Relish: Tea Time

Custom blends offer relief for the common … everything.

Loose Tea
Photo courtesy of Mike Ramm.

Frank Poland of Old Town Coffee, Tea & Spice has, what he calls, a “benign obsession” with tea. After switching from gourmet wholesaler to teashop owner 18 years ago, Poland offers hand-selected tea blends at his Alexandria shop. Here, Poland troubleshoots alleviating morning fatigue and stubborn colds with tea.

Tea for coffee lovers – Poland suggests Irish Breakfast, a blend of Kenyan and Assam teas, letting coffee drinkers feel that they, says Poland, “get a jolt out of it.” Like coffee, these strong blends mix well with milk and sugar. In general, black tea has half the caffeine of coffee. 

Tea for a cold – A house-blend of Green Tea with mint and lemon provides some comfort for cold suffers, says Poland. Mint, especially, “helps with the sinuses but also it soothes the throat.” For extra relief, Poland recommends adding honey, such as Breitsamer’s Acacia Blossom Honey imported from Germany.

Tea for kids – “For children, we don’t recommend things with caffeine,” says Poland, but “there are lots of herbal combinations.” Kids might enjoy something fruity, such as the house-blend Kimberly with rooibos, lemon, orange and linden, a European tree leaf used as an after-dinner drink.

Tea for the stressed – Chamomile, often noted for its calming qualities, can help with relaxation. Try the Bianca, made with chamomile, orange and a bit of hibiscus. Poland says, “The healthiest thing about tea is that you have to stop what you’re doing, boil water, and steep the tea and relax for a few minutes.” –Eliana Reyes

(January 2014)