I couldn’t tell you the first time I had a cup of tea. My parents never drank it, no one in my family ever drank it, and yet it’s as if I have always been drinking tea. I hardly go a day without it. Tea is like a warm hug from a friend, a beautiful embrace of complex notes that somehow feel readily understood. It’s a great connector, coffee’s less-bitter pal for sitting around and enjoying a cozy conversation. It can be a mellow start to the morning, a bright companion to a lively meal, or a conduit for winding down, closing out the evening, and reflecting on the day. Tea time is, really, anytime. Seward Co-op is brimming with teas for every occasion, every mood, and everybody.
I love starting my day with a warm cup of tea. I often reach for something dark and caffeinated, like a chai or chai concentrate, such as the Rishi Masala Chai, available at the Friendship store. It’s rich, fragrant, and comforting, a perfect pair with milk for a spiced morning tea latte. Seward Co-op sources a wide variety of bulk loose-leaf teas from Rishi, a Milwaukee-based company that was among the first to earn organic certification under the USDA’ Natural Organic Program in November of 2002. Rishi prioritizes sustainability and organic growing as part of their mission, resulting in fresh, bright flavors that are emblematic of what a morning tea should be.
One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was an afternoon tea in London on my 21st birthday. The venue was decadent, decked out in crystal and plush, white and silver fabrics. My time slot was for three hours, and I used every second of it. Sandwiches, like art, were plated before me. The scones were buttery pillows. Dessert was divine. And tea was flowing. The tea menu was immense, and allowed visitors to set the tone for their meal with the drink that would tie it all together. Try an afternoon tea at home yourself, with raspberry cream scones, grilled asparagus and gruyere sandwiches, and orange chocolate truffles. As for the tea? Seward Co-op has a large selection of loose-leaf and bagged teas from local partners like TeaSource, cooperative partners like Frontier Co-op, fair trade partners like Equal Exchange, and many more. Afternoon tea is about indulging in your own epicurean pleasures, so for teas, choose a familiar favorite, an exciting new blend, or whatever suits your fancy.
When I was traveling in Jordan, we often ended our evening meal with a glass of tea and fresh mint. It was such a calming practice and always brought the day to an end on a warming, easy note. You can find a broad collection of herbal teas, including bagged and loose-leaf, at Seward Co-op. Try TeaSource’s Margaret’s Soother tea for a fragrant nighttime drink of sweet peppermint, pungent licorice root, and aromatic clove. Bagged teas range from bright and fruity to floral and calming. Also find bulk ingredients like chamomile and rosehips for making your own soothing blends.