teas! There is also Hampstead, which you can find at Whole Foods. I think one of the most difficult things is finding good tea that you really like so once you get that part done you can experiment and find great things that you will enjoy at different times of the day.

Twig tea/Kukicha - this is really the best, wonderful during pregnancy as well, it is high in calcium and antioxidents. The taste is very smooth, light and woody, you basically boil the twigs in water (you will find your own favorite proportion), and you can re-use the twigs up to three times (some people use them even longer). the first time you cook them just boil for about 2 minutes, then the next time 5 mins and then about 8 mins. I make a big pot in the morning and then put it in a thermos and drink it all day long, this makes a wonderful iced tea as well. you can add an umeboshi plum if you are not feeling well and this will help you to be stronger and help to calm your stomach. My kids like Kukicha too, but they mostly like it cold...(and I like that is high in calcium!). Kukicha also makes a great drink with your food (let everyone else drink wine!).

MU tea - this is a wonderful winter tea, it warms you up and it really energizes you. Mu tea is a blend of about 8 herbs and spices (I'm not comfortable tell you that this is ok during pregnancy, but I drank it). You can find this tea in the Eden section of Wholefoods or any health food store.

Lotus root tea - this tea is great when you have a lot of mucus, if you eat a lot of sweets or after a bad cold. Lotus root tea actually dissolves mucus. If I know that I am having a problem I like to drink a cup a night just before I go to bed, you will notice results right away. Lotus root tea comes as a powder, it tastes kind of like a broth.

Ginger tea - I just add ginger to my Kukicha tea to warm me up in the winter.

Green tea - This has so many healthy attributes, and I think that you all know most of them. It's a delightful tea, but I don't think it's so good to drink when you are pregnant.

Genmicha - this is a blend of Kukicha and toasted brown rice (it almost looks like popcorn) this is a really tasty flavor and a little more complicated than the Kukicha tea, this is also one of my favorites and like Kukicha it is good with food as well as alone.

The above are all Japanese teas that are available here and are delicious. I am also a big fan of English tea as well and there is nothing better than a nice cup of black tea in the morning. My mother in law who is English thinks that I am destroying the tea because I don't drink it with milk or sugar, but I love a nice cup of Earl Grey with honey... you will become hooked!

Earl Grey - this is a black tea that usually has Bergamot (I love it!), it almost has a flower-y taste that is lovely!

Darjeeling - this kind of has a smokey flavor (I feel like this is kind of an acquired taste)

some of my favorites from Samovar are:
Organic Orange and Ginger - this is a great tea for the evening, to keep you warm from the inside!

Samovar Moorish Mint - this is another nice tea in the evening, but make a pot because once you start to drink it and everyone else smells it, they will all want a cup!

And don't forget Apple Tea - this is THE BEST - whenever you are feeling frazzled, low on patience or just generally stressed out, make a pot of Apple Tea and you will feel much better! Chop up three apples into cubes, put in a large saucepan and fill with water. Add 5-6 grains of salt, and boil for 45 mins to an hour. Strain off the apples and enjoy!! (I once had a friend that had to drink this every day, just to keep him calm... maybe it's a remedy for ADD or ADHD?!)

All of the teas that I have listed above also make for good drinking all day long, I make a pot in the morning and then later in the day I take some apple cider or lemonade and mix it with my tea and ice and it's delicious, this is great when you are pregnant and everyone else is drinking wine, you can have your own special drink!
So this Holiday, get yourself a beautiful teapot that you love and start your tea adventure!

Good luck with your tea adventure and then next time you visit France don't miss the
Mariage Frères Tea room in Paris, and then when you come back, let's open a tea room together!