The whole world loves tea. We consume 25,000 cups of tea every second–about 2.16 billion cups per day.
Legend has it that tea was first discovered by Chinese emperor and herbalist, Shenong in 2737 BCE. A servant began boiling water for him to drink, and a dead leaf from a wild tea bush fell into the water. It was presented to the emperor and the rest is history.
Step aside Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Orange Pekoe and the many classics that have been tea-pot staples for centuries. Tea has become re-invented and is now dressed to the nines and ready to go clubbing. And who is responsible for this transition?
Look into Stash Tea, a company created in Portland, Oregon in 1972, with the mission of seeking the taste of a tea euphoria. Innovating, exploring and experiencing tea to its fullest, it now has 150 different teas to choose from. Enough for a lifetime of surprises and tea happiness. Stash seeks to bring back tea as a cultural catalyst, because, they say, “Our diversity and boldness should not only be in our cup, but in our minds, our community, and our society.” A fascinating concept, but the proof is in the pudding, or in this case in the teabag. As a force for good, every element that steeps in a cup of Stash tea, including the teabag and string, is non-GMO project verified and compostable.
A bright blend of fruit flavours that is pleasingly tart. A bit of sweetener gives it a change of flavour. Decaffeinated.
Ingredients: hibiscus, lemongrass, orange peel, rosehips, chicory root, licorice root, natural blueberry flavour, acai powder.
Would it surprise you to know that licorice root is sweeter than cane sugar? Blended with spectacular spices it makes a very interesting drink. Considered a dessert tea by some, and a sore throat soother by others, this decaffeinated herbal tea has many flavour nuances.
Ingredients: cinnamon, orange peel, star anise and sarsaparrilla all come together with rich liquorice root.
Pucker up and prepare to experience the bite of tart lemon and the lingering, tingly zing of ginger. This decaffeinated tea is for serious sipping, but it’s smoothed and mellowed by a spoonful of honey.
Ingredients: ginger root, lemon grass, natural lemon flavour, safflower and hibiscus.
Spice Dragon red Chai
Get ready to amaze your taste buds with both the smell and flavour of this tea. It’s yet another example of Stash brewing boredom out of the world. Rooiboss is a South African caffeine-free herb, also known as red tea, that is gaining popularity for its mellow flavour and health benefits. This delectable brew combines Rooiboss with Chai spices to create a unique sweet and spicy tea.
Ingredients: Rooiboss (pronounced roy-boss), cinnamon, ginger root, clove.
In Canada, kudos to the brilliant, tea connoisseurs at Camellia Sinenses, a tea boutique created in Montreal by Hugo Americi in 1998.
Four expert tasters visited gardens the world over, meeting with producers in order to import high-quality teas of exceptional taste, cultivated in healthy gardens where the products are respectfully grown. They created four loose tea (not bags) flavours using organic, natural ingredients and skillfully blended them to absolute deliciousness. You will not want to go through summer without this lovely iced tea collection. An added bonus: they are a perfect base for fabulous cocktails.
A Summer in Nilgiri
A soothing floral infusion that combines the perfect balance of Mao Feng’s fruity notes, Bai Mu Doan’s zesty flavour, and lavender’s floral essence.
Ingredients: green tea, white tea, flowering oats, catnip, lavender and mallow flower.
Santa Cruz Wave
A golden tea of berry inflected citrus aromas for a clear, clean experience. The invigorating accents pair harmoniously with the green tea’s herbal notes, lingering on a ripe raspberry finish. Ingredients: green tea, blackberry leaves, lemon myrtle, lemon, raspberry.
This potent tea may replace my morning coffee! I like it hot, sans ice and savour the juicy peach and lively ginger of this distinctly fruity black tea blend.
Ingredients: black tea, ginger, apple pieces, natural peach flavour, marigold flowers and aroma.
Offshore Sao Paulo
Decaf rooibos tea with cranberry and orange, give the blend a touch of citrus zest, while the wild berries add body.
Ingredients: rooibos, blackberry leaves, cranberries, orange and strawberry pieces, and natural flavours of currant, orange and cranberry.
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.