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Maybe it’s the result of reading too many British novels. (Think The Summer Before the War, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Curate’s Awakening.)

Or the fact that I just returned from four days in sweltering Florida, where two friends got married outdoors under a sturdy oak.

After the ceremony, I chugged three glasses of iced sweet tea, a southern adaptation of a drink that’s been around since the 1904 World’s Fair.

Whatever the cause, I’m obsessed with tea lately. Black tea. White tea. Green tea. It all sounds good to me. And, according to a relatively new book by the founder of The Tea Spot, Maria Uspenski, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence that says tea is good, especially when it’s green.

Cancer Hates Tea cites ongoing cancer research that shows whole leaf tea may fight cancer. Five cups of whole leaf green tea a day seems to be the magic formula for warding off cancer. I know, I know. One day it’s tea, the next it’s—I don’t know—peanut butter.

Whether you believe in tea’s health benefits or not, you’re likely to be swept away by this exhaustive book on the many varieties of tea, the regions where tea is grown and the multitude of ways to serve it. Uspenski’s tea treatise is one of the best I’ve read yet.


I’m working my way up to her elegant instructions on the preparation of matcha, a green tea that is considered a superfood. One half teaspoon of matcha contains as many antioxidants as five pounds of wild blueberries or 50 servings of spinach. As Uspenski says, “It’s like drinking your vegetables.”

My favorite tea pairing: a slice of artisan, sourdough bread smothered in strawberry freezer jam. Our friends Mike and Tracie make them both from scratch. The fact that they live in Chicago is hardly a barrier. Such good friends are they that they have been known to ship it to us by Fed X. That’s what I call friendship! 

Summer Tea Recipes

I drink tea every which way, depending on the time of day and the season.

Below, I’m sharing three of my tried-and-true tea picks, but if you’re ready to try something new and different, download this assortment of three more tea recipes from Uspenski’s book.

Summer Sol Ambrosia teaSummer Sol Ambrosia

This summer, I’m enjoying Summer Sol Ambrosia for breakfast. It’s a fruity black tea sold by locally-owned Nelson’s Tea. I met and became friends with one of the owners, Alex Harris, at a networking event several years ago, when she and her husband were just starting their online tea store. 

Today, they’re shipping tea all over the world, and they have recently expanded with Hoi Tea Toi Tea, a tea café where you can learn to blend custom favorites and enjoy exotic things such as tea cocktails.

If you are disappointed by anything other than an English/Queen Elizabeth sort of tea experience, stay home. (I spotted the woman above at a recent event. She’s a near twin of Queen Elizabeth, don’t you think?) Hoi Tea Toi Tea is a decidedly American take on tea and how to incorporate it into contemporary lifestyles. 

Mango Black Limeade Twist tea

Mango Black Limeade Twist

Before my four-mile walk this morning, I cold-brewed a pitcher of Teavana Mango Black Limeade Twist, a blend made with Mango Black Tea and Herbal Limeade Twist. Technically, black teas shouldn’t be cold brewed, according to Uspenski. This tart, thirst-quenching blend steeped for an hour in the refrigerator. It was refreshing after a long walk, but the author is correct: the black tea was less prominent and the Limeade Twist was forward. Steeped hot or cold, this blend is made to be iced.

White Papaya tea

White Papaya

After work, I sometimes celebrate the end of a day with something like White Papaya. I bought this low-caffeine blend at The Spice and Tea Exchange (S&TE). I’ve only recently begun to appreciate white tea. Once upon a time, if my tea wasn’t a gorgeous rusty color, it just wasn’t tea. Now that I understand the complexity of white tea’s flavor—and know how much less caffeine it contains—I am sold. S&TE also makes a lovely Tropical Green, too.

Now, it’s your turn: what are you brewing in your teapot this summer? Tea can be a wonderful form of self care when you slow down and sip mindfully. I hope you’re taking care of yourself and each other. If you like this post, please share it or invite a friend to follow us on Facebook.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.

A word of warning: Uspenski is a cancer survivor, and she makes liberal use of the “F” word and other obscenities to show her power over the disease that threatened her life. That’s understandable, but if you’re offended by foul language, you might take a pass on this book. What a pity. An otherwise grand piece of non-fiction loses audience because of word choice. The next time the ubiquitous “F” word becomes a topic of conversation, you can cite this example of how it doesn’t serve. I’ve become almost numb to it, but I wish Ms. Uspenski’s editors had exerted some influence. Enough about that.