Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tea- it just always makes me feel better

I'll be driving up to Cape Cod with the girls to see my Dad and Stepmother on Wednesday. They live in Wellfleet- a wonderful town that is still rustic and quaint and surrounded by the most beautiful beaches you've ever seen- all established as National Seashore and relatively untouchable (thanks to Jackie Kennedy). They decided to retire there about 4 years ago and have never looked back. They have fully immersed themselves in this smart, tough and quirky community where the dental hygienist becomes Patsy Cline at night, the electrician sells eggs and the secretary to the historical society has a great guitar CD. If you've read John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, Wellfleet is quite similar- full of colorful and simply terrific characters.

Where am I going with this? Good question. Well, my stays in Wellfleet are always full of lovely rituals such as: drinking my morning coffee outside with a view of the bay (while learning about the local birds), evening jazz and a glass of wine, dinner in the "garden", trips to the: beach, Kettle ponds, local bakery, fruit and vegetable stands and plenty of reading (which I don't do enough of at home). One ritual I always look forward to is "tea time." My stepmother is South African and tea is a serious thing. The teapot gets put on the stove several times a day (and often is forgotten about)- luckily with no major consequences. My favorite is the afternoon tea (at roughly 2PM). In my opinion, a lovely cup of hot tea (even in the hot sun) and of course a piece of toast or biscuit is just pure pleasure. It is soothing, relaxing and energizing at the same time. It forces you to sit down and sip. How often do we do that? I'm not diligent enough to do this at home but when I do (like a few minutes ago), it just always makes me feel better. Yes, you can buy tea anywhere and in all grocery stores. But a really good cup of tea must come from a canister of good quality loose tea- it just tastes richer. We looked at many brands of tea for our store and decided to go with Le Palais des Thes because of how they run their company. They source their product directly from the growers. They visit the plantations regularly, allowing them to ensure excellent working conditions, respect for the environment and fair trade practices. We also think their packaging is quite chic and can adorn any kitchen beautifully.

Tea has been consumed for over 2000 years for enjoyment and health benefits. Scientific Research has shown that tea can help lower "bad" cholesterol, aid in digestion, prevent cardio-vascular disease and help prevent cancer.

The Emperor Shen Nung, the father of Chinese medicine and farming wrote in his Medical Book that "tea relieves tiredness, strengthens the will, delights the soul and enlivens the sight."

So, why do I think tea makes a great gift? Typically most people drink tea but will not spend the money on the "good stuff" but really enjoy receiving it. Gifts that can be consumed are often much appreciated- especially for those who already have "everything." We also sell the muslin bags to make your own tea bags- it is so easy! Giving tea is giving a gift of relaxation (and good health). A canister of loose tea along with some lovely bath powder and a good book says "relax, you deserve it" or "take some well-deserved time for yourself." Don't you know people who need a little "me time" and much needed "r and r?" Send them some tea.

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