There is something satisfying about wrapping your cold hands around a steaming cup of tea and warming from the inside out as you take a sip in the cold winter months. In honor of National Hot Tea Month, I wanted to know more and find some of the best places to enjoy a cup of tea.
History of Tea
Tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years by numerous cultures. Originating from China, tea has become popular and part of British and many Asian cultures. There are several legends of the discovery of tea. One popular Chinese legend claims that around 2740 BC the Emperor of China was drinking boiled water when tree leaves were blown by the wind into his water.
Since the discovery, however it happened, tea has been used for medicinal purposes, represented wealth, and earned a reputation of class and sophistication. It has even been associated with revolutions!
Types of Tea
Traditional tea comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis and has four main types: white, green, oolong, and black. The categories are determined by the way the tea leaves are processed and oxidized, which affects the taste, aroma, and color. On one end of the spectrum, white tea is un-oxidized giving it light color and flavor. On the other end of the spectrum, black tea is fully oxidized giving it a dark color and rich flavor.
Other popular teas include herbal and chai teas. Herbal tea is any flower, root, leaf, or fruit that comes from a different plant other than a Camellia sinesis. For example, chamomile tea is considered an herbal tea because it does not come from a traditional tea plant, rather it comes from the chamomile flower. Chai tea is a spiced, milk-based tea typically made from a combination of black tea with milk, spices, and sweeteners.
Traditional tea is packed with special antioxidants called flavonoids which have been known to help fight free radicals that can contribute to heart disease and cancer. Herbal teas are associated with other health benefits, depending on the plant source.
Tasty Teas in Michigan
So, where can a Michigander enjoy a fresh cup of tea? Check out these shops and stops:
Tudor House Tea and Spice – Kalamazoo
This quaint tea and spice shop is tucked in downtown Kalamazoo among shops and restaurants. Patrons can warm up with a fresh cup of tea, purchase loose leaf tea and spices, as well as take classes to learn about tea and its health benefits.
Global Infusion – Grand Rapids
Located in the East Hills business district, Global Infusion offers fair trade, organic, and local merchandise. Best known for their famous chai tea and wall of loose leaf tea, this shop has much to offer and is the perfect place for tea lovers alike.
Light of Day Organics – Traverse City
This certified organic and demeter biodynamic farm is located on M-72 West, a direct route to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The mission-focused farm offers and blends tea with “Leelanau’s home-grown flowers, herbs, and fruit.” Light of Day Organics also distributes teas through the state. Click here to find a local retailer near you.
Eli Tea Bar – Birmingham
Stop by for a fresh individually brewed cup or purchase bulk loose leaf tea to-go. The modern tea shop features more than 70 teas, Eli Tea Bar catalogues tea options into rarities: everyday, premium, and rare.
TeaHaus – Ann Arbor
Nestled in downtown Ann Arbor, the TeaHaus was inspired by the owner’s 14-year residency in Germany and Sweden. The TeaHaus works with German tea companies which are known to have the highest quality control of tea in the world.
Where do you enjoy a cup of tea? What’s your favorite kind of tea?