Tea Party

I really enjoy tea. To be clear, I prefer hot tea to iced, though now and then a sweet iced tea does hit the spot.

For a long time, when my children were a bit smaller, and when we lived somewhere colder, we kept a regular tea time. I would make tea for myself and cocoa for them, and we would have shortbread biscuits or Pirouettes. After we moved to California, however, and as the kids got older and their schedules became more chaotic, that habit fell away. Even I don't drink tea as often as I used to, though as I'm trying to get away from soda, I find myself moving back toward tea.

There is a lot of tea out there in the world, and as many different tastes as teas. For myself, I like tea with a bit of bite. A spiced chai usually makes me happy. The tea I drink most regularly is Teavana's Maharaja Oolong. This is a chai with a bit of a cinnamony flavor to it, and I don't put anything in it. It doesn't need sugar or honey or lemon or milk; it's perfect as is.

Alas, the Maharaja Oolong does not have much caffeine, so it is not a good choice for first thing in the morning (at least, not for me). I prefer it in the afternoons because that is the time I'm trying to avoid caffeine. I'm an insomniac and can't drink caffeine after 3:00 or I'll never sleep.

Another favorite tea of mine is peppermint. I particularly crave this tea when I'm not feeling well. I do like to add a bit of honey to it, but not so much for taste as to up the soothe factor.

Now, when it's hot out and I do want a cool tea, I generally turn to Twinings Peach and Passion Fruit. I like fruit teas in general for iced teas. Teavana has a Strawberry Paraiso, which is a white tea, which is also nice. So is David's Tea's Midsummer Night's Dream, which has no caffeine at all.

Still, there is a lot of tea I haven't tried, so I'd like to hear from you. What teas would you recommend? Be aware that I like my tea to have a bit of flavor. Traditionalists will be scandalized, but I must admit that Earl Gray and English Breakfast do little for me. Aside from that, though, I like all colors of tea: black, white, green. As I mentioned, chai is my favorite, but I'm just as happy to branch out. So let me know your favorite tea! And whether you drink it with milk, sugar, lemon, or honey. Or not. Why or why not? I want to hear all about it.

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