Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I like coffee, I like tea...

I like the boys and the boys like me...or at least that is how the song goes. But seriously, a good strong hot beverage is a wildly underrated form of comfort. It is cheap, makes you feel better, and can cure everything from fatigue to a bad mood or a sore throat. I feel like coffee gets a bad rap, what with this alleged "caffeine" addiction we are all supposed to be afraid of.

Addiction schmadiction. One of the great joys of my morning is making a cup of French-pressed coffee. No Folgers insta-drip for me. I by whole roasted beans from Garden of Eden, Folgers, Trader Joe's, or even Starbucks if it comes down to it, have them specially ground to "coarse" and use my little French press religiously. It is actually much more economical than a regular Mr. Coffee, since you don't have to use a new paper filter each day, and the difference in taste is beyond compare.

For those of you unfamiliar with a French press, it is this little glass pitcher with a lid that has a mesh "plunger" attached to it. Put a few scoops of your favorite blend in the pitcher, boil some water in your kettle while you eat your cereal/dry your hair/primp, and once the water comes to a boil, pour over the grinds, let it sit, give it a stir or two with a spoon, put the lid on and push the plunger down which pushes all the grinds down to the bottom while the yummy coffee goes to the top. Pour and enjoy.

This coffee is so rich and flavorful, I haven't taken coffee with milk or sugar in years. It has a thickness to it that warms you to the bone, and a good french press will give you those foamy bubbles at the top of your cup. I cannot image starting my day without this little ritual, and if it makes mornings more bearable, what is the harm? I think what has given coffee such a bad rap is all the nasty frappachino blends laden with sugar and lord knows what else that are ubiquitous today, plus the fact that they sell for $7.00. A whole bag of coarse ground beans is at the most $12.00, and it lasts for months. And you can buy a great French press here for $23 and it will last you a lifetime.

On the more wholesome end of the hot beverage spectrum is tea. The good Chinese girl in me has taken my po-po's wisdom to heart. There is nothing that hot tea can't fix. Cramps or insomnia? Chamomile tea will relax your mind and your muscles. Detox or just need to slow down for a minute? Green tea will do the trick, and even cure cancer to boot (according to some). A nice cup of English breakfast or Earl Grey is a perfect way to break up the afternoon and help you get through those 28,349,723 emails that came in while you got up for 5 minutes to make a damn cup of tea. Ginger and lemon sooth a stuffy nose and sore throat, and Jasmine tea, besides tasting incredible, helps prevents cavities.

I had a good friend (who is now on her way to becoming a doctor) who suffered these insane bouts of nausea after a long night. Nothing we tried could settle her stomach, from club soda to toast to pepto bismol (UGH). But one night, I mentioned her troubles in passing to my po-po, who promptly told me to go to a Chinese grocery and find green tea with roasted rice in it. I knew that green tea/tea in general can help settle your stomach, and we had already tried tea for my friend, but she insisted that it was the rice that did the trick. Regular rice settles your stomach, so why not extract that magic property along with the healing power of tea? Plus, it gave the tea a nice nutty flavor that took away some of the inherent bitterness strong green tea, which I usually love but when you're already queasy, might be too much to bear.

Worked like a dream. Funny thing was, for the remainder of the time we lived together, only I had the magic touch required to make this tea that would cure my friend. Every other Sunday or so, I would hear her weak call, "Jess, can you make me the tea?" And even though all this entailed was literally boiling water, somehow I was the only one who could summon up the power.

I have about 10 different types of tea at my office floating inside my bottom drawer. Besides being the coolest person in the office, it has saved me through many a cold and grey afternoons. Buy in bulk at ethnic food stores, whole leaf if you can, (especially for Jasmine) although I like Celestial Seasoning's chamomile and "Sleepy Time" tea for herbal cups, available in all grocery stores.

1 comment:

  1. You are a good friend to Jamie, Gastro Jess! And a good 'copine' to me.

    Christmas would not be the same without you (and your fine blog to boot).....

    Yours, as ever,