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Just My Cuppa Tea: A Slew Of Flavorful Brews For Max Hydration And Zero Calories

Just My Cuppa Tea: A Slew Of Flavorful Brews For Max Hydration And Zero Calories

If you’re trying to lower your overall sugar intake while boosting nutrients, consider swapping your soda for tea.

While America has fallen off the tea wagon since the Revolutionary War, for those drinking it, 80% like it iced. If you’re from the South, you’ve probably imbibed a bit on highly caloric sweet tea - terrible for teeth and waistlines alike.

With so many great blends out there, you can skip the sugar while retaining natural sweetness by preparing it correctly. You might be thinking, “Ugh the steam will send my hair into a frizzy tizzy,” but here’s the thing: boiling hot water is never recommended when seeking a heightened flavor experience. Check out this handy guide breaking out types of teas and recommended steeping and cooling temperatures.  

Other Need-To-Knows:

  1. Sensitive to caffeine? Many herbal blends contain it, so check the label especially when drinking it a few hours before bed.

  2. Packaging affects nutrition. While loose tea is chock-full of catechins (aka anti-oxidants) there’s debate about bottled tea's benefits after processing, so drink it for the taste.

  3. Too much of anything - including water - isn’t good. Black tea is rich in oxalate, so if it’s all you drink, you could be looking at future kidney failure. I usually make an intense 16 ounce serving and dilute it with cold filtered or bottled water. 

As a longtime tea nerd, I was excited to chat with charming British ex-pat Riad Kassar, one of America’s highly-regarded purveyors and proprietor of the Orlando-based Special Tea Company, which offers more than 350 ultra-fresh top-quality tea-leaf mixes expertly sourced across the globe and packaged loose, by-the-bag or in K-cups.

Riad shared that his new CBD blend is available for pre-ordering. Currently, Special Tea’s most popular offerings are tonics for treating myriad beauty issues, and include Detox Tea (with or without caffeine), Detox Supreme Colon Cleanse, Energy, Sleep, Hair Care, Skin Care, and Menopause.

Interested in a custom-blend based upon your tastebud preferences? Riad’s in-house expert works with you creating an artisanal mix. In search of a great gift for the tea lover in your life? For a supplemental fee ($95), they’ll design a label with artwork you supply. Probiotics can be added upon request.

Three

Splurge-Worthy

Sippers


In addition to Special Tea Company, the brands listed below are GMO-free and use the highest quality young leaves. We’ve hyperlinked for you, so if you’re interested in nabbing them, just click on the name. Several specialty grocers including Whole Foods and The Fresh Market carry them, but if you shop Publix or Winn-Dixie you’re out of luck. 

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Flashing back as a 16-year-old AFS exchange student in Sendai, Japan, my love for tea grew with earthy Genmaicha, which accompanied every meal. When Ito-En opened its elegant store on Madison Avenue in 2001, this was a game-changer: delicious, perfectly balanced organic brews in handy gallon-sized bottles. That said, it’s a guilty pleasure as I’m obsessing about the world’s plastic problem.

Other great green Ito-En selections include mint, jasmine and white. Each serving packs a day’s recommended Vitamin C.

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Fruity, pretty - and good for you too: this antioxidant-rich immunity booster with anti-bacterial potency promotes “good” HDL levels while lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, according to Dr. Axe.

You can Sandra Lee this by immersing an individual bag in good-quality water, letting it steep for 15 minutes — or longer — at room temperature, then store it in the fridge for a refreshing treat.

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If company’s coming, this is something I like serving as it’s super easy, uncommon and delish. The bags are rather large so you can drop one into a big bottle of cold San Pellegrino for an on-the-go libation or as a base for light cocktails in a 3-to-1 tea to vodka ratio.

A final thought…

Given that many herbal teas boast medicinal properties, you may want to check with a nutritionist whether a specific blend is right for you or might affect anything you’re being treated for.

(GORGEOUS) LOOSE TEA + CUP SHOT: MARCO SECCHI

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