These are a few of my favorite teas

(You have to ‘hear’ that as a line from The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things.)

I started this post at 5 p.m. as I drank a 21-ounce mug of 2-parts Simply Balanced* Unwind Tea and 1-part Traditional Medicinals Nettle tea.

It’s 8 p.m. and I’m trying again.

Some favorite teas

When I was in Djibouti the first time, I ordered a cup of tea. The waitress said, “Le Lipton?” and I thought, “Really, I’ve flown half way around the world to the Horn of Africa and the best you can do is Lipton?”

If you have no idea where Djibouti is and want to learn more about my African travels, this is a good start: Sunday in Djibouti

So I thought I might tell you about some of my favorite teas. First off, know I do not add milk, sugar or honey to my tea. Black. I don’t even enjoy sweetened iced tea.

When we were on our road trip to Georgia, we stopped at Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina where I got some first flush. So good! I make it in the French press. That has a robust kick.

Staples in my home include some form of strong black tea. Currently my favorite is Tazo vanilla macaroon. I have a box of Tazo organic earl grey in my desk at work. I keep chai on hand for my friend Nancy and the teenager. The Tazo Caramel Vanilla Chai is my favorite, but the Bigelow Vanilla Chai is almost as good but much cheaper.

I love, love, love herbal teas. But I hate chamomile. Yogi has a lavender honey stress relief tea that is a favorite. Tazo has a juniper mint honey that might be my new afternoon go to.

Simply Balanced Voice Tamer is a great one for when you want something that is fairly strong but decaffeinated. It is actually a rooibos tea, which, according to our friends at the Charleston Tea Plantation isn’t a tea at all but a random plant from South Africa.

If you want to read my post about South Carolina, check this out: Memories of South Carolina

The teenager likes orange tea, Tazo Sweet Orange. I don’t do fruity tea often, and when I do I prefer Simply Balanced Raspberry Hibiscus. Tazo’s Glazed Lemon Loaf is a delightful treat.

Nettle tea is supposed to be high in iron, but the Traditional Medicinals one does not discuss that on the box so I wonder if they process it out. Good to fight anemia.

And lastly, I want to touch on matcha. I got into matcha before it was cool. Before it hit the Starbucks menu. I love Starbucks iced matcha latte with skim milk, but I won’t pay their prices. I also discovered why theirs tastes so good. They sweeten the matcha blend.

I really like the Tazo Matcha Mate Grapefruit. It has just the right amount of puckery, clean grapefruit flavor to make it an awesome breakfast tea.

But I’m not conniving to taste Dunkin Donuts new matcha.

But for bedtime, nothing relaxes the body like a strong glass of Traditional Medicinal Nighty Night Valerian.

And to store my teas, I use pencil trays from the dollar store: one for herbal, one for caffeinated, and one for medicinal.

* Target has recently rebranded what was their Simply Balanced line as Good & Gather. Some of these teas may have been relaunched in the new line, but some may have been discontinued.

Memories of South Carolina

So I have several more posts in me about our road trip, but those must be posted now from the comfort of home.

Once I returned, I ended up working six days straight and the vacation must have done me good because I wasn’t breathing fire and irritable by the end of that stretch.

Today my husband and I will be taking our daughter to Girl Scout camp at Camp Wood Haven, in a rental/loaner car (a 2017 Nissan Sentra) since our Altima started idling super low on Friday and the next appointment the dealer has is Tuesday.

I also discovered that my iPhone takes high res photos which has made the storage on my web site jump from 50% full to 75% full in a week. So that means I will have to take the time to shrink some of my photos.

So I will take a moment to reminisce about South Carolina.

Summerville, South Carolina

We arrived in Summerville, South Carolina, Thursday night. We discovered the town had a sculpture garden so we decided to check it out.

We quickly discovered that Summerville is the birthplace of Southern Sweet Tea. And the following day we learned that a French guy had gotten a grant to cultivate tea in Summerville around the turn of the (20th) century. He not only became successful but according to the tour guide, he won for the best tea in the world (an Earl Grey variety) at the World Fair.

The Day We Went Backwards

It was someone’s 16th birthday (not mine) and we had planned to head to Magnolia Plantation for a volkssport walk and then North Carolina to the bird sanctuary and another volkssport walk at Fort Bragg the following morning.

But since we had the recommendation to go see the Angel Oak, a tree more than 500 years old, we went backwards. And also found the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only commercial tea operation in North America.

So the tea plantation was a 40 minute tour around fields that all looked the same. It was really a fun time, with lots of tea to drink.

Turns out the tea plantation was started with cuttings from the Summerville tea operation after it had been neglected for 50 years. Lipton needed an American presence in case relations with China went bad during the Cold War.

It’s no longer a Lipton property. One man owns it and employs four people to run the plantation, six tour guides, and the gift shop staff.

The Tea Harvester

According to the staff, the only reason tea harvesting can be profitable in the United States is because of their tea harvester, which is cobbled together from pieces of other farm equipment and painted green to look like a John Deere.

The girls at the Angel Oak

Our last stop of the day was at Magnolia Plantation, where we got to see up close how slavery worked and almost stepped on an alligator.

The South Carolina swamps look like something out of a Jim Henson movie.