HEALTHY AROUND PHILLY! 27 Sep 2011
I'm really into tea right now (I'm obsessed with black tea, roobios and the TBar's coconut tea latte with Soy). I recently caught up with Philly's Alexis Siemons: Lither, writer, blogger of Teaspoons & Petals and tea consultant:
1. How did you become so interested in tea?
I can still recall the moment that I watched the green jasmine pearls unfurl in my teacup over 3 years ago. Inspired by the aromatic sips and wondrous leaves, I created my tea blog (teaspoons & petals) to document my journey with the steep. This simple quest of curiosity quickly blossomed into a hobby, then a passion, and now a passionate career. From blogging, crafting custom blends, teaching classes to writing articles that feature my tea-infused recipes, I can’t seem to get enough of the simply beautiful steeps.
2. Do you have any teas that you prefer to drink before/after Lithing? Anything super beneficial for pre/post exercise?
While my tea steeps change every moment, I often steep a green tea (normally pi lo chun) before lithing for a hydrating sip and small burst of caffeine. During lithe, I like to sip an herb infused water (lavender & mint or thyme with a squeeze of lemon and dab of honey) that wake up my taste buds and body when I need a reviving sip mid class. Considering that I leave lithe on an energy high, I steep something a bit more delicate, like a Chinese white tea. Although if I opt for an evening class, I’ll steep a hot cup of Rooibos (made from south African red bush plant) that has a rich, earthy flavor without any caffeine.
3. What tea should we be drinking this fall?
Masala chai is a wonderful fall tea thanks to its traditional warming spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, peppercorn, cloves, etc) anchored by hearty black tea that warms the soul. Although, if you prefer a chai sip with less caffeine, you should try a White Chai or Rooibos Chai. I also love roasted teas, like hojicha (roasted Japanese green tea great when served with ginger honey), Tung Ting oolong or Gen Mai Chai green tea. The steamy sips, toasty aromas and flavors pair perfectly with crisp fall weather.
4. Anything that you can teach us about tea?
My best piece of advice is to find a few teas that you love and learn how to steep them properly. I often advise friends in Philly to visit local tea shops where you can sit and sip and buy in bulk to-go (Tbar on 12th & Sansom). Meet up with friends and treat yourself to a few pots to find a favorite tea. Ask the tea expert behind the counter for the proper steep time and temperature and you’re set to make a lovely cup at home.
Keep in mind that every tea requires a different water temperature and steep time. For example, most black teas require boiling water steeped for3-5 minutes, while Green tea only should be steeped in 180 degree water for 2-3 minutes, and White tea at 175 degrees for 3-4 minutes, etc. Most teas have steeping directions on the packaging, but you can always google it just to be sure. Or tweet me :)
Image of Alexis via Courtney Apple