Dining Features

Chic Tea Any Time

For many Hamptonites the idea of starting a day, not to mention getting over the afternoon slump, without a cup of Joe seems near unfathomable. While it’s true that coffee has been shown to have its share of benefits, drinking too much can contribute to high blood pressure, troublesome sleeping, headaches and digestive problems. To that end consider cutting down a bit on java and indulging your senses in some tea.

“When you drink tea, you’re not only partaking in an age-old tradition, you’re helping your body as well,” says Tathiana Teixeira, founder of Plain-T in Southampton, adding “for centuries, tea has been associated with good health.” In fact green tea has been shown to boost metabolism, fight cancer, protect the eyes and help fight heart disease, while red tea, also known as rooibos, comes with its own share of benefits including easing irritability, boosting the immune system and relieving stomach cramps (and unlike green tea, it’s caffeine-free). [expand]

Rooibos is also high in a slew of essential minerals including magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and fluoride, which explains why it works topically on the skin as well. As such, you can find rooibos in certain luxury skincare products, most notably Goldfaden (available at www.goldfaden.com). Among the rooibos-specific tea lines, Republic of Tea’s Be Well Red Tea line is particularly eye-catching. With names like “Get Gorgeous,” “Get Some ZZZ’s” and “Get a Grip,” there’s something to fit into anyone’s lifestyle (available at www.republicoftea.com).

No matter what tea you opt for, an extra healthful boost can be achieved by adding a splash of lemon juice as it will help alkalinize the body, providing healing balance to the modern acidic diet. Green, black and oolong teas (a traditional Chinese tea somewhere between green and black in oxidation), also contain a powerful antioxidant called catechin. When mixed in with lemon juice, cancer-fighting catechins are five times more likely to survive the digestive process. All teas however contain antioxidants (called polyphenols or flavonoids), which “stop free radical cells from destroying the molecules that make up our bodies and prevent aging and chronic disease,” says Teixeira.

Nevertheless, it being summer, the thought of taking in a hot cup of herbal tea holds, for many, little appeal. Luckily, whether tea is hot or iced, the health benefits are the same. Fittingly Kusmi Tea, hailed since the 19th century for their unique ability to create exceptional flavor, aroma and quality with their tea blends, has just introduced Kusmi Iced Teas (available at www.us.kusmitea.com). Packaged in a “frosted” box containing 12 blends of flavored tea, the 24 muslin tea bags include the brand’s best-selling Detox (a blend of Chinese green tea, Maté and lemon grass), Boost (blend of Maté, green tea and spices) and Be Cool (an herbal combination of plants, verbena, peppermint and licorice). To make one of their iced teas just infuse two sachets of Kusmi Tea in one cup of simmering water for three to four minutes. Then, pour the tea into a four-cup pitcher filled three-quarters full with ice and mix well.

For an already prepared option Eco Vita’s TEN-CHI CHA (available at www.tenchicha.com) is a Japanese tea containing a blend of 12 herbs used by the Japanese for centuries to purify the mind and body. The brand has just launched an iced version of the special immunity-boosting blend. The most hands-on, local approach however can be found at Plain-T (87 Powell Avenue, Southampton). Best known for custom designing premium tea products and programs for the likes of Sant Ambroeus, Tutto Il Giorno and Almond, Plain-T is hosting open tea tastings on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. throughout the summer. [/expand]

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