Archive for the ‘ Teas ’ Category

Have Fun Drinking Yerba Mate!

 

gourdbombilla strawHave you ever been in a specialty supermarket and saw those funny silver straws and neat looking gourds? I have, and I bought two gourds and two straws–All because I wanted to drink Yerba Mate the “right” way!

Of course you can always resort to the more modern way. Just steep the Yerba Mate in a cup of hot water and drink. But that’s no fun. But those gourds and straws look so complicated to use. Are they??

Of course not! Unlike Matcha tea (which is super simple to make), you don’t have to wisk anything together, and you don’t have to wait for a while to steep. Once your gourd is “seasoned,” all you do is put in a scoop of tea in your gourd, pour hot water, and sip from your bombilla straw: IT’S THAT SIMPLE!

What does it mean to season your gourd? Seasoning the gourd prepares it better to bring out the flavor of the Yerba Mate so you can enjoy it more. Before you drink from it, put in a scoop of Yerba Mate, add hot water, and let it sit overnight. Do this before going to sleep, and you’ll be ready for a morning dose of Yerba Mate.

When you’ve finished drinking, wash out the contents and dry off the outside of the gourd. Take a couple of paper towels and absorb as much wetness as you can. Store gourds in a dry place. Simple wash the bombilla straws like you would any other utensil.

The bombilla straw is a straining straw. It keeps out tea particles. The nice thing about this straw is that you can use it for ANY tea. Just throw in the tea and drink. Once you’ve invested in these tools, you’re ready to rock and roll with Yerba Mate or any other tea.

We do have some gourds and straws in the shoppe, so come by and check them out. Make your next tea drinking experience a simple and exciting one.

Going Down Easy With Whole Star Anise

And The Star Of Our Kitchen Is . . . 

Most of you have, no doubt, seen this lovely spice relegated to the arts and crafts projects created by many of our illustrious, imaginative youngsters. But now it’s time to take this mysterious spice off the construction paper art work, and use it where it’s meant to be used: in our wonderful dishes we prepare.

You’ll recognize the smell right away, that familiar smell of licorice we all know too well. So what does this spice look like? A star, of course! Star Anise is actually a dried fruit from the evergreen tree, and mostly grown in China. When dried, it resembled an 8-point or 6-point star. And within the tips of the points, you’ll sometimes see the shiny, golden seed, which contains an oil you’ll see when it’s crushed.

Star Anise can be used whole, or you can use just the seeds. You can also grind it fresh just before use. If you use the whole stars, don’t over add, and be sure to remove them when your dish is finished cooking. Ground or whole, you’ll add tremendous flavor to your soups and stews when you drop these in the broth and allow them to simmer along with your other ingredients. The potent taste of this spice brings out the flavor in meats much like MSG, so for all those out there who want to remain MSG-free, this lovely spice can be the star of your kitchen! If you’re wanting a flavorful tea, use Star Anise to create a drink that’s soothing to your tummy.

What does Star Anise treat? Digestion is one area, along with calming colic and upset stomach, easing rheumatism, and increasing libido. You can also use this spice for freshening up your breath.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Star Anise and its uses, both kitchen and spiritual, check out these links below:

Quick Bites: Whole Star Anise

Other Uses For Star Anise

Tingle Your Tongue With Chocolate Mint Tea

Time for fun with Rooibos tea, especially when you have chocolate and mint playing together in the same sandbox . . . or teacup, I should say. I’ve always been a fan of the peppermint patty, devouring whole bags or boxes of them at a time. Let’s say York and I are intimate friends! But when I swallowed a mouthful of Chocolate Mint Rooibos, a blend of dark Cacao Nibs and Mint leaves, I found a new liquid version of a special friend.

Studies are showing the health benefits of chocolate, especially dark chocolates. Flavanols in the cocoa beans have been found to have anti-oxidant effects, which means they help reduce the cell damage that comes from heart heart disease. So now it’s time to run out and buy a box of Godiva chocolates to wolf down? Not so fast! Many of the chocolates we purchase have fats, sugars, and other additives which are not conducive to heart health, and they can be disaster for diabetics. So dark chocolate in moderation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, which makes sipping a chocolate tea even more fun.

Some of the benefits of drinking Rooibos tea are: improved cardiovascular fitness, helps increase insulin production after eating–also will help reduce fasting insulin levels, excellent bronchodilator, can help function as a light anti-spasmodic.

With this particular blend, the taste of chocolate hits your palate with a bang, leaving a cool, tingly aftertaste in its wake. Most delicious! Like the Orange Cinnamon tea I mentioned in a previous post, this one needs to steep several minutes to bring out the full taste. But it’s definitely worth the wait.

Cinnamon Orange, A Flirty Tasting Tea Blend

Hooray! We’ve just received a couple of our new teas, and couldn’t wait to taste one of the flavors right away. Though not a blend I might consider picking up in a store, the aroma wafting from the bag nearly bowled me over. Rich with the scents of citrus mixed with cinnamon, the blend blazed with strong colors of orange peel, hibiscus, and blackberry leaf.

When I first poured the tea, the taste hit my palate as rather light, not in accordance with the strong smell I first enjoyed. However, as the tea seeped for several minutes, the flavors came out of hiding and ran around screaming wildly on my tongue. As I finished the cup, the cinnamon came out stronger, and the orange became the aftertaste. By the way, I added some stevia for light sweetness, and this rounded out the whole taste experience for this tea.

If you purchase this particular blend, the rich aroma will take you by surprise. The addition of cinnamon and tangerine oils actually give this herbal mix a “wet” look, unlike most teas you’ll see. For fun, I actually sipped this from my gaucho gourd, using my bombilla straining straw. Yes, I do use my gourds for more than just yerba mate, but more on that later.

If you’re looking for a strong, yet not overbearing taste, the Orange Cinnamon blend may be for you.