Welcome to the wonderful world of specialty tea


herbal tea

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Tea is not your ordinary beverage. According to Time magazine, tea, which is classified as black, white, green and oolong varieties, has been shown to help hydrate, burn fat and improve bone density. Time also reveals that, as part of a healthy lifestyle, tea might also help stave off Parkinson’s disease and aid those with Type 2 diabetes. Marie Claire magazine touts green tea as one of the beverages to drink daily for beautiful skin, while tea aficionados at online magazine The Daily Tea champion tea’s gut-healing abilities.

Don’t count out tisanes, commonly known as herbal tea. Those concoctions pack a healthy punch. Real Simple reports that herbal teas such as peppermint and chamomile may promote relaxation and ease tummy troubles. Also, tea is so tasty. Many teas are readily available at the supermarket, but allow me to introduce you to some awesome specialty tea shops offering tea that will transform your tea time into a special occasion, and if you shop smart, they’re also affordable.


Quirky cuppa

Have you ever wanted to put a little sparkle and whimsy in your daily beverage? David’s Tea, a brand with a fabulous website and stores throughout North America, is the spot for you. They have created some genius blends that turn every cup into a celebration. Glitter & Gold is a black tea with hints of citrus and tiny golden orbs that melt into mesmerizing galactic swirls of beauty, while Read My Lips combines black tea with chocolate, peppermint, and—wait for it—candy lips! I can’t even stand the adorableness. Satiate your sweet tooth with Bubbie’s Baklava, an oolong variety with nuts and honey that emulates the gorgeous pastry that haunts my dreams, or their impressive line of dessert-themed herbal teas like Key Lime, Cocomint Cream and Apple Custard. I swear by their minty, juniper-spiked Cold 911 blend in the winter to ward off the seemingly endless chill and help my sinuses spring back to life. If you are fortunate enough to have a David’s Tea near you, stop in to taste one of the samples they offer daily. Many teas start at under $10 for a 1.76 oz. bag. Start off with these and splurge on a tin when you find the one you can’t live without. Even those small bags make several cups of tea and will last you a good long while. Plus, David’s offers three free samples of your choice when you order online and, with their Frequent Steeper program, you can earn points toward free tea with every purchase!


Custom cuppa

Adagio Tea understands tea fanatics. This online tea emporium knows we want to try ALL THE TEAS, and they happily oblige with their sample sized bags. Starting at just $2, you can try several cups any loose leaf tea. Go for the chamomile, folks. Adagio has the smoothest, most delicious chamomile I have ever tasted. Relaxation in a cup. Adagio also understands that tea fanatics are a special breed of obsessed, and that obsession carries over to other areas in our lives. Thus, they created fandom blends. Oh yes, you can now literally drink in your favorite fandom, either by trying other fans’ interpretations or making your own. Watch Game of Thrones and experience the heat of the dragon with Targaryen Spirits, a spicy chai infused with almond and coconut, or listen to Welcome to Night Vale while sipping on Cecil, Voice of Night Vale, a black tea with notes of spicy ginger and smooth apple that pays homage to Night Vale’s narrator. Since these are fan-made, not all blends are created equal, so choose carefully. Fandom blends are available as samples, so go small and see what speaks to your fanatical little heart.


Cooking with your cuppa

Tea is so delicious and has so many benefits, why not cook with the stuff? Tea is a fantastic accompaniment to dishes both sweet and savory, so take this flavorful brew’s versatility one step further by including it in the food itself. The Daily Tea has a phenomenal selection of recipes for you to try no matter what your level of culinary expertise. Two of my favorite breakfast tastes merge for this yummy Earl Grey Oatmeal, while Chicken Ginseng Soup will keep you warm all winter long. Try Tea-Crusted Tofu over Greens for a light, satisfying meal. Tea and cake make a perfect pair; try this Vanilla Chai Tea Cake or this heavenly Matcha Angel Food Cake.

There’s a tea for every taste, so try some of these today! Spill the tea: what are your favorite tea flavors and brands?