I love my tea, and cannot function without it properly. As I am often missing out on proper sleep, I do tend to overdo on the caffeine front with endless cups of coffee and black tea through the day. And as we know, caffeine is pretty addictive, and could cause headaches and irritability. I don't like fizzy drinks and sports drinks are not for me either. But if I have a coffee, it must be a latte, which on top of caffeine packs quite a few of calories.
My challenge for this year (I don't want to use the R-word) is to reduce the amount of cups of black tea and coffee and substitute them with healthier herbal teas, which I love anyway and have quite a selection available at home.
Twinings offers an extensive range of fruit and herbal infusions, for all tastes. As it is a wide range, I will only mention those that I have bought and tested myself.
January is as good month as any to swap regular hot drinks for herbal or fruit teas. So, what would I suggest for a good tea-tox?
Apple Crunch is a mellow-sweet blend tea, like an apple orchard in a mug. Its ingredients include white hibiscus, rosehips, apple pieces, lemon peel, roasted chicory root. It is delicious both hot and cold, aromatic and flavourful.
I have also tried it as a hot toddy, with ginger, cinnamon, a bit of honey, cloves and lemon slices, and it was very nice.
Orange Crush: pour the hot boiling water over the teabag and smell the wave of zesty fresh orange goodness. Think Italy, think orange trees in abundance. I remember when we visited Viareggio in summer many years ago, I was amazed to see so many orange trees in the streets. The sight I won't forget. And that's what this infusion brings to mind - Mediterranean bounty on a hot summer day.
Ingredients: white hibiscus, rosehips, natural orange flavouring, apple pieces, hibiscus, orange peel and roasted chicory root.
Pure camomile tea might be very healthy, but it's just plain boring. But add some spices and it is transformed into a lovely drink, like Warming Camomile & Spiced Apple. It doesn't have the same concentrated apple taste like the Apple Crunch taste. It is more like a watercolour version of it, milder and softer.
Lemon Zest is a light citrus blend, a nice refresher after a meal.
Ingredients: rosehips, white hibiscus, natural lemon flavourings, apple pieces, lemon myrtle, lemon peel. It reminded me of a hot summer week we spent in Agropoli, Italy. The friend's villa where we stayed had a grove of lemon trees, and you could just go in the orchard and pick up a big juicy lemon, warmed by the sunshine. You might enjoy it, if you love citrus flavours, but it was slightly plain.
Cherry and Cinnamon: I love cherries, and I love cinnamon. This combination works beautifully in baking but I was a tad unsure about it as a fruit infusion. Thankfully, the balance of flavours is right, and the cinnamon is not overwhelming, it adds richness to a naturally sweet and tart taste of cherries.
Ingredients are hibiscus, natural cherry flavouring, blackberry leaves, orange leaves, cinnamon, rosehips and liquorice root. I love the design of the box as well, with a juicy fleshy cherry cut in two.
Mango & Strawberry is a dark ruby-red drink, fruity and aromatic. It's made with hibiscus, orange leaves, natural strawberry flavouring with other natural flavourings, orange peel, rosehips and liquorice root. The fruity taste is quite intense, sharply sweet. I guess mango is represented by the "other natural flavourings" as it's otherwise not listed among the ingredients.
Cranberry and Blood Orange is warm and crisp. Crimson in colour, it is zingy and stimulating.
Ingredients - hibiscus, apple pieces, rosehips, natural cranberry flavouring with other natural flavouring, natural blood orange flavouring, liquorice root.
Peppermint tea is a must in our house. I always have a few boxes around the kitchen. I prefer to drink it neat after dinner, my husband enjoys it with a teaspoon of honey. It's great for digestion, and is also a mouth-and-breath freshener. On top of that, mint has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food. It's a classic infusion, which I have been buying for years.
If plain peppermint tea doesn't rock your boat, Twinings has recently launched a Moroccan Mint tea, which has a hint of cardamom in it. Now I don't have a silver teapot (and why not?! now that's an omission, which I should remedy one day, wouldn't it be nice to have a proper silver teapot?!) to serve the mint tea the way they do in the souks of Marrakech, but a teabag in a mug will take you along on a journey. Divided opinions on that one. My friends and husband loved it, I still prefer plain peppermint tea. I would have preferred just a trace of spice, not a strong flavour. But obviously, this is the matter of personal taste.
At 2kcal per 100ml brewed infusion, it is perfect for anyone who considers going on a diet or just cutting down the calories a bit. I don't know the calorie data for Moroccan Mint tea though, as it doesn't say anything about calories on the box.
What's your favourite herbal or fruit tea?