Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

I love tea. Tea, tea, tea. Here it goes down, down into my belly… Oh wait, that’s Scotch.

As a kid, I hated most tea. Unless it had a ton of sugar in it.

Now, I love how versatile and healthy and tasty different types of tea are. Next to water, tea is the most common beverage we drink in this house during the winter. I have a bad habit of buying miscellaneous tea when I go to the grocery store. When Hermit is along, this happens much less frequently ;).

Believe it or not, I took inventory of our tea a few months ago. This was our stash at that point… we only kept about 2/3 of what you see here

One of the best things about tea? It naturally has no calories! It’s a great addition to any diet. It’s warming, it’s filling and there are numerous health benefits, especially some of the more medicinal/herbal teas on the market. And, if you’re ALWAYS cold like I am, a nice steaming mug of (zero calorie) tea is a blessing in the winter months. In the summer, I almost always have iced tea in the fridge, ready for a refreshing treat.

A few months ago, I stopped drinking coffee on a daily basis. Not for any reason other than it wasn’t appealing to me anymore. So I started drinking black tea every morning. To be specific, Earl Grey. Twinings Earl Grey tea. Hermit really likes the Bigelow, so we have both in the house ha ha. I like to think Picard would drink the Twinings. Just me though 😉

For a while, I’ve had about 3 pretty consistent favorite types of tea. And I can’t rank them in order of favorites because they each serve their purpose. I would highly recommend all of the following tea.

  • Twinings Earl Grey: Favorite black/caffeinated tea. This has just a very subtle fruity/citrusy note running through it sot it’s not quite as bitter as a lot of straight-up black teas.
  • Stash Coconut Mango Oolong: Oolong teas are technically a black tea but don’t have quite so much caffeine as a straight-up black. This one has a fruity undertone as well (notice a theme?) that’s so pleasant. No sweetener required. 🙂 (Sometimes I’ll even take one bag of this tea and one bag of the Earl Grey and brew them together. Also very tasty.)
  • Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile: This has become my favorite go-to herbal/non-caffeine/relaxing tea. There are just subtle notes of honey and vanilla in this tea – it doesn’t taste at all like your traditional Chamomile (which I do not like much).

These are some of my favorite runner ups for tea – though I don’t drink them as much or only seasonally…

  • Bigelow Green Tea with Jasmine: Hermit and I frequent Asian restaurants a lot. A lot. So we’ve been a fan of Jasmine tea for a long time. This brand is one we both love, hands down. It’s quite comparable to loose-leaf green jasmine tea.
  • Tazo Passion Tea: I only like this when it’s brewed double-strength, and served over ice with a little extra water. This is how Starbuck’s serves it and it’s such a great summer treat. It is summer again yet?
  • Tazo Awake Tea: Again, like the Passion tea, I love this iced. Brewed  hot is too bitter for my tastes, but something about the iced version is super tasty.

Of course, I have to give a shout out to Starbuck’s Chai Latte as well. I have one of these every. single. afternoon. I know. A short is only 120 calories (with 2% milk) though so it’s a great filling afternoon snack. The extra fat in 1- or 2-% milk gives it more staying power than a nonfat drink would have. That’s a discussion for another time, though… I bet you didn’t even know they have a short. That’s an 8-ounce beverage. You know, what a ‘Small’ used to be before a 21-ounce beverage was considered small.

Since my sister worked at Starbucks for a year or so, I’ve got some insider information. The Chai latte mix they use in Starbuck’s stores is slightly different than the latte mix you can buy in retail stores. In my opinion, the Starbucks version is a little less sweet. Which I like better. Both mixes are by Tazo, though, which is unfortunate that they’re not the same. I suppose Starbucks needs some edge over the retail versions 😉

What are your favorite tea(s)? Do you need a ton of sugar or straight-up, strong black tea? Do you *gasp* not like tea?

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