Rea Bates

Happy Hot Tea Month

January is National Hot Tea Month. I am a hot tea fan. Tea comes from an evergreen plant. There are several varieties of the tea plant, including oolong, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Teas made from other plants such as mint, rose hips, and chamomile are technically infusions or tisanes, but only the most nitpicky person will correct you. Of course, in a tea shop they use these distinctions to make sure you understand what you’re buying.

Tea originated in China, and they have a whole culture of ceremonies surrounding the preparation and serving of tea. Tea practically defines the culture in England. There, tea is usually served with sugar and milk or cream. In America, tea is more often served with sugar and lemon. I like mine either plain or with a smidge of honey.

A cup of tea is welcome any time of day. Many believe that beginning your day with a strong cup of oolong has health benefits. As a matter of fact, teas have been used medicinally for centuries. The use of willow bark tea to treat fevers and aches led to the development of aspirin. A cup of mint tea can soothe nausea and other stomach issues. Chamomile or lavender can be relaxing at the end of a day or during times of stress.

Back in the 80s Russian tea was all the rage. I can’t verify that it actually has Russian roots, but it is tasty. I think one year I got four containers of it for Christmas. That was fine. I drank it all. You can drink it hot or cold. There are several versions available out there. Here’s one of many.

May your week ahead be filled with sunshine.

Russian TeaRussian Tea

Ingredients
1 cup instant tea powder
2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
1 (3 ounce) package powdered lemonade mix
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions
In a large bowl, combine instant tea powder, orange drink mix, lemonade powder, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Mix thoroughly. Store in a sealed jar.

To use, mix 3 to 4 tablespoons of mix with 1 cup hot or cold water. Adjust to taste.

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Rea Bates is an Independent Consultant with the Pampered Chef. You can see her Facebook Page by clicking HERE. Her column appears each Sunday in Peru Indiana Today.