When my friend Naomi texted to tell me she’d discovered a magical tea that was helping ease her anxiety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I was skeptical. For one thing, I’ve never been a big tea drinker. For another, I’m not sure a cup of tea is any match for my current level of quarantine-induced stir-craziness. Ever the optimist though, I looked into it anyway, and found that she just might be on to something.
Infused with fresh ginger and tons of immunity-boosting turmeric, Big Heart Tea’s Cup of Sunshine ($9.95, Amazon) is a gourmet, small-batch, hand-blended tea made by a Midwestern-based, woman-owned and operated company. All of their ingredients are ethically sourced and come from growers committed to environmental conservation and their workers’ well-being.
But what does it taste like, and what does it do for you? Naomi calls it “spicy, but in a good way,” and recommends adding a little milk to tone down the spice “if that’s your thing.” Ginger, which gives the tea its bite, is packed with fiber and potassium, and is great for digestion (it keeps things moving, if you know what I mean). And turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and helping to relieve aches and pains. It’s also known to boost immunity — something we all can use right now. Malabar peppercorn kicks the spice level up a notch and also has anti-inflammatory properties, making Cup of Sunshine tea a triple-threat when it comes to protecting your health.
Note that this tea comes loose, not in bags. If, like me, you are a novice tea-drinker, you might be unsure about buying loose tea. How do you make it? What do you need besides a cute mug to drink the tea out of?
Never fear! It’s easy. All you need is a tea strainer (also sometimes called an infuser). This Tilevo dinosaur-shaped infuser set ($12.99, Amazon) is adorable, and this Chefast multi-size option ($16.25, Amazon) will have you covered in case you want to make larger pots. You can also go full tea-nerd and order this Kitchen Kite glass teapot set with a built-in infuser ($34.99, Amazon).
Once you’ve got your tea-brewing equipment ready, prepare yourself for an invigorating and luxurious sensory experience. “This is really high-quality tea, and you can tell as soon as you open it,” says Naomi.
You’ll want two heaping teaspoons per cup (or more for extra spiciness). Break the tea apart gently to release the essential oils and enhance the flavor, then put it into your infuser. Dunk the infuser into your mug of hot water, brew for two minutes, then add honey, your preferred milk, or sip it straight up.
If you’re planning on staying put for the next several weeks (or months?) I can’t think of a better plan than sitting on the sofa with a cup of this scrumptious tea. (Although, when the time comes, this travel teacup from Amazon is fantastic, and a steal at $24.99 for the seafoam color.)
Where to buy: From $9.95, Amazon
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