By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
This may come as a surprise to those of us in the United States of coffee connoisseurs and soda guzzlers, but when it comes to the rest of the world, tea wins second place for most consumed beverage (after water of course).
Growing up, my tea knowledge was limited to collecting Snapple facts. But there’s so much more to tea; it’s been around for thousands of years and has crossed cultures, classes, and oceans.
If your tea-saviness could use some work, here’s what you need to know: There are four types of tea — green, black, white and oolong, and they all come from the same flower (Camellia sinensis). Each type offers benefits but white and green are highest in cancer-preventing antioxidants. There is some evidence that green tea can boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.
There are also caffeine-free herbal/spice/root infusions. In addition to having antioxidants, these offer a range of benefits — ginger soothes tummy aches, chamomile is calming, and mint is a great after-dinner palate cleanser.
It has been a brutal summer in NYC and just thinking about hot tea makes me sweat. But iced tea is the perfect chill-down solution. Sure you can drink it at a cafe/restaurant or grab a bottle, in which case, go for unsweetened. But you can also easily and inexpensively make batches at home. One of my favorites is Rishi’s iced teas, but you can do it with any brand. Here’s how to make it:
1. Add 1-2 tea pouches to a pitcher (I recommend 2)
2. Pour 16 oz boiling water over the pouch and steep for 5 minutes
3. Add 16 oz cold water and remove pouch
4. Pour over ice and enjoy!
PS, little secret: freeze some into iced tea cubes and never deal with watered down iced tea again.