What Brew Are You?... Find your inner travelgirl in a cup of tea.

Travel Girl - June 1,2009

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world revolves - slowly, evenly without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life. - Thich Nhat Hanh

I definitely believe that "Only this moment is life," but I rarely have the time to do anything "slowly and reverently." I am an adventurous, hard-working, gym-rat travelgirl who doesn't have the time or patience to incorporate an ancient tea ritual into my busy lifestyle - yet I want all the benefits that loose leaf tea has to offer. Learning when an dhow to incorporate different types of tea, depending on the different roles I play, allows me to reap the benefits of tea on my own terms. Loose leaf tea is healthier and more flavorful than bagged teas (about 100x more!) and contrary to what you might think, it can be enjoyed as an everyday luxury since ounce-per-ounce, loose leaf tea is usually more economical and just as easy to incorporate into any travelgirl's routine. If you'd like to allow the power of tea into your life, here's a guide to help you determine what kind of teas would complement the travelgirl spirit inside you.

The following choices are The Tea Spot teas; prices as noted:

>> MEDITATIVE MIND (caffeine: 5-10 mg / 8 oz cup): A tea for the hard-working travelgirl who works late and rarely gets a chance to make it to happy hour; instead, she rejuvenates by steeping a simply blissful cup of tea. A blend of pure Chinese white tea, rosebuds and jasmine pearls, this tea creates an aromatherapy experience that sharpens the mind and arouses the senses. The antioxidant-rich white tea has about 10 mg of caffeine, just enough to help stimulate the body. The floral, exotic scent of night–blooming Jasmine is uplifting and soothing, and is sometimes used as an anti-depressant in herbal medicine. The beautiful pink rosebuds are thought to ease nervous tension and stress, and have a calming effect on the mind. $9.99 / 2 oz = 28 8oz servings = $.36/serving.

>> PU-ERH BRICK (caffeine: 30-60 mg / 8 oz cup): A tea for the global travelgirl who tours the world on business and doesn’t have the time to succumb to jetlag or hangovers. Black and green Pu-erh (poo-air) Tuochas are easy traveling teas that help to invigorate the body — and studies show that this tea also assists in lowering bad cholesterol and reducing the chance of heart disease. Tuochas are tea leaves compressed into a little brick; they are individually wrapped in paper (which is removed before using) and steep a dark earthy liquor that leaves the body pleasantly caffeinated. $10 / 4 oz = 40 servings = $.25/serving

>> MATE LIMON CHAI (caffeine: 30-40 mg / 8 oz cup): A tea for the gym-brat travelgirl who needs a jump-start on her way to her early morning kickboxing class, endurance for her lunch-hour spin class and focus for her late-afternoon yoga class. This blend of mate (what is mate? simple description), lemongrass, ginger and chai spices stimulates the body, hydrates the soul and centers the mind. This tea is deliciously stimulating whether you savor it hot in the morning or cold on a hot summer’s eve. $9.99 / 3.5 oz = 50 8oz servings = $.20/serving

>> CLIMBER’S HIGH (caffeine: 30-40 mg / 8 oz cup): A tea for the adventurous travelgirl who prefers climbing mountains to sorting through the mountain of paperwork on her desk. It’s a blend of green and black teas combined with mate and ayurvedic herbs, which not only energizes but also helps acclimate a travelgirl to new time zones and altitudes, in case you decide to journey from sea-level to the Rocky Mountains for a weekend excursion, for example. $15 / 4 oz = 45 servings = $.33/serving

>> RED ROCKS (caffeine free): A tea for the traveling mom-to-be who wants an immunity boost while needing to be energized by natural energy. It’s a blend of Rooibos (a South African bush), vanilla and almonds, that when steeped makes a smooth, creamy-sweet thirst quencher anytime of day. Full of antioxidants and other healthy minerals (such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and fluoride), Rooibos has been shown to aid in health problems such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension, hypertension, stomach cramping, allergies, skin irritation and colic in infants. Drinking Red Rocks during pregnancy introduces the baby to a healthy beverage that is great hot or cold. $9.99 / 3.5 oz = 50 8oz servings = $.20/serving

>> BOLDER BREAKFAST (caffeine: 50-60 mg / 8 oz cup): A tea for the "super” woman who just recently gave up coffee and needs an alternative. In charge of three kids, a part-time job and chairing a community outreach group, she needs a tea that not only wakes her up but also keeps her going all day long. Bolder Breakfast, a blend of Pu-erh (a fully fermented earthy black tea high in caffeine), and four other black teas, with hints of dark chocolate, is a healthy alternative to coffee, with half (Is this right? The number was corrupted) of the amount of caffeine. Studies have shown that this bold black tea also helps prevent heart disease, lower bad blood pressure, is good for oral hygiene and prevents irritability. $9.99 / 3.25 oz = 45 46 8oz servings = $.22/serving

>> MANGO TANGO (caffeine: 40-50 mg / 8 oz cup): Here’s a tea for the outgoing woman who lives to entertain. This Ceylon black tea blended with mango and passion fruit is a fun-loving versatile tea that produces a subtle sweetness when steeped hot — add a touch of agave and a slice of lemon for more sweetness. It is also very refreshing served over ice. Garnish it with a slice of fresh mango and mint to help enliven the taste buds. Or add some vodka, shake it and serve as a fun tea-tini. $9.99 / 3 oz = 40 44 8 oz servings = $.2224/serving

>> NEW MOON DARJEELING (caffeine: 40-45 mg / 8 oz cup): A tea for the eco-maniac travelgirl who is conscious about social and environmental sustainability and wants only the best quality. Darjeerling is known as “the Champagne of tea,” and this is a single estate tea from Darjeeling (in India?) that is 100% organic and fair trade. Its forward bright muscatel notes complement hints of earthy sweetness. Drink it hot, cold, or mix it with the other Champagne to create a Darjeeling sparkler. Either way you drink it, lift your glass and toast the world. $14.99 / 3 oz = 50 42 8oz servings = $.3336/serving

Other options, available from Adagio Teas, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (respectively); prices as noted:

PINA COLADA ( caffeine free): A tea for the after-school-tea-party-mom who enjoys hearing about her kid’s day over a warm cup of tea. True to its name, this is a delicious blend of natural fruits and spices that brews up a mouthwatering cup of herbal tea. Entirely caffeine free, it holds a special appeal for kids and sweet-toothed adults. The flavor is all-natural, emanating from a mix of ripe pineapple, savory coconut, fresh apples, rose hip and hibiscus flowers. $7 / 4 oz = 45 servings = $.1514/serving

HONEYDEW OOLONG: A tea for the professional travelgirl who doesn’t even have to time to heat some water. She’s always in the car running from meeting to meeting and tied to an electronic leash. This healthy replacement for sodas and juices is packaged in a pyramid sachet, which makes it easy to steep on the go. The combination of White Tip Wu-long Oolong, pineapple and honeydew creates a refreshing, crisp flavor served hot or cold. $10.20 / 2.5 oz = 20 teabags = $.51/serving

So, what’s my perfect cup of tea? Per my self-description, I’m an adventurous (Climber’s High), hard-working (Meditative Mind), outgoing (Mango Tango) gym-rat (Mate Limon Chai) travelgirl. I drink all different types of teas all day long and feel much happier, healthier, wealthy and eco-friendly.

- Karen Harbour, Tea Spot Chef