Including a cup of tea in your morning ritual is a wonderful way to start your day. It can help to improve digestion and increase your energy. However, you might like to consider expanding your horizons by trying some of these tea additives that will bring a whole new level of interest and excitement to your favourite brew. Discover beneficial additives that not only excite the taste buds but also improve your health.
Not only does ginger have a one of a kind taste, but trans-formative powers as well. If you are suffering from cramps, loss of appetite or an upset stomach, ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive system. It is also reported to be beneficial to those suffering with morning and motion sickness. If you’re in great physical shape health, using ginger will transform your tea into a deliciously zesty brew.
Add mint leaves, letting them release their essential oils, for an essence that will add extra freshness and zing to your cup of tea. Mint is often used to make ice tea. Much like ginger, mint leaves are also known for calming the symptoms of an upset stomach.
For flavour and health try squeezing some lemon juice into your tea. Using the peel produces even better results for health as it contains even more vitamin C than juice. Additionally, studies demonstrate that the lemon-infused elixir neutralizes antioxidants in organism due to the lemon’s alkalizing properties. It is therefore beneficial for arthritis and similar conditions and even helps in the battle against cancer
If you prefer to consume your hot beverages slightly sweeter, specialists recommend skipping the sugar for the healthy alternative that is Agave syrup. You will only have to use a small amount of this natural sweetener and its taste is reminiscent of its honey and maple syrup cousins, consequently cutting your sweetener intake by about a half. Since Agave nectar is sweeter in taste than refined table sugar and using it as a replacement positively affects your glycemic index while sustaining a healthy weight.
Black tea and milk are a pairing that has transcended centuries of cultural rituals.
Warm milk added after pouring or cold milk added before pouring your tea produces a silky smooth feel to your beverage. Milk in tea is traditionally added by Indian and the British. It is most commonly served with milk to dilute the heavy concentration of catechin in black tea.
While you’ve probably tried honey in tea before when you suffered from a sore throat, it pairs nicely with a hot beverage with any flavour – 365 days of the year. Natural honey is a great flavouring which boasts beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to improve overall well-being while contributing to a wonderful flavour.
Add cinnamon to take away any taste of bitterness and transform your tea into a spicy, palatable tasty brew that will also give your blood circulation a boost. A popular additive in many regions of India, cinnamon is highly acclaimed for its ability to prevent fat from depositing into the arteries, thus stimulating the cardiovascular system and helping you keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check.
While this pairing might be too strong for your morning tea, it’s a great addition to your nighttime tea when you are looking for a brew that will help you to relax and enjoy a great sleep. Bourbon is one of the healthiest forms of alcohol, low in saturated fat and cholesterol and acts as a powerful antioxidant which can help to revive you when you’re feeling congested during the colder months of the year.
A small drop of vanilla extract adds a wonderful aroma to your tea. This way both your taste buds and your nostrils enjoy the brew. Natural vanilla extract also has many antioxidants, including vanillin – famously known for its anti-inflammatory abilities. Vanilla flavouring is used therapeutically to relieve stress and promotes relaxation when consumed in the evening as a subtle hint in your evening tea.
For tea lovers who equally enjoy a heart-warming splash of liquor, add some brandy to your cup for an old-fashioned take on your hot beverage. Enjoy the subtle taste of brandy, traditionally aged in oak barrels, perfectly paired with a classic tea flavor. Incorporating brandy in your tea promotes balanced cholesterol levels and has anti-inflammatory properties that help ease tension in the cardiovascular system, thus lowering blood pressure.
Either add concentrated apple juice to black tea, or heat up diluted apple juice and use instead of water in the steeping process. This practice was developed in Turkey, where many praise the delicious flavour of apples paired with Turkish black tea leaves. Alternatively, chopping up fresh apples and adding them directly to steaming tea creates a delicious infusion that will impress any tea lover. As an added benefit, apples contain high levels of iron and are low in calories while the many varieties are sure to provide a flavour to satisfy the particular tastes of the drinker.
Similar to apples, infuse your streaming tea with fresh or dried blueberries for a fruity flavouring. Blueberries have a number of health benefits. They are packed with potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin B6, polyphenol, which is a natural antioxidant. These help promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. They can even stimulate brain function!
The practice of adding jam when brewing tea originated in Russia and is popular in many Slavic countries where people consume tea as a digestive and in place of dessert after dinner. A dollop of fresh fruit preserve or homemade jam, stirred into your tea, replaces sugar without overwhelming the beverage with sweetness. You may even want to try adding whole cherries, which are also very popular. Discover these fruity textures and flavours in this unique experience.
Black pepper creates an entirely unique and gourmet-inspired flavoring when added to your tea, and creates a potent brew that is guaranteed to give your system a kick. Freshly ground black pepper has the most flavor and can be added to your tea infusion to seamlessly integrate with other flavors in your blend. It not only contains iron, vitamins C and K, magnesium, but one of its properties causes increased nutrient absorption. The numerous antibacterial properties and dietary fiber contained in black pepper, further improve digestion, facilitating weight loss and relieving bloating.
Cardamom is somewhat of a hallmark in the world of spices that have multiple health benefits. The strongly scented spice is famously used in many recipes, but in Eastern cultures and most commonly in India, cardamom has become fully integrated in a lot of hot beverages. Not only does it add a delicious flavour to your tea but it also has impressive health benefits. This aromatic spice boosts blood circulation for a visibly improved complexion and is a reservoir of essential vitamins A, B, C, minerals and nutrients for the body. Detoxify your body and give your immune system a much-needed boost by incorporating cardamom pods in your tea infusion.
Brewing your tea
Now that you have familiarized yourself with some of the best ingredients to use in the quest for a more exciting cup, make sure you are using the right techniques when preparing your tea in order to reap the most benefit from these hearty additives.
Don’t use the microwave to heat your tea
A perfect cup of tea is created when you brew it at the right temperature.
Microwaves may be convenient but give you little control over the process of bringing the water to the perfect temperature. Use a kettle, to achieve the optimal temperature for brewing instead.
Steep your tea for the right amount of time
Opinions are divided when it comes to the required time for steeping or infusing tea. However timing is important both for taste and in order to make the most of their natural health properties. Generally black tea and Oolong (rolled & long lead) should be steeped anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes, Darjeeling for about 3 minutes while herbal infusions and tisanes require between 5 and 7 minutes.
Make a note of the caffeine or theine in your preferred tea
If you’re winding down and plan on drifting off to sleep soon after you sip your tea, understand that steeping your tea for longer than 3 minutes may increase the amount of theine. Theine in tea is much like the caffeine found in coffee and can disrupt sound sleep. Lower the theine contents of your tea by pouring out the brew then re-steeping. This can reduce theine levels by as much as 80%. If an extra energy boost is what you require, steep for as long as 5 minutes.
Buy special tea brewing accessories
While you don’t need a special kettle to make phenomenal tea, if you happen to be a dedicated tea enthusiast, you may want to consider the options of kettles with integrated temperature settings. These have automatic power controls to ensure you have exactly the temperature that you want for your brew.
Buy loose leaf tea
One of the most critical elements in creating the perfect cup besides steeping time, temperature, and water quality— is, of course, the tea itself. Consider some recommendations for loose leaf tea leaves that have a distinctive flavor and pair well with a wide variety of additives. Green tea, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea and Chai Tea are all ideal for making your herbal tisanes. Be innovative and experiment by mixing up your tea blends until you discover a true signature flavour that is truly unique to you!
Now that you are aware of some of the many methods of preparing a uniquely flavoured tea, it is time to get creative and try these exciting possibilities.
What other tea additives to you recommend for exciting flavours and healthy brews?