Cooling options in the summertime: hot and cold tea

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The old lyric goes this way: “Summertime, and the living is easy.” And it’s true; one can doff the coat and the gloves and forget about stoking the woodstove. But what about staying cool? That’s the seasonal problem when the sun is hot.

Cooling drinks are one solution to summertime heat. As it turns out, there are three ways to be cooled by tea.

The first is obvious: Drink a tea concoction with ice in it. Just holding the iced glass is cooling to the extremities, and pouring the cooled liquid down the throat also cools the mouth and throat. A non-alcoholic fruit and tisane combination called a sangria is a popular choice for tea lovers who want it iced.

Another option is a cooling herbal tea. Chinese herbal medicine has separated herbal teas, or tisanes, into cooling and warming categories—which by the way has nothing to do with the temperature of the tea being served. Hot tea can cool. The cooling teas also are detox teas that tend to dissipate heat in the body’s system.

This categorizing of herbal tea is the result of many hundreds of years of traditional medicinal tea observation in China. The varieties of teas and their effects have been certifiably compiled. When a particular tea is recommended for cooling or warming, the person receiving the recommendation can be confident that the tea will produce as promised.

Consumption of regular tea is the third cooling option. Camellia sinensis teas also have been placed in either a cooling or warming category. Lightly oxidized teas, such as green and white, are the best cooling varieties. Black tea is a warming tea with a different set of attributes, including being a good anti-inflammatory agent.

Each of the teas has properties that render it perfect, or less than perfect, for a drinker. Too much caffeine. Too cooling for certain systems. And so on. In the end, the coolest thing about tea might be its versatility and predictability—winter or summer.

(Want to stay connected to other tea lovers? Check the Tea Twitterati 100, a list of the 100 most active tea industry social media users. The regularly updated list is posted on the website of premium quality tea supplier Wild & Bare Co. wildandbare.com)


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