Depending on seasonal and environmental changes, our bodies require different nutrients and hence would influence our choices over the teas we drink. Maika Endo, Founder of Kocoon Spa, enjoys her natural, homemade blends. In winter, she simmers ginger, red dates with brown sugar to stimulate blood circulation and keep the body warm. Over summer, she drinks a warm blend with white fungus, pear and rock sugar to keep the body cool and to moisten the lungs. Lemongrass is ideal as an iced tea for the scorching heat and humidity.
Flu season calls for her immune-boosting tea: ginger, cinnamon bark, goji berries and fresh orange juice simmered together, steeping a slice of lemon towards the end for the extra vitamin C. “I like to look for high-quality herbs and ingredients around the world,” Endo says. “Thailand is famous for fruit-based blends. Cat’s whiskers, for instance, is good for inflammation and has a diuretic effect. I mix it with oregano to battle against whooping cough and asthma. Verbena and lemon balm improve digestion.”
Indeed, different times of the day would call for a different flavour. Endo prefers an afternoon snack with Japanese tea. Mugicha, roasted barley tea, has a high concentration of antioxidants and no theine. Sometimes, she mixes soba, buckwheat tea, which has a warming element, with Japanese green tea, which has a cooling element, to clear her mind as she breathes in the scent. “Take care not to steep but pass water through it quickly to avoid a bitter taste,” she adds.
Matcha, powdered green tea leaves, gives a stronger taste and is perfect when paired with a sweet delicacy.
Barnes also recommends green tea for pregnant women, as it increases intake of zinc and vitamin C.