so with the new year, many resolve to eat better. if by now your resolve is weakening, i have a tip to share with you. i have a big collection of teas that act as dessert alternative. of course, you can also eat fruit as dessert. with tea, however, you won’t have to worry about spoilage or pesticides, and some flavors come closer to a genuine dessert than fruit can. unsweetened, they’re also a calorie friendly way to indulge and can provide health benefits such as boosting your antioxidants and metabolism. rooibos tea also has a high mineral content. i used to love Teavana, until i realized a lot of their flavored blends contained artificial flavors. so i began my search for purer teas that use natural flavorings instead. below are my favorites, many i’m on my second or third bag of. considering i have about 3 Elfa hanging drawers stuffed with tea, you may be sure these are the cream of the crop! none of these need to be sweetened; a few have stevia already incorporated. i’ve grouped by brands in no particular order.
Art of Tea hand blends their creations, many of them certified orgranic or fair trade. based in LA, you’ll find their tea in almost every note worthy artisanal coffee shop in LA. trendy restaurants carry their teas too or commission their own custom blends. if you see something you like, they’re currently offering a 21% off site-wide promotion (excluding Tea of the Month and gift cards) until Jan 31st with the code: 21Days. if you live in LA, you can also choose to pick up your order to save on shipping.
- Caramelized Pear: tastes just like it sounds. my favorite dessert tea in my entire collection
- White Peach: organic white tea (so there will be some caffeine content) infused with peach flavor and accented with osmanthus. this is a delicate tasting tea with fruit and floral notes.
- Lemon Meringue: lemony and creamy, it really does taste similar to its namesake pie!
- Brûlée Mint: creamy with a delicate hint of mint. my favorite coffee shop (Copa Vida in Pasadena) makes a great latte with this. i also enjoy it cold brewed (steep the tea in room temp or ice water for 6-8hours) in the summer. this tea won the Best Flavored Herbal Ice Tea award at World Tea Expo.
- Brewed Awakening is actually a blend of tea and roasted coffee beans. it has a rich taste with caramel and chocolate notes.
Sugarbird Sweets & Teas is another local success story in LA. in addition to selling custom blended teas, the owner Kei Okumura also makes the most delicious scones. if you’re based in LA, my favorite scone flavors are Strawberry Buttermilk, Pumpkin Spice, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Chive Feta Pepper. yes, a savory scone. rewarm in the oven while you make some scrambled eggs, and you’ll have the most amazing breakfast. Kei’s teas are simple and artfully balanced to bring sweet, soothing satisfaction into your life. the teas i’ve listed below have great similarities in ingredients. this is not to mean Kei’s tea selection is limited, merely that i’m focused in my preferences. it’s kind of like when you open your lipstick drawer, and you see 5 MLBB shades that are almost indistinguishable from each other 😛
- Tio: apple pie in liquid form. enough said.
- Olivia: chamomile, mint and vanilla. chamomile and vanilla are the prominent notes in this tea. the mint is mild and provides a refreshing element.
- Zoe: a green tea with mint, vanilla, and cacao nibs. this is like a liquid andes mint. also makes a great iced tea in the summer.
- Chai. i’ve tried a lot of chai blends over time, but Sugarbird’s is my favorite. it has just the right amount of cardamom, finely balanced with the other spices.
Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful source for spices, herbs, and aromatherapy products as well as teas. prices are very reasonable, but be forewarned, most of their herbal teas taste… well herbally. i drink many of their teas for health benefits, but the one below is the only one i’d consider enjoyable.
- Hibiscus High Tea is a refreshingly tart drink and is good whether it’s served hot or cold. this one is one of my boyfriend’s favorite. not only does he enjoy the tartness, hibiscus is also a powerful anti-inflammatory as well as good for lowering blood pressure.
Tea Forté may be a brand you’re already familiar with if you follow Oprah or Dr. Oz. it’s also the only brand i know that offers a reward program for purchasing teas. you get 5% of your purchase in reward points that you can redeem for a discount later on.
- Swiss Apple tastes like cinnamon apples.
- Cherry Marzipan has a nutty flavor with a mild cherry note. i don’t really drink this one as a dessert substitute, but thought i’d include it anyways as i do really enjoy its flavor
so that’s it! i hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my pantry and found a flavor or two that catches your interest. i hate drinking plain water, so in addition to it curbing my dessert cravings, it also encourages me to get the proper amount of fluids. a quick guideline for how much water to drink is taking your body weight (in pounds) and divide by 2. that’s how many ounces you need in a day. divide that number by 8 if you want to know how many cups that equals. you can also tell if you’re dehydrated by the color of your urine. if it’s anything darker than a pale yellow, you need to be drinking more fluids.
Readers, what is your drink of preference? how do you deal with sweet cravings? please share!