I love tea. It can help you wake up in the morning or relax and fall asleep at night. Herbal teas can help with all kinds of things, medicinal and magical. Afternoon tea can be a great way to relax, socialize with friends, or just serve as an afternoon pick-me-up.
Afternoon tea started because the Duchess of Bedford, who was one of Queen Victoria's handmaidens, liked to have tea and finger food in the afternoon. This caught on, and soon afternoon tea became a traditional British custom. I am enchanted with the idea of afternoon tea. I wish that here in the US it would catch on, and afternoon tea would become a regular activity. I settle for taking tea whenever I can.
Here in the south, tea is a very different experience than British afternoon tea. We drink orange pekoe, ice cold, and very sweet. Sweet tea is delicious. It makes me think of home and summer, and lazy country days.
Herbal teas are great for lots of things. They can help fight colds, stomach aches, and many other health problems. They can also be used as a type of kitchen witch's potion. Teas for love, psychic awareness, protection, and health can all be made and used easily.
Below are recipes for British milk tea, southern sweet tea, as well as a few herbal tea recipes and their uses. I will also list some store bought teas that I like.
British Milk Tea:
First, you need a teapot, some milk (not cream), and a good black tea (loose or in bags).
I like Twinings Lady Gray tea. It's a black tea with a hint of bergamot, orange, and lemon. Traditional Earl Gray is also good, which is black tea with bergamot. English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas are also good for this.
Heat the water until completely boiling. If you are using a kettle, you will know when the kettle starts to whistle. Pour the water into the teapot right away, over the tea. Let it steep for a minute or so, and then add a bit of milk directly into the teapot, until it is a creamy tan color. Be careful not to add too much milk, or you will dilute the tea too much. Serve hot, with sugar as desired.
Southern Sweet Tea
You will need three or four family sized tea bags (Luzianne, Lipton, or whatever brand you like), a pinch of baking soda, and about 2 cups of sugar. You can use more or less sugar, depending on how sweet you want it.
Boil about four cups of water. When it is steaming hot, pour it into a gallon pitcher and add the tea bags. Add a small pinch of baking soda (this takes out some of the bitterness). Let it steep for about 15 minutes. Take out the tea bags. Add the sugar, and stir it in completely. The water should still be warm enough for it to kind of melt. Fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water. Put it in the refrigerator and cool. Serve cold, over ice. Add some lemon wedges, or sprigs of mint if you like.
There are so many kinds of herbal tea. You can serve them hot or cold, sweet or unsweet. I'm going to list some herbs that are good in teas, and their purposes:
Rose (Rose petals with black or green tea are a good aphrodisiac)
Damiana (also an aphrodisiac)
Ginger (for love)
Echinacia (strengthening spells)
There are many others that I don't have the time or space to list.
Some good medicinal herbal teas are:
I found this recipes while I was googling, and I wanted to share it, it sounds really yummy:
Lemon Balm tea for Midsummer/Litha ( http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/lithacooking/r/LemonBalmTea.htm )
2 Cups lemon balm leaves, fresh
Honey or other sweetener
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil, and add the leaves. Reduce heat and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain leaves out, and then add honey or other sweetener to taste. If the tea is too strong, add a bit of water to thin it out. Pour into an ice-filled pitcher and serve. You may want to add a sprig of mint for garnish.
Some Teas I like:
Sleepytime (Celestial Seasonings)
Chamomile (any brand)
Peppermint (any brand)
Moroccan Mint (Numi Tea)
Jasmine Green (Numi Tea)
Gunpowder Green (Numi Tea)
Decaf Honey Chamomile (Celestial Seasonings)
Earl Gray (Twinings)
Lady Gray (Twinings)
English Breakfast (Twinings)
Irish Breakfast (Twinings)
Chai Spice (any brand)
Luminous Lemon Rooibos (Zhena's Gypsy Tea)
Pure White (Twinings)
One last note:
Black, Green, White, and Red tea are all very good (at least I like them all.) Green tea in particular is very healthy, and full of anti-oxidants. Tea can be good for your health and well-being, as well as being a tasty treat. Try drinking a cup of tea before or after meditation, ritual, or spellwork.