A while back, I did a post all about my favorite teas. Since then we've moved from our little apartment into a nice house, and the tea stash has also expanded. I won't tell you how many varieties of tea are in the tea cupboard now (yes, we have an entire cupboard dedicated just to tea. Oh, and there's some hot chocolate in there, too).
Here are a few favorites from the current stash:
Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion I'm usually not a fan of fruit flavored teas, but I make an exception for peach. This is one of my favorites, though it has to battle The Republic of Tea's Ginger Peach. We don't have any of the latter in the house right now, but it's my special treat when we go to Panara Bread.
Of course, we still have the Ahmad, which is our go-to tea around here. The first box ran out long ago, and I was desperately searching online. The manufacturer's website offers it for £17.50, plus international shipping to the US. Whew! No thanks. That is one expensive cuppa! Thankfully, I ventured into a local Middle Eastern/Mediterranean market that we have about a mile or two from the house, and lo and behold, an entire shelf of Ahmad teas, all different varieties, was right by the front door! I think I wound up paying $4.50 for a box of 100 tea bags, which is much more my speed.
The Ahmad English Tea No. 1 is our standard, but I also found a tin of loose leaf Darjeeling, though I haven't tried that one yet. I should. You know, for science.
Shockingly, one of the best black teas I've found came from HomeGoods. I bought it mostly because of the tins, which are adorable, but the tea itself is fantastic--no cream or sugar required. Not bad, considering I paid $3.99 for three little containers!
The brand is "New English Teas," though generally you won't find it on the box. This is an example of some of their packaging. Each tin is a different flavor (we have Breakfast, Afternoon, English, and London varieties--all very similar). Some packages include one or two of the small tins, plus a longer one. The long ones have bagged tea, and I like to keep that in my locker at work, since loose leaf is not very practical on a 15 minute break in a shared kitchen.
It's not tea, but my last, favorite thing in the tea cupboard is actually a can of hot cocoa mix. When the weather was really cold and I was feeling down, I'd mix myself up the following concoction to get myself going in the morning. It tastes just like my mom's signature cake, and it's very comforting on a bad day.
-fill a mug with milk (I like whole milk but whatever you prefer). Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (less, if your microwave is more powerful than our cheap-o one).
-stir in 3 scoops of Archer Farms mint hot chocolate mix (found at Target. 'Cuz I'm high class like that).
-Add 1/2 packet of instant coffee crystals (I use Foldgers, because it's what we have, but there might be other kinds out there. I don't know. I'm more of a tea/chocolate person).
And that's it. That right there is my absolute favorite thing to have in the morning. By using the whole milk, it's a little more filling than using water or skim milk or whatever other percentage, so I'll just have a cup of that with some banana bread or something and that's a decent breakfast.
Maybe another day, I'll share Missouri's recipe for Italian-style hot chocolate. It's a little more work, but oh my god. You haven't lived until you've had the southern European version of hot chocolate. It kicks the instant kind's ass.