I grew up with a British mum but I never really “got” the whole tea thing. Not until I lived in London in my very early 20′s. And then it was pretty much drink tea or be weird.
Normally, I have no problem being weird. I’ve kind of resigned myself to the fact that I am weird. But when your sweet little Aunty V keeps making you cups of tea whether you want them or not, you drink them. Because it’s polite and she’s too darn cute and sweet to say no to.
My Aunty V was a bit of a surrogate mom when I was in the UK. I lived with her and two of my cousins briefly when I first arrived in the country. She had a big, old, Surrey house complete with an orchard and a World War II bomb shelter (a bomb shelter! I had just graduated with a history degree… I thought this was seriously cool stuff).
On weekends during the summer when London was hot, dirty, brown and felt impossibly crowded (there was a Tube strike, it was London’s hottest summer in over 100 years and my flat was the teeniest, tiniest, itty-bittiest 125 sq feet you can imagine…), I would hop on a train after work on Friday night at Victoria Station and escape to the Surrey countryside, where at least I felt like I could breathe, and things were sort of green. I’d stay there until early Monday morning, when I’d pack up my knapsack, hop on the train and head straight to work – managing to avoid my claustrophobic, heat trap of a flat for nearly four whole days.
My Aunt made tea constantly. It was (and probably still is – she’s quite alive and well!) her solution to any situation.
“let’s have a cup of tea” and she’d start putting on kettles and getting out mugs. Half drunken cups of cold tea could be found all over the house – we were all guilty of it!
And that’s when I started to get hooked. Tea is as much about the act of making the tea as it is about drinking it. You can’t rush it. The water must be boiled, the tea must steep. It will be ready when it’s ready. The movements involved are soothing and create a small momentary sense of calm. I find myself doing it several times a day. When my head is stuck on a work problem, I get up from my desk and head to the kitchen where I fill a kettle, measure out tea, wait for the water to boil and then the tea to steep. Sometimes I add honey, sugar, soy milk or lemon, sometimes nothing. Stir. Blow on it to cool it – even that can’t be rushed. Meanwhile, my brain clears and my problem usually solves itself.
Loose leaf teas are my favourite but budget wise, they’re a treat – so I tend to hoard them when I have them… saving them for special occasions. It’s silly. But I do.
Which is why it was lovely to get a Christmas present from one of my favourite people, made up of three different loose leaf teas from teavana that he picked out himself. These are the kind of presents I like best – a consumable treat with no caloric value that I don’t have to dust and would feel guilty buying for myself!
The trio included this lovely Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea. All the teas in the present were delicious and, based on their descriptions, I thought I knew which would be my favourite without even tasting them. My gut feeling was this one would be my least favourite. Seems I got it all backwards!
Teavana describes the tea as
a sweetly soft combination of citrus paired with beautiful sunshiny flower blossoms, creating an orchard of flavor. A tribute to the plentiful citrus groves along the Indian River, this bright favorite blends orange slices, grapefruit, and pretty rose petals
The first thing I noticed when I opened the gift bag containing all three teas was the scent of the orange blossom tea. It instantly brought the hint of a memory but I couldn’t place it. We sat chatting for a bit and the whole time the scent hovered around until it finally clicked – bonne bell orange sorbet lipsmackers!
Laugh if you want but seriously, what girl didn’t (doesn’t) have a handful of those floating around in pockets and purses. I notice Bonne Belle doesn’t have them on their website anymore – they’ve gone all fancy. Boo. But I digress… it was a pleasant memory to have come rushing back.
The tea is very fragrant – so fragrant that I actually don’t keep it in my tea cupboard because I don’t want the smell altering the other teas in there. But, if kept in an airtight container, it should be fine. Instead I keep it on the shelf by my office door and whenever I walk in the door I get a quick hit of orange blossoms and citrus. It’s just lovely – trasports me away from the miserable January rain.
I’ve been drinking this one up quickly. It needs about 5-6 mins to steep properly to get the fullest flavour but it is still a light tea. It’s citrus-y but not overpowering. I’ve been battling a sore throat for the last few days and I’ve been mixing in a teaspoon of honey with each mugful and it reminds me the hot toddies my parents made me when I was sick as a little kid – very soothing. It’s also a nice tea to drink in the evening when you don’t want any caffeine or if you’re craving something sweet but don’t want dessert.
Teavana’s Orange Blossom Herbal Tea is a 5/5 for me. It will go on my re-order list for sure.
Disclosure notice: I was not compensated in any way for this post. The tea was not purchase by me but was a Christmas gift. All opinions are my own.