Tag Archives: tea

Mimi’s Ginger Lemon Tea

29 Aug

I used to work with the most wonderful woman named Mimi.  She was a writer, a teacher, a lover of books, and, back in the ‘70s, she was a single mother who shared with her son a small apartment on Haight Street in San Francisco while she worked, went to school, and took care of her child’s chronic breathing problems that eventually resulted in him being fitted with a tracheostomy tube.  Mimi was, and is, an admirable woman.

When we worked together, Mimi would bring by the gallon the most wonderful ginger lemon tea, kept cold in the work refrigerator and available for free to whoever wanted to partake of it.  No matter the season, this tea was like a magical tonic that cured all ills, mental and physical.  In the summertime, consumed over ice, the tea was the most brisk and refreshing thing you could ever imagine drinking.  Though it seems impossible when I really think about it, I swear it actually perked people up enough to actually want to work more (a feat you’d definitely find impossible to believe if you knew where exactly we worked.  Ahem).  In the wintertime, warmed in a mug in the break room’s microwave, the tea was a soothing, calming respite from the persistent gloom and chill of Pacific Northwest winters and the ever-present insanity of the holiday season.  If you were feeling under the weather, a mug of Mimi’s tea made you feel, while not completely healed, at least a bit more cared for and comforted.

After years of telling Mimi how much I loved her tea, and how appreciative I was of her always sharing it with everyone, she surprised me one day by pulling out a pad of Post-It notes and conspiratorially leaning in to me and saying, “You know what?  I’m going to give you the recipe.”

One Post-It note, four ingredients, and years of enjoyment later, I can’t help feeling that the time has come to share Mimi’s recipe with the world.  In part, I am doing it because I want to share this fantastic and borderline magical recipe with the world, but there is no small part of me that is doing it because I haven’t seen Mimi in over four years and lately I’ve been missing her.  An old email address no longer connects me to her, and several stabs at a Google-fest involving her name have led me to only past employers and dead ends.  I have only Mimi’s tea left to connect me to her, and, while I enjoy the tea immensely, I have to admit, I still feel as though something is missing.  The tea is just not the same without the conversation, care, and compassion that Mimi supplied to go along with it.

Mimi’s Ginger Lemon Tea

This is the recipe exactly as Mimi wrote it down for me many years ago.  As you can see, it makes a batch of tea by the gallon-plus.  In the interest of moderation, I generally quarter the recipe and make a generous quart of tea.

Though this tea is perfect as-is, there are a number of delicious ways to dress it up.  In the wintertime, served hot with a splash of bourbon, it’s the prefect night cap.  In the summertime, chilled ice cold and served with a few leaves of fresh basil muddled in the bottom of your glass, it makes for a brisk and refreshing cooler.  All in all, however, you’ll never go wrong just drinking it as Mimi wrote it.

1 gallon water

1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

16 ounces (2 cups) honey

Combine water and ginger in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and strain into a large bowl.

Stir in lemon juice and honey.

That’s it.

Special Tea

11 Aug

My husband is not a coffee drinker.  Believe me, he wants to be a coffee drinker, but the properties of coffee and the metabolic rate at which he processes those properties are not at all compatible.  Whereas I can drink two cups of coffee and feel fine, though ever-so-slightly more excitable than I might normally be, my ever suffering husband will have half a cup of coffee, then immediately start to sweat like a marathon runner being chased by a hungry tiger.  After the sweating, we then have insatiable mouth dryness.  After the mouth dryness, we have stomach gurgling.  After the stomach gurgling, we stop sharing information.

Tea, thankfully, does not cause my husband to suffer any ill effects.  The only beef he has with tea, in fact, is that, though it makes him feel much, much better than a cup of coffee ever could, it just doesn’t taste as satisfying as a cup of coffee.  As a huge, unapologetic fan of coffee, I greatly sympathize with this sentiment.  However, when we were in San Francisco, we came across a tiny little tea shop in Chinatown that offered dozens of different types of loose leaf teas, all of which were available for sampling, and all of which made a very compelling argument concerning the deliciousness of tea vs. the deliciousness of coffee.

The selection of teas on display at Blist Tea is phenomenal.  We were tempted by several varieties of earthy, dark oolong tea, but when presented with the heavenly scent of this Jade Black tea, I could tell my husband had made his decision.  With its fantastic aroma of lychee, peach, and jasmine, it was difficult to abandon the idea of this tea once we were acquainted with it.

We ended up leaving with a 2-ounce bag of Jade Black tea.  Though 2 ounces of tea does not sound like a large haul, it bears mentioning that, being a collection of dried leaves and flowers, a few large scoops of tea will weigh considerably less than one might think.  Additionally, we were pleased to discover that Blest Tea encourages a very short brewing of their tea, followed by multiple uses.  This means that a single teaspoon of their tea, brewed for a mere 30 seconds, can be set aside and subsequently used for at least three more single cup brewings.  We definitely feel as though the cost of this tea constituted a splurge on our part, but, when considering how many cups of tea one gets out of an initial $18 investment, the sting of the cost subsides rather quickly.

Plus, to state the obvious, this tea is absolutely wonderful.  It is smooth, complex, and decidedly lacking in acidity.  Though still caffeinated, this tea somehow manages to make one feel calmer while drinking it, rather than slightly jittery and sharp.  It’s an entirely new experience in tea drinking in this house, and an inspiring one at that.

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