Latest Brews

One Lemon, Two Sugar — How Hot Tea Heals Me

By Charlotte Smith

While I write for (and absolutely adore) Sweatpants & Coffee, I have a confession to make. I’m more of a Sweatpants & Tea girl. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times where a cup of coffee sounds pretty good, especially hazelnut coffee with chocolate creamer, because then it’s basically like I’m drinking a Ferrero Rocher and that’s heavenly. But 95% of the time what I really truly want is just a good cuppa tea. It’s soothing in a different way—while coffee gives me lots of perk, tea gives me a steady comfort. It’s the difference between running a million miles a minute before crashing and burning, and being a steady, well-oiled machine.

My hot tea appreciation started when I was young. My grandmother always keeps bags and bags of hot tea at her house, and my mom kept two tea bag jars: one hot tea, one iced tea. Winter consisted of many mugs of hot spiced tea that would turn even the most curmudgeonly Scrooge into a softly smiling friend. Hot toddies were a regular cure in our house—hot tea, lemon juice, honey, and whiskey—and while I despised the taste as a child I’ve grown to want one when I feel under the weather.

I didn’t have a hot tea collection of my own, though, until visiting England and Scotland at seventeen. Everywhere we went, no matter the time of day, there were tea bags and mugs at the ready. Even though it was mid June, I drank enough tea to fill Loch Ness. I couldn’t get enough. Irish breakfast while we quietly ate our morning bacon and eggs (plus toast with butter and lemon marmalade), Earl Grey as a mid morning pick me up, peppermint tea at lunch, orange spice tea in the afternoons, some chamomile or lavender tea in the evenings before bed. I was there on a trip through my church’s youth group, and there was something about the tea that made that whole journey smoother.

To this day, it doesn’t feel like my kitchen if I don’t have multiple teas to choose from at any given moment. I’ve gotten out of my hot tea habits and honestly? I can tell. There’s something about taking the five minute break to press the pause button, put your feet up, and enjoy a sip out of a favorite mug that acts like a factory reset. I’m calmer afterwards. Oftentimes, I’m nicer afterwards. I’ve gone from a crying, blubbery mess to calm and collected after a few minutes with a cup.

With a baby due in May, I’m going to need lots of tea time, I think. Here’s what I’m planning on stocking in my kitchen.

Twinings Irish Breakfast: This stuff in the morning with a slice of lemon is pure delight. It’s bolder than most teas, but still doesn’t leave me wired for sound.

Twinings Lady Grey: I came across this the first time after I’d grown tired of dumping too much lemon in my Earl Grey and making it taste and feel all wrong. This is a more citrusy Earl Grey that has bergamot, orange, and lemon.

Be Well Red Get Gorgeous: I love, love, love the way this tea tastes. It’s got hibiscus and is made with rooibos tea, often known as red tea, to be chock full of antioxidants. Good and good for me? Yes, please.

Teavana Youthberry White Tea: I used to work at Victoria’s Secret, and would always snag a sample of this when I had breaks at the mall. It’s delightfully fruity but not in a sickly sweet way. Just in an “I’m tempted to use this as a mixer” way.

The Tea Spot Pink Rose Lemonade: I love rose and I love lemon, and I REALLY love this. It’s all herbal with lemon, rose, mint, chamomile, and lavender, and sounds like the perfect cup before bed.

Cheers, and here’s to a good cuppa.

Charlotte Smith is an esthetician licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. She’s married to a lumberjack version of Deadpool, is obsessed with huskies, is straight up in quarter-life crisis mode, and loves pretty much anything that could be considered creepy.

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