By: Rex "Ito Domo" Fortu
Let there be rain! The rainy season has officially started in the Philippines, a very great news in light of the extreme heat and thirst we all endured throughout the blazing months of summer heat.
Personally, it offered me relief from high temperatures and lured me to just snuggle in bed with my weighted, comfy blanket, and maybe some Netflix to pass the time before sleeping. But as cozy as it sounds, this colder climate comes with its share of health risks. Whether it's getting caught in the rain or just having difficulty adjusting to the colder climate, getting sick is difficult nowadays due to the pandemic. Our immunity levels go down considerably when we are not well-nourished and fit. With the COVID-19 virus still on the prowl, there’s certainly no room for complacency. Aside from the usual washing of hands and practicing safe distancing protocols, nourishment is still the main key to maintaining good health.
The high humidity and damp weather bring out our cravings for hot food, soups, and of course hot beverages. I know I craved some hot sinigang during the first few cold nights! But as we all know, tea is always on my list of comfort drinks; it’s essential to my daily R&R. It gives our bodies polyphenols and antioxidants that may help boost our immune system, plus it keeps me all warm and fuzzy inside.
One good example is black tea! It’s stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the other true teas, but less caffeine than coffee. It contains flavonoids which may help reduce the risk of some heart diseases, stroke and cancer. It may help reduce bad cholesterol and aids in maintaining good gut health.
But did you know that in many parts of the world, tea is consumed in various ways? Different regions favor varieties of tea such as black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea; and use different flavorings including sugar, honey, lemon, and milk to mention a few!
The Tibetans, for example, have been using butter and salt to flavor their tea since the 10th century while tea in China was traditionally served on its own. Regarding it as a medicinal drink, one simply needs to steep tea leaves in boiling water, strain, and they are good to go. Eventually, other neighboring Asian countries mixed it with lemon and other citrus fruits not just to enhance its taste but for nutritional aspects as well.
The United Kingdom has been one of the world’s biggest consumers of tea since the 17th century. Originally regarded as an upper-class drink in Europe, tea spread through all classes and is considered an integral part of British culture and society. They were one of the first to serve tea with milk.
Everyday tea such as English breakfast tea, served with sugar and milk, is a popular tradition. Dairy was added to balance the natural bitterness of tea, giving it a smoother and more delicate flavor much to their liking.
Going south from Britain is India’s very well-known Masala Chai, an Indian concoction made with tea, cinnamon, ginger, whole milk and cardamom. In Singapore and Malaysia, hot tea is mixed with condensed milk for a richer and creamier flavor. Nowadays, modern milk tea is served cold and mixed with tapioca pearls but have you ever tried hot milk tea? It’s undoubtedly perfect for this rainy season and I’m sure you’ll love it too!
Hot Milk Tea
60 mL almond milk
5 grams or 1 single serve sachet Havva Brew Premium Turkish Black Tea (brewed according to package directions)
1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
Steps to follow:
- Mix all ingredients.
- Garnish with cinnamon powder on top.
When you’re finished with your tea prep, it’s time to pair it up with a good book or even some music to enhance the experience of drinking luxuriously healthy teas! As Bill Watterson famously quoted, “Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”