Thursday, December 24, 2015

Oh Christmas Tea, Oh Christmas Tea! Week 3-ish

Here is the third and final installment in this year's Advent calendar: 24 days of tea. Catch up by reading Week 1 and Week 2.

Day 17 ~ "Mulled wine" ~ an oolong tea with low caffeine that I liked so much I had two cups that day.

Day 18 ~ "Forever nuts" ~ a caffeine-free fruit infusion that describes us perfectly! (See above.)

Day 19 ~ "Dark chocolate" ~ a black tea with medium caffeine that smelled like chocolate and tasted like a mild black tea.

Day 20 ~ "Moment of zen" ~ green tea with low caffeine that I paired with a book on Medizin and Krieg (war) in Deutschland.

Day 21 ~ "Cardamom French toast" ~ a black tea with low caffeine whose aroma reminded me of one of the buildings where I went to college (Eads Hall at Washington University in St. Louis). A little milk made it good and creamy.

Day 22 ~ "Snow day" ~ a low-caffeine herbal infusion that was wishful thinking for a winter as warm as we've had. I confess between all the travel and the confusing weather, it hasn't felt very much like Christmas. I don't know how the southern third of the country gets in the mood when the mercury is so high. Anyway, this one reminded me of nothing so much as a York Peppermint Patty. In the background you can see I'm reading about military statistics and the development of biological thinking in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (that's my favorite online German dictionary on the right).

Day 23 ~ "Gingerbread cookie" ~ another new kind of tea for us: maté. Maté the caffeinated drink is made by steeping leaves from the South American yerba maté plant in hot water. It is typically drunk through a straw that filters out the leaves. While researching it, I learned that maté can be bitter if prepared with boiling water. That's when I noticed the temperature suggestion on the back of the little drawer-box: 85 C / 185 F for maté rather than the 205 F for black tea. Apparently white and green teas like lower temps, too. Ah, whoops. This one was labeled "stimulant," and I hoped it would "stimulate" me to finish reading yesterday's research book and move on to cleaning the kitchen. Smelled and tasted like gingerbread, which I don't normally like.

Day 24 ~ "Santa's secret" ~ a medium-caffeine black tea we drank at the start of a loong day of cleaning, packing, cooking and eating two big meals, rehearsing, performing, and celebrating Christmas Eve at three church services, the last one ending at midnight. Can you see the tiny red and white candy-cane shapes in the tea? I couldn't quite pin the flavor, but it was delicious. Must be Santa's secret recipe. Today's research book: French and German doctors during World War I (also auf deutsch).

Those of you who have read along this whole Advent, thank you! This was a delightful present from my Mother-in-Law that Dear Husband and I were able to turn into three-ish weeks of experimenting and taste-testing across the miles. And because the little canisters have more than two servings in them, we get to continue drinking wonderful tea into the new year. From our little house to yours, wherever you are, Merry Christmas! May it be safe, happy, and restful.

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