A bath refreshes the body, tea refreshes the mind.
There’s something enviable about tea drinkers. They seem healthier and holier than thou. I’m more of a Team Coffee member, but, I’ve definitely found solace in spicy ginger tea and surprise in the traditional sweet mint tea served in Egypt’s Siwa Oasis. Tea seems synonymous with nostalgia (Tetley and honey with Nan while playing Crazy 8’s), travel, feeling better and, I don’t know, yoga and eating oatmeal.
Tea houses are hot on the heels of hip coffee lounges and the loose-leaf tribe is gaining ground with mixologists shaking up tea cocktails and brewers experimenting with tea-infused beers. While tea has long been known to cure what ails (from styes to parasites), it can also be used to ward off fungus on plants (try a spritzer of chamomile on your herb seedlings and soil).
Whether you lean towards a fizzy kombucha, having your tea leaves read, Oolong or Matcha, here are five unexpected ways to enjoy more tea.
Earl Grey Moisturizing Lotion™ by Dragonfly Dreaming Organics®
For generations, Japanese women have relied on oil from the camellia plant to condition their hair. Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub whose leaves and leaf buds are also used to produce tea. The powerful antioxidant properties found in drinking the tea do double duty as a lotion, reducing free radical damage to our skin.
Based in Cowichan, BC, Dragonfly Dreaming Organic’s Earl Grey Moisturizing Lotion™is a blend of essential oils: Italian Bergamot, certified organic Sweet Orange and Japanese Ho Wood. Just as soothing and calming as a cup of tea, this lotion is a marriage of organic calendula, camellia, carrot root, grapeseed, Evening Primrose, rose hip, sunflower and apricot oils with shea butter, papaya fruit and a dollop of soy-derived vitamin E and beeswax. Put the kettle on and immerse yourself two ways in Earl Grey’s signature Bergamot scent.
Elderberry flower and berries both make great additions to teas. The main difference is that flowers, which don’t have the stomach-upsetting issues of the berries, can b gently steeped rather than needing to simmer. Both have a long history of use in teas.
1. Place 1/2 tablespoon of dried elderberries in 2 cups of water with some rose hips or any other desired herbs or flowers.
2. Bring to a gentle simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain out and compost plant materials or feed to appropriate animals.
3. Enjoy as is or with a dab of honey or other added sweetener.
Reprinted with permission from The Elderberry Book: Forage, Cultivate, Prepare, Preserve by John Moody, 2019, New Society Publishers, Gabriola, BC
Footloose with Moose
Western Quebec chef Marie-Cecile Kakgoosh Nottaway-Wawatie shared this unexpected tea twist with us—moose and black tea! The celebrated culinary activist lives in a log cabin on the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin First Nation. She prepares traditional dishes like moose with tea and onions to keep tethered to the land and to ensure her grandmothers’ traditions continue simmering. Nottaway owns Wawatay (wawataycatering.com), a catering company that offers a truly wild (and contemporary) menu of bison meatballs, bannock and wild rice sushi.
Moose with Tea and Onions
Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 tablespoons butter, oil or lard
1 lb moose, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1-2 cups strong black tea
Set a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and once it has melted, add the moose meat, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Once the meat has browned add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, then add enough tea to cover the meat, bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan, until the tea has reduced more than half and the dish is saucy. Depending on your cut of meat, you may have to continue to cook it, adding more tea, until it’s tender.
Beau’s Beer X DAVIDs TEA London Fog
If you’re unsure of whether it’s time for tea or a beer, have both in one go thanks to this clever collaboration between Beau’s Beer and David’s Tea. It’s the marriage we’ve all been waiting for—a golden ale and Organic Cream of Earl Grey. The London Fog tall boy shouldn’t leave you too foggy if you pair it accordingly. Elevate your next brunch gathering with a 6-pack and a stack of blueberry ricotta pancakes. Latte lovers will swoon over the creamy mouthfeel that the organic lactose (milk sugar) and vanilla delivers.
London Fog is traditionally a blend of Earl Grey tea, vanilla and steamed milk. But, sometimes you have to sub an ingredient, right? The beer leans in both a sweet and savoury direction. Lay out some butter tarts or BLTs and let your company decide who wore it better.
Neat note: David’s Cream of Earl Grey Tea contains marigolds and cornflowers too. It’s a beer bouquet that’s perfect for spring.
Recipe courtesy of our friends at Murchie’s Tea & Coffee
sea salt, for rim
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus spent lime wedges for rim
1/4 cup steeped Queen Victoria Tea or Lapsang Souchong
1 small lager
Sprinkle salt on a plate that is wider than your cup. Rub lime around the rim of the cup and press the rim into the salt. Mix Tabasco, Worcestershire and lime juice in the bottom of the cup and then fill the cup with ice. Pour in the tea and then top it up with beer.
Visit murchies.com for more unexpected tea cocktail twists using blackberries, pomegranates, Matcha tea and more!
Jules Torti’s resume reads more like a well-folded treasure map. She has been a canoe outtripper, outdoor educator, colouring book illustrator and freelancer. Jules has volunteered (and eaten all sorts of questionable things) in the soupy jungles of Costa Rica, Uganda and the Congo. Her work has been published in The Harrowsmith Almanac, The Vancouver Sun, The Globe & Mail, travelife, Canadian Running and Coast Mountain Culture. She actively feeds her blog, Alphabet Soup, with posts on books, birds, burgers and beer (in no particular order) across the latitudes from Zanzibar to Iceland. Closer to home, she was grandfathered into the Galt Horticultural Society, was the caretaker of a 155-year-old stone heritage cottage and has chronic fantasies about church conversions, beekeeping and owning llamas. She has been known to slam on the brakes for photo ops of saltbox houses, saddle roof barns, snowy owls and sunflower fields. As editor-in-chief of Harrowsmith she is thrilled to be able to curate, write and read about the very best things in life.