We have a love affair with tea and coffee in our house. Some brands are merely okay while others are stellar, and you should never settle for okay when you can have stellar for the same amount or less! Just like there are “cat people” and “dog people,” I think there are die-hard tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. Today, we are sharing some of our favorites for both coffee AND tea.
I am firmly in the camp of tea drinker and, like any snob, I’m very specific about what I consider “real tea.” I enjoy coffee too, but my go-to beverage is always tea…hot, full-bodied black tea with a splash of milk. I’m not so much of a snob that I insist on a china teacup — though that IS fun (I have a sizable teacup collection) but for the quantity of tea that I generally consume, a mug is more practical. I’ll enjoy flavored black teas occasionally (especially iced), and I like a great cup of coffee or cappuccino with dessert, but to start my day, I want my breakfast tea. With milk. The way the Good Lord intended.
My daughter, on the other hand, is a coffee aficionado. Her stint in Miami instilled (along with a love of Cuban cuisine) an affection for strong black coffee, which was further reinforced with the wonderful coffee available everywhere she went in Austria and Germany. She lives for coffee in the morning (like, I guess, most of the world does) and drinks tea occasionally later in the day.
Best Breakfast Teas
Nobody does breakfast tea better than the Brits, IMO. Here are two of my favorites to start my day (click on image for link):
Best Flavored Teas
And here are some favorite flavored teas — many of these make great iced tea as well. In the summer, we ALWAYS have a pitcher of iced tea on hand — I pour whatever is left from brewing a pot of morning tea into a pitcher to become iced tea for later in the day, and if I’ve managed to consume the whole pot in the morning, I’ll make a flavored tea for the pitcher (click on image for link):
Tea bags or loose tea?
I drink so much tea and am too impatient to deal with the mess of loose tea most days, but loose tea makes, reportedly, a superior brew for the discerning tea palate. I guess I’m just not THAT discerning most days. [Designer Daughter’s Editorial Note: I brew the above Jasmine and Thai Teas as loose-leaf.] Different teas require different steeping times and some have differing optimal water temperatures. Steeping too long will make the tea taste bitter. Most steeping times are 3-5 minutes. Green teas are on the shorter end of that and black teas are on the higher end. White tea is even shorter — in the 1-3 minute range. As far as temperature, all teas like water slightly lower than boiling temp, black teas being the most resilient at 185-206 degrees. I am not obsessive enough to actually take the temperature of the water, so I bring my kettle to boiling and then wait a moment or two before pouring over my tea.
Below are some teapots and accessories for brewing both loose tea and using teabags. My favorite aqua teapot and bird print tea cozy (to keep the pot of tea hot, in case you were wondering…) were Mother’s Day gifts to me and I use them every day! (click picture for link):
For coffee fans, my daughter, the coffee snob, has you covered. She highly recommends Café Bustelo (the unofficial official coffee of Miami?!) for delicious robust flavor at a really great price. It also comes in decaf if you like to drink coffee later in the day and also need to sleep at night. She lives and dies by her AeroPress which makes one smooth delicious cup at a time very quickly. Just heat the water in the electric tea kettle, assemble the coffee in the press, place it over your mug and depress the plunger — once you’ve got hot water you’re only 30-60 seconds away from a cup! It functions a bit like a French coffee press, but with the addition of forced air and makes a great cup of coffee. She loves it enough to take it whenever she travels to insure she can have good coffee! (Click on images below for links)
Tea and Coffee Accompaniments
A good cup of coffee or tea calls for a little something to go with it, of course! THIS recipe for easy, delicious cranberry-orange or lemon-ginger scones is an excellent choice if you have a little time, but in a pinch, I go with THESE tea biscuits, which my children affectionately refer to as “Mom’s crack” due to my addiction to them.
Originally tea towels were special lint-free linen towels used for drying delicate tea sets. Later, they were sometimes used for wrapping the pot to keep it warm. Now, with the advent of the tea cozy and thermal carafes, they are once again used for dish towels or even as decorative table linens or attractive liners for baskets or trays bearing a tea or coffee service.
And oh, look! My favorite tea cozy has a matching tea towel! (click on image for link).
SO, are you a coffee lover, tea lover, or equal opportunity ‘omnibeveragevore’?
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If you enjoyed this post, check out these other posts with adult beverage recipes:
https://www.jrlinteriors.com/blog/cocktails-anyone for Tipsy Lemonade