In my quest to reduce the toll stress is taking on my body, I’ve given up a few indulgences, such as drinking alcohol, recreational smoking (cigars, cloves and sheesha), and started eating a healthy South Beach type of diet. But in my research of anxiety and relieving its symptoms, the next step became obvious: I was going to have to give up caffeine, at least for the foreseeable future. (Check out this article on the dangers of caffeine for anxiety sufferers)
And you regular readers will know that I love my coffee. I love the smell, the taste, and of course, the ritual.
So after successfully giving up the caffeinated brew altogether (I still have the occasional decaf latte), I set my sights on getting a proper tea setup going.
It so happened my significant other was regularly making herself lemon balm tea before bed, using loose leaf tea and paper bags, when I decided that we should upgrade our tea situation. After using steel ball steeping chambers, I knew our first step would be to get a serious steeping pot.
After a search of many, many teapots, I settled into getting a Bodum Shin Cha four cup tea press with a stainless steel filter. At first I was hoping to find something a little more unusual than a typical Bodum teapot, but after looking for so long, there was something special about his pot that appealed to me. I love the glass, and the press has proven to be great at perfectly extracting the tea. As for cups, I’ve found our previous set of Laurentian mugs have been functioning beautifully, and are just to right size.
When it comes to loose-leaf teas, I find I’m drawn more towards the herbal and bitter end of the spectrum, partially to avoid the caffeinated teas, but also I find the sweeter teas a little too strong and unnatural. Lemon balm was been wonderful as a pre-bedtime relaxing tea, only surpassed by Chamomile. I’ve also tried Skullcap and Kava Kava, but due to my concern about their interactions with SSRIs, I’ve been holding onto those teas for a later time, when I’m no longer taking those kinds of prescriptions. As for where to get these teas, I’ve found the best place to find fresh loose leaf tea is at Tutti Frutti in Kensington Market, which has a very extensive selection of bulk loose leaf and individually bagged teas.
If anyone has any suggestions of where they like to find excellent loose leaf tea in Toronto, please drop me a line!
Finally, I knew that our tea set was complete when I finally found the perfect tea cozy at the Good Egg, also in Kensington Market. It’s made by Toronto design company Bookhou, and it perfectly fits over my rather large pot. It’s very dense and thick, and keeps the tea nice and hot for a very long time. And because it looks so great, leaving the cozy on the pot makes a nice little stylish detail to the apartment.