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             So those of you who know me know that I spend an inordinate amount of time at Heine Brothers’ (and for those of you who don’t know me- well, check out my author’s bio. It’s all there). My favorite location is the Eastern Parkway store. Reason one: that black couch by the door is unbelievably comfortable- plus it’s conveniently located next to an outlet for my laptop. Reason two: I love to people-watch. And if you position yourself correctly inside the store, you can watch all the beautiful craziness on Bardstown Road.  

                However, I’m in a beverage rut. It’s always the Citrus Green tea, unsweetened. Sometimes I go wild and ask for it iced, but that’s generally the extent of my capriciousness. So today I walked in, and before the barista could begin steeping my usual, I ordered not one, not two, but three delicious new teas.

                To justify this, tea does have some amazing health benefits, and with chilly autumnal weather approaching, I thought now would be a great time to share them with you. I started with the Green Yerba Mate’.  Yerba mate tea is a South American beverage made by steeping the leaves of the yerba mate plant. Anyways, I leaned over the strong-smelling, herbal mix and took a sip.

                Sidenote, when asked if I want my tea sweetened, I always like to be the tough cookie that replies with “unsweetened, please”. And I do like the grassy-bitter notes of a nice green tea, but that yerba mate definitely had a taste that was borderline astringent. After a few more sips though, a definite refreshing sensation kicked in.

                With regards to the health benefits, yerba mate’ has just as much caffeine as coffee, making it an ideal morning tea, but since it is filled with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids and polyphenols, these have a balancing effect on the caffeine it contains. So drinkers report improved clarity and focus, without the headache and jitters associated with caffeine.

                Time for tea number two- I could try to formulate a catchy “Tea for Two” by Doris Day reference here, but I will refrain. For my next drink I had chosen an India White tea, which is described on the menu as having a mellow and delicate flavor with a light vegetal flavor. This is due to the fact that white teas are made from young tea buds that are steeped immediately after harvest. Yet in addition to having a calming, milder flavor, white tea also has a higher concentration of catechins, a phytochemical that wards of free radicals that cause skin damage and aging. So forget Botox, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin.

                The final tea choice was a cardamom-cinnamon herbal blend. Cardamom has a spiced citrus taste that pairs incredibly well with the cinnamon. The spiciness in the tea would definitely make it a fun one to try iced. Scientific studies have also shown that consumption of cardamom offers beneficial properties for the treatment of high blood pressure. A study performed at RNT Medical College in India showed that oral consumption of 3 grams of cardamom per day for 12 week significantly lowered blood pressure in newly diagnosed hypertensive study subjects. So this has officially become my stress-buster tea!

                After an afternoon of tea tasting and research, here’s the consensus: become a well-rounded tea drinker. Not only will it prevent you from getting in a beverage rut like yours truly, it really does have its health benefits. So go peruse the tea menu at Heine Brothers.  It’s deliciously worth it. And don’t let the fact that I wandered out of my excursion with a Citrus Green tea, unsweetened and to-go, deter you. Before you judge, green tea has its own delightful health benefits too.

    Photo- Shutterstock/ Shebeko

    Ashlie Danielle Stevens's picture

    About Ashlie Danielle Stevens

    I am a freelance food, arts and culture writer. Among other publications, my work has appeared at The Atlantic’s CityLab, Eater, Slate, Salon, The Guardian, Hyperallergic and National Geographic’s food blog, The Plate.

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