Category Archives: Bagged

Tisane Thursday: Mint 25June2009

Hello readers!  We’re trying a new regular topic: tisanes or herbal infusions or herbal tea… depending on where you’re from.

Don’t get me wrong, I love tea… and the stronger the better!  However, if you’re anything like me, you don’t make it home until later in the evening and you hesitate to drink a caffeinated beverage as you wind down and get ready for bed.  I have accumulated a hefty supply of different tisanes over the years and I have really enjoyed many.  I would love to share some with you by way of another interest of mine, medicinal plants.  Keep in mind, however, that I am not a professional herbalist and I am never giving medical advice.  My goal is to let you know how good that tisane you’ve enjoyed for years is for you!

For starters: peppermint!

 

Peppermint has been around for at least three thousand years, and was used by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans prior to becoming popular in Europe in the 1700’s.  Medicinally, peppermint is used to treat gas, bloating and colic but peppermint can also be effective in other ways.  The next time you reach for your Bengay, IcyHot or Vick’s Vaporub, I hope you remember that menthol, which has a cooling, anesthetic affect on the skin, makes up a major part of peppermint.  Other mints such as spearmint are related to peppermint and have similar, though milder, medicinal properties.

For digestion, an herbalist might prescribe peppermint to be taken as an infusion several times a day.  Dried or fresh peppermint can make a nice tisane, and in general more fresh than dried is needed for a given volume of water.  The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Chevallier recommends 1 tsp dry or 2 tsp fresh per cup, but peppermint tisane can be made to your taste.  I have a friend who shoves as much fresh mint as will fit into a teapot to make her tisane.  I find a slight difference between the taste of tisane from fresh vs. dried peppermint, but both are satisfying.

Many blends that include peppermint (and other mints) are available commercially and quite enjoyable.  My favorite Celestial Seasonings tea blend contains decaffeinated green tea, peppermint and just a touch of some other herbs.  It is perfect for an evening drink and hits the spot when I have a cold.  It is called Candy Cane Lane and although only available seasonally in the grocery store, I was able to pick some up on my recent trip to the factory in Boulder, CO

The flavor comes mostly from the peppermint (my palate has trouble distinguishing the flavor from the green tea) but the blend has much less of what I would call “raw plant” flavor than straight peppermint.  I also find the finish to be much smoother than straight peppermint, which can have a delicious, but strong, flavor as you swallow.

However you drink your peppermint, it makes quite a satisfying cuppa.

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Filed under Bagged, Green Tea, herbal infusion, herbal tea, medicinal, Review, tisane

China Mist Leaves Pure Teas Earl Grey

ChinaMistearlgrey

Wow, our first review! I know it has been a while coming but there is still a lot of construction dust around this place so bare with us. This first tea is one I have been drinking at work almost everyday for about a month. It seemed appropriate to start with something that has become a daily cuppa.

This Earl Grey from China Mist’s Leaves Pure Tea line is a blend of Ceylon tea with oil of bergamot. I love Earl Grey blends and have tried quite a few bagged varieties, this has become one of my favorite bagged Earl Grey’s. The flavor is very floral compared to many others that I have tried and the bergamot is actually more a complement to the flavor of the tea rather then an over powering flavor that masks the teas own flavor.

To me it is important that a bagged tea puts up well with abuse. By abuse I mean far less then idea brewing with so so tap water, microwaveing (aka stewing) and being left to get tepped as I get busy with work. If I was at home I could take my time heating up the water to just the right temperture on the stove, brew it for just the right amount of time and then enjoy it right when I know it has cooled to the temperature I like. But that is not going to happen at work and I know I am not the only one. This tea has put up well with all my abuse and the flavor it still good when cold.

If you are an Earl Grey fan that like me often tortures your bagged tea in the breakroom microwave early morning this is a good one to try.

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Filed under Bagged, Ceylon, Earl Grey, tea