Tea of the month club...

by - Sunday, January 19, 2020

Perhaps it is while drinking tea that I most of all enjoy the sense of leisure. ~ George Gissing

It's cold outside but warm in here. The delicate feel of bone china in your hand, patterned with a garland of roses. The aroma of spiced chai wafting up from the cup, awakening your soul. The company of your favorite people to share time well spent. January is perfect for celebrating National Hot Tea Month. Whoever created this holiday in the States should be applauded. This is the ideal time to slow down, especially after the hype of the holidays to savor a perfumed brew and leisure recharge.

The United States remains the third largest tea importer in the world, according to International Tea Committee statistics. Russia and Pakistan are first and second. It is appropriate that the U.S. celebrates this beverage that has grown in popularity from millennials to baby boomers. Thank you, Downton Abbey! While many enjoy regular tea consumption to support wellness combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, some regard the ritual as a special treat.

We had the pleasure of not one but two visits to different New Jersey tearooms this month to pause and escape from the daily grind. Our first stop was Harmony Tea Room in Westwood. Always quite charming with their wave of china plates adorning the walls, inviting hearth, and a sizeable selection of brew, family time spent here is a special treat. Everything was perfect the day we visited, in particular, the generous portion of their newly added broccoli and cheddar quiche. The flakey crust and fluffy texture were a surprising bonus to the seasonal salad selection and classic finger sandwich assembly we were accustomed to. 

Tea is not just a languid libation, mind you. Studies show that due to the presence of the compounds L-theanine and caffeine, tea consumption produces cognitive benefits, such as mental clarity and attention control, counteracts tiredness, and benefits work performance. Research also suggests drinking tea supports cardiovascular health and can reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. Tea flavonoids may help increase metabolism. Carrying a couple of antioxidant green tea bags with me, I can enjoy a boost at any time, just add hot water.

In business for thirty years, eighteen of them in Chester, Sally Lunns Tea Shoppe serves up the best homemade mouth-watering buttermilk scones and scrumptious cottage pies, pastries, and desserts that you could find anywhere in the State. This was our first visit to the restaurant filled with antiques and curiosities and home to over fifty flavors of loose tea and foods imported from England. Brenna and I both ordered the Nutcracker tea that infused our tastebuds with the delicate flavor of marzipan with a dash of added sugar. The chicken pot pie we shared was creamy and light at the same time, the product of pairing a perfect pâte brisée crust and hearty homemade béchamel sauce. We left satisfied and set to drive an hour back home.

A warm, steaming cup of tea is welcome at any time of day, especially in these cold winter months. Whether as an alternative to coffee with the rich tradition of Irish Breakfast tea or as a quiet cap to the end of the day, settling your nerves with Chamomile and Lavender, tea is an amazing elixir. You can drink it like many Americans with lemon and sugar, or perhaps a bit of honey, or you can mix in cream for a full European experience. However you do it, Hot Tea Month is a great time to reembrace this delicious beverage that can warm your heart, body, and soul.

We are proud members of our very own tea of the month club... xoxo-Sonya

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