Sunday, June 10, 2007

Summer coolers

Longtime readers of this blog know that I, Moon Rani, submit reviews of teas as well of books, being true to the name of the blog. Today I shall expand the definition of tea to conform with current standards, but first, a confession: I am a purist in the realm of camelia senensis. I know that most people call an herbal tisane a "tea," but I don't. I can't help it, really, it's just that I'm a born snob.
But for this post, "herbal tea" it is. When I cannot indulge in one more drop of a caffeinated drink, I do, on occasion, make herbal tea. The herbals I have at this time are from the "big boys" in the herbal tea world, Celestial Seasonings. I recall thinking myself sophisticated the first time I found and tried a CS product. It was popular among my set of female friends. We loved the colorful boxes with their quotations and fun illustrations. We loved having something different to the usual tea. CS teas seemed exotic then, and far outside our small, suburban norm.
Today I think of Celestial Seasonings as a maker of reliable, flavorful herbal teas. They offer a bounty of varieties to please most people. I am less fond of the "zinger" flavors, but I like many others.
When Housemate, who gets hot when temperatures rise above 65'F, was looking for an alternative to ice water, I turned to longtime friend, Celestial Seasonings.
First I brewed a pitcherful of True Blueberry. After it cooled, I loaded it with frozen mixed berries instead of ice. What a pretty alternative that was! Housemate had little hearts in his eyes - - for this iced tea. Once home from work, he heads directly for the refrigerator for a long, cool draught of True Blue Tea.
All that drinking led to the inevitable - - we ran out! Not to worry, however. Today I followed the same procedure with Tropic of Strawberry. It's in the fridge chilling even as I write. Soon I shall pour a shower of frozen berries into the pitcher, and serve it up to Housemate. It's small payment for his washing my car today.
I recommend, wholeheartedly, your making your summer cooler with herbal tea this summer. I promise you will be delighted with shivery coolness from your first sip! We like our tea without sweetening, but adding a splash of honey to the tea when it is hot and brewing would make a delicious drink even more so. Once I have my large pot of mint thriving, I'll add some fresh sprigs to one flavor or another when it has cooled. My next iced herbal tea shall be Country Apple Spice, also from Celestial Seasonings. I'm thinking I'll add cinnamon sticks and frozen apple slices, skins on, to that one.
Oh, and should you be asked to provide something for a refreshment table or a picnic, take an iced herbal tea. It's simplicity itself, yet so tasty. Depending on your plans, you could serve it in a clear pitcher or in a punch bowl. Add frozen fruit, or make an ice ring from the tea and add fruit to that. Edible flowers make striking additions to ice rings, too.
For another time and another post: the sensuous delights of chilled masala tea!
Here I raise my glass and say, "Cheers!" as I close this post.
(submitted by Moon Rani)


Carrie K said...

Oh yum! That sounds so refreshing. Frozen berries in the tea instead of icecubes! Brilliant!

Paula said...

Great review!
I love the Idea of the frozen blueberries in the Blueberry iced herbal.
I will try that today.
How I do love the world of Celestial Seasonings.
I too am always "hot", suffer from "inferno flashes" plus the whole diabetes thing leaves me always thirsty so the greatest discovery for me was taking 3 bags of CS 'Peppermint tea' dropping them in a gallon of good water and leaving it in the coldest part of the fridge overnight and in the morning take out the 3 tea bags and serve in a large glass over ice!
It is not to strong, actually quenches the thirst, and cools from the inside out!

Melanie said...

I agree that camellia sinensis is tea and herbals are tisanes. I guess that makes me a tea snob too! :-)
But your herbal ice tea suggestions sound amazingly good; I'm going to try them, especially because many of my friends/relatives can't take caffeine any more.

DianeM said...

Sounds scrummy! I've drunk lots of herbal 'tea' but would never have thought of having it chilled!

Just waiting for the next hot day now :-D

nonizamboni said...

Wonderful herbal tea suggestions! Before I leave for the grocery store to peruse the Celestial Seasonings aisle, I wanted to say I too remember their appearance in the '70's. I would save the boxes and the quotations and a lot of times I fantasized about being one of the beautiful women on the boxes.Thanks for the memories.

Anonymous said...

I am a camelia sinensis devotee. I do, however, occasionally indulge in a cup or glass of herbal tea - hot or iced. Thanks for such a wonderful review of possiblities for the CS tisanes.

Nyssaneala said...

I guess I'm not a purist, because I'm just as fond of "herbal tea". It's all I drink these days, since I'm preggers. But I do really miss the true teas, especially my yummy Ceylons and chais!

I indulged in a southern sweet tea at a restaurant this past week, the only caffeine I'm allowing during the pregnancy. It tasted just the way I make it, yumm yumm!

Dorothy said...

I'm just now reading this post. I never thought about the blueberry tea. I have to offer one other suggestion to the mix. Especially for nyssaneala...CS makes a Caffeine Free Tea. It is a herbal blend like all the rest and doesn't contain any real tea leaves. I can't drink real tea leaves and this was the alternative that I found years ago. I have to order it online because our big chain stores around us don't carry but a limited selection of CS anymore and I'm too far away from stores that do.
It's in a larger box, Green with Red labeling. Has a pitcher of iced tea on front. That's all it's called. Cafeine Free Tea. I love it, and another alternative to coffee and hot CS Roastaroma. It has a wonderfully rich aroma and taste, especially with cream and sugar added.