January 27, 2011
hello, friends! today i have a very special guest post for you from my dear friend christy from nordgrains! as our husbands work together, it wasn’t long before we found each other and became quick friends. she writes a fabulous blog on healthy living, yoga and nutrition (a must read!) and today is sharing with us how to make our very own tea. i’ve had several cups and it’s just about the yummiest tea i’ve ever had!
Tea is funny. It is both companion and social prop. “Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things,” Chaim Potok writes in his novel, The Chosen. But C. S. Lewis said, “Tea should be taken in solitude.” In wintertime I cannot help but wish for tea nearly every day. I am not picky: it tastes good in the presence of company or in the company of silence. There is indeed something magical about good tea, but there is even more magic in great tea, and even better—in pretty tea. A couple weeks ago I accepted an invitation to explore the verb “create.” It is a tricky verb–that business of creating–especially if one’s greatest temptation is comparison. Comparison and competition stripped away, I am creative. One of my most delightful qualities is my uncanny ability to explore and marry flavors. So I set out to make my own tea. I was so inspired by the abundance of options before me that I soon penciled in a new goal: one day cultivate my own tea garden from which I can harvest rich, home-grown flavors.
Tea bags are surprisingly easy to come by. I ordered mine online but also found a small variety at local health markets. Some resources suggested making tea bags out of cheesecloth. One problem: I am a sans sewing machine, completely novice DIY-er.
My first purchase was a big handful of organic Colorado mountain mint. I rinsed the leaves and made small bouquets to hang in a dark, dry space. I also cleaned and chopped organic tangerine rind. My flavor collection was completed in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods where I gathered cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise stars, cardamom pods, a few other spices, and some jasmine green tea leaves.
Always somewhere between hateful and grateful of our semi-arid climate here on Colorado’s Front Range, I did not wait long for my mint to dry. Now here’s the deal. When you buy regular old tea bags, the ingredients are so minced and chopped that you eventually stare at a mass resembling a soggy cud, having no visual connection to any real plant-based ingredient in the cotton satchel. Tea should be pretty. I did not chop and crush my mint leaves. I broke them only small enough to fit inside the tea bags. This way the leaves expand, grow, and turn a brilliant green in the tea cup!
Tea tags? Organic cotton string, card stock, and a stamp pad.
As I was reaching for my stamp pad, my hand brushed my button bucket. I know, it is probably strange to have a button bucket when I do not know how to sew, but I recently learned that I have a strong attraction to button buckets: they are a rite of passage for women. Does not every woman have a button bucket? I should be horrified to learn the negative. My own mother had a small, rarely used sewing space in our house. As a little girl, I found the specific sewing implements frightening and bizarre, but I loved to steal away and run my fingers through the button bucket. Back to the business of tea, I decided that tea tags should be lovely, and what better opportunity than to decorate with beads and buttons? This way, I can give tea to others and contribute to other women’s button buckets. My tea will be the gift that keeps on giving.
The final order of business was to examine the individual tea leaves, spices, and “things” I had collected and start crafting real brews. Here is what I landed on. None have disappointed.
Nordgrains is about health and wholeness. Like seeds, we already have the substance to grow and live big, vibrant lives. Sometimes we forget what we already have. I hope to help you find nourishment for your continued growth.