Cool Down With: Blackberry Hibiscus Sangria

sangria3.jpgKeep the summer fun going with a quintessential summer drink: Sangria! We’ve created a sweet, fruity, ruby-hued rendition of this classic using our Blackberry Hibiscus tea. The sweet-tart flavor of hibiscus and the complementary, subtle berry flavor in this herbal tea offer the perfect addition to this traditional Spanish drink.

Blackberry Hibiscus Sangria

What you’ll need:
– 1/2 apple, cored and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
– 1/2 orange, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
– 1/2 peach, pitted and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
– 2 Tbsp sugar
– 6 tea bags of Blackberry Hibiscus
– 2 cups water
– 1/2 cup orange juice
– 1/2 cup brandy
– 1 bottle of Spanish red wine

Instructions:
1. Boil water and steep tea bags for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Muddle the fruit with sugar at the bottom of a large pitcher to soften and combine.
3. Add brandy and orange juice, muddle with fruit again to combine.
4. Add tea and stir.
5. Fill the rest of the pitcher with wine.
6. Serve over ice and enjoy!
Makes approximately six 8 oz cups.

Top 5 Reasons to Drink Tea in 2016

hotteamonthblog

January is National Hot Tea Month, and what better way to start the New Year off right than with a rejuvenating cup of hot tea?

Here are our Top 5 Reasons to Drink Tea in 2016:

1. Tea helps soothe symptoms during winter cold season.Breathing Space_72dpi
According to the CDC, adult Americans combat an average of 2-3 colds per year. Supporting your immune system with a Wellness Tea* like  Breathing Space* or Throat Cozy* can help maintain healthy airways or soothe your throat.*

 

2. Avoid the afternoon energy slump.
Breakfast Blend 72dpiMillions of Americans experience the dreaded “3:00 slump” and reach for sugary beverages like soda or energy drinks, or big mugs of coffee, to combat their dip in energy. We recommend choosing a natural way to energize with a tea like Energy Boost*, a crisp, lively green tea blend that supports healthy energy levels and vitality.* Or, try Breakfast Blend from our Gourmet Line, for a robust black tea to enliven your afternoon.
3. Detox all year long with tea.
Beauty Detox_72dpiSure, detox diets are popular in January, when New Year’s resolutions are new and shiny, but what about a regular detox regime throughout the year? Simply Detox* and Beauty Detox* are specially formulated with herbs to aid liver function and promote clear skin, cleansing your body from the inside out.*
4. Consider your heart health.
Hibiscus Heart_72dpiWith Heart Month just around the corner in February, our new Hibiscus Heart Wellness Tea* helps support cardiovascular health with hibiscus flowers and hawthorn berry.*

 

 

5. Eating Clean? Be sure to drink clean too.

  • Choose Certified Organic. Even teas billed as “natural” can contain pesticides. Look for the USDA Organic logo on the package to ensure you are drinking the real thing.
  • Avoid GMOs in your food…and in your beverages. Look for the OrgGFGMONon-GMO Project Verified logo on the packaging to ensure there are no artificially manipulated ingredients in your tea, coffee or other beverages.
  • If you are watching your gluten intake, pay attention to sneaky ways gluten can enter your diet. Be sure to look for tea products with the GF logo indicating Gluten-Free certification.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Iced Tea Recipes for Hot Summer Days

Summer is now in full swing, which means, if you’re like me, you’re looking for a healthy, economical way to stay hydrated and refreshed during the longer, hotter days. Iced tea to the rescue!  Whether you like the classic black teas or are searching for something different to tango with your taste buds, there are many options that can all be made from the comfort of your own home.

One of the best things about brewing your own iced tea is the super fresh flavor you’ll get from steeping your own organic tea leaves.  You can also control the amount and kind of sweetener you use–perfect if you’re looking to avoid soda or decrease your sugar intake.  You also reduce your packaging waste and save money.

There are a few ways to make iced tea, so try experimenting until you find the one you like best.   For the quickest method, boil water and steep twice the amount of tea that you would normally brew per cup (so 2 tea bags to every 8 oz in this case), but don’t steep for twice as long, as this can produce a bitter flavor.  (Quick refresh: 5 minutes for black teas and herbals, 2-3 for whites and greens). Once steeped, remove the tea bags and pour over ice-you’ll want to generously fill your cup or pitcher with ice before pouring so the tea cools quickly.

Another option is to brew your tea, allow it to cool for a few minutes, and then place in the fridge to continue cooling.  A third option is to try cold brewing: the night before, add 2 tea bags per 8 oz in a pitcher of cold water and place in fridge.  Allow to brew overnight, then remove tea bags the next day and enjoy!

So what teas should you use?  Well of course, there are the traditional black teas: English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Wild Forest Black, and Classic Black are all great choices. Add some lemonade for an Arnold Palmer. The home brew method is great for this too, as you can do a 50/50 mix or just top your black tea with a splash of lemonade for a little sweetness. Earl Grey also makes for lovely iced tea, and feel free to mix with a few bags of English Breakfast if you find the Bergamot a bit strong.  Try Chai Spice iced (sweetener optional, of course) for the spicy flavor of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  And one of our most popular iced teas, Mango Ceylon, is delicious on its own or with some mango lemonade.

Mint teas add an extra “aah” factor. Go for Green Moroccan Mint alone or try adding some limeade for a mojito-esque refreshment.Our new Yerba Maté Mint is delicious iced for the maté lover. Also, try mixing Peppermint tea bags with black tea bags for a hint of mint with a mostly classic flavor. Or, to opt for a caffeine-free herbal brew, try Lemon Lavender Mint or Chamomile Spearmint. Did I mention all of these are excellent with some fresh mint leaves added? Be sure to crush them to extract more of the mint’s flavor.

If you haven’t given Rooibos iced tea a try, do! Our classic Rooibos and Rooibos+Vanilla are delicious “new favorites” that can definitely hold their own against the more traditional blends.  Try our new Rooibos Superfruit with orange slices for some extra tanginess.  You just might find this rich, earthy herb is your new glass of choice.

With home brewed iced tea, there are endless possibilities! These are just a few suggestions, but we’d love to hear what you’re brewing all summer long! Comment here and you’ll enter to win 3 boxes of our favorite teas to brew iced. We’ll pick a winner on Tuesday, July 26th. Happy summer and happy brewing!

Iced Tea Inspiration for Brewing At Home

In our opinion, nothing is better on a hot day than iced tea. Sure, we’re a little biased, but iced tea is so wonderfully refreshing and versatile that it’s hard not to be. These days there are lots of options of bottled brews. But we believe some of the best iced tea is made at home and turns any situation into a special occasion.

There are lots of great reasons to do your own iced tea. When you brew iced tea at home, you have a lot more control over the ingredients and the process. Many bottled iced teas are stuffed full of sugar or other sweeteners, for example. A home-brewed pitcher means you can have as little (or as much) sweetness as you’d like. You can also be more selective with the tea itself. Instead of mystery “black” or “green”, you can use your own favorite variety of organic, Fair Trade certified tea. It also gives you more options when mixing with other ingredients. It’s fun to experiment by adding fruit juice, lemonade, or a more adult beverage. Someone might even name a drink after you! It’s also much cheaper to do it yourself, and in this day and age, any savings are welcome.

While the process seems intimidating, brewing iced tea at home is very simple. All you have to do is brew your tea double its normal strength. For example, a quart of normal tea would require four teabags, so a quart of iced tea would need eight. Brew the tea as you normally would and refrigerate it so it cools down. Then, add in some ice cubes and it’s ready to serve! If you want to try something different, we’ve got a few great drink recipes to liven up the summer. We discourage making “sun tea”, however, as steeping and holding the tea outside the recommended temperatures for a long period of time can increase the risk of illness.

We’ve selected six varieties from our Gourmet line that are best suited for iced tea- Moroccan Mint Green Tea, Green Tea with Essence of Peach, Earl Grey with Lavender, Mango Ceylon with Vanilla, Liquorice Peppermint, and Northwest Blackberry. We love them all here at the office, especially on hot days.

And what’s a celebration without presents? Comment here and be entered to win two boxes of tea (enough for several barbecues) and a Choice Organic Teas hat, made from hemp and organic cotton. It’s everything you need to keep sustainably cool through the summer. We’ll be drawing the winner on Wednesday, July 8.

Enjoy the summer, and stay cool!!