Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don't drink the bath water

Well, I planned on writing about this tea in late spring/early summer. But with the weather being so piddly out there, I am positively aching for spring. I know it is only the third day of February, but the groundhog did promise an early spring, and darn-it, I want it now! I want the warmth, I want the sunshine, but most of all, I want the flowers! In fact, my impatience for flowers to grow is why I am drinking Lavender Black Tea by Murchies at the moment.

Now I love this tea, but I think it might be a required taste. When most people think of lavender, they think of aromatherapy candles and bath salts. I let a coworker take a whiff of my tea, and she said it smelled like bath water (she must be a fan of the lavender bath products) and would not give it a chance. What most people don't realize is lavender is also a herb with a wonderful taste -- actually it tastes very much like it smells.

I first became acquainted with lavender as a herb when I tried some lavender jelly on toast. I had assumed it would be foul but goodness was it ever delicious! This piqued my curiosity, and I went looking for more lavender food. It appeared in many recipes, and I even tried my hand at making some lavender lemon cake. It turned out very mild, but tasty.
Disclaimer: make absolutely sure no pesticides have been used on your garden picked lavender if you plan on using your or other people’s lavender as an herb.

You can use lavender in your bath, you can use it in your food, and for the herbal drinkers out there you can add it to hot water to make a natural tisane. Apparently lavender has a whole bunch of health benefits as well: it helps with insomnia, stomach aches, and anxiety. Way back in the olden days when bathing was rare and optional, people used to put lavender blossoms around the house to mask the scent of unpleasant body odors. Hiding smells with this natural perfume was so common that eventually when the Victorians gave bouquets of lavender to someone, it told the receiver that they weren’t trusted. It asked, “What are you hiding under the scent of lavender” in the language of flowers.

So when I was visiting Murchies, (a great tea company that started in 1894 in British Columbia) and saw they carried Lavender black tea, I simply had to buy it. And as I have stated, I love this tea. There is a good solid black tea base, and it is countered perfectly with lavender. It’s certainly not overpowering -- just a perfect balance of the two. It is one of those things that you have to try to decide if you like it. And yes, while I suppose it does smell a little like a lavender infused bath, unless you put milk and sugar in your bath, it’s not going to taste like one.

So be adventurous and try –anything- with lavender in it to see if this tea might be right for you. Better yet, just try this tea!

Available at Murchies in store, or online.