Ramp Randoms: A Beginner’s Guide To… Tea
Is there anything better than tay? We certainly don’t think so. As far as we’re concerned, tay can solve anything.
Tired? Have a cupán tae.
Got dumped? Tay.
Trying to cram a 2,000 word essay into one night of work? Might as well hook yourself up to an IV drip filled with Lyons’ Gold Blend.
We consume it in buckets when someone passes away. Here’s a very good piece of advice for those attending traditional wakes: bring mints, because your breath will stink from the non-stop flow of Ireland’s No.1 comfort beverage.
Just picture it: the weather outside is frightful, but the electric blanket is so delightful… all that’s missing from your cosy evening is a nice pot of tea. You go to the cupboard to get the teabags and, horror of horrors, you’re all out. All that’s left is that box of herbal stuff you bought yonks ago after reading it helped Gwyneth ‘Mastercleanse’ Paltrow lose 5 pounds in a week…
We hope that this guide will teach tea novices about those odd-coloured, alien alternatives, so that if we ever experience a black tea drought (god forbid) you’ll know what your options are.
Stick on the kettle and get ready for a crash course.
1. Green Tea
From China. It comes in many different variations – pure green tea, green tea with citrus, green tea with cranberry, etc. Some of these can be very fragrant and yummy, and if nothing else they’ll do a good job of warming you up on a cold winter morning.
Pros: Associated with health benefits, from speeding up your metabolism, to preventing cancer and heart disease.
Cons: Pure green tea is not for the faint-hearted. It tastes nothing like regular tae and many regard it with the same disgust that children reserve for broccoli. If you develop a taste for it, however, you can sip away, safe and smug in the knowledge that your tea is both healthy and kind of exotic.
One very important point to remember – do not add milk. If you need to cool it down a little, top up your mug with a little cold water.
2. White Tea
Don’t be fooled. This tea isn’t white at all; it’s actually a bit yellow. The name comes from the colour of the buds on the tea plant.
Pros: Health benefits, such as reducing the severity of strokes and, again, preventing cancer. It has the lowest caffeine content of all teas.
Cons: Expensive when compared with the regular stuff.
Same as the green stuff, no milk here please.
3. Lemon & Ginger Tea
The kind of drink you can just hold and breathe in for a hit of warm, aromatic goodness.
Pros: A great cold and flue remedy, very comforting in the depths of winter. Caffeine free, so a good choice of hot beverage if you’re trying to wean yourself off the good stuff.
Cons: Not really tea. This is one of the pretenders of the group – it’s made from an infusion of lemon and ginger root rather than tea leaves.
5. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is, obviously, an infusion of peppermint. It’s caffeine-free.
Pros: Peppermint tea has a good reputation for soothing sore tummies, and is also caffeine free so overall, it’s is a pretty healthy option. It’s also known to help relieve bad breath, so keep it handy in case you have a halitosis-stricken friend over for a cuppa.
Cons: Another tea that isn’t tea. Some might find the taste a bit too odd for their liking.
Teas And Thank You
Now, what to do with all your newly acquired tay knowledge? Why, purchase a few tay-related Christmas presents! These are sure to go down well with any lover of hot beverages.
Hairy Baby mug
Located in Cork, these guys make a selection of products branded with slogans and catchphrases unique to the Irish: perfect presents for a loved one living abroad. In keeping with the tay theme, why not go for the rather amusing Clint Eastwood ‘Go Ahead…Make My Tay’ mug?
Available on mycupoftea.ie, with delightful little trinkets like a teacup necklace. Adorable AND practical.
If you’re a dab hand with a knitting needle, who better to cosy up to your teapot than your very own Michael ‘Tea’ Higgins, as created by a Broadsheet.ie reader, Virginia Costello.
Finally it only remains to say, go forth and drink tay!