Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nostalgia with Roastaroma

I have made an interesting discovery with regards to tea. I have been observing myself and my appreciation of teas and the nuances I sense in them. On the days that I really relax with my tea, when I give it my full attention, I appreciate it more, I seem to find more in it, the subtleties come out more, and the whole experience just takes on added depth. Now the trick will be to actually slow down and give myself over to taking tea.

Having said that, I have to admit Tuesdays are kind of a whirl and I usually just have coffee, my husband’s drink of choice, and what’s available at the all morning meeting we go to. The alternative there is some really old teabags. Morning is not a time for me to make tea, as it would likely end up on the floor, unless I have the time to really think about what I am doing.

When I came home today I wanted neither coffee nor tea, but I spied the box of Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma that I had bought in a fit of nostalgia. It seemed just the thing. For many of us on the edges of the Hippie movement of the late 60s and early 70s, brews like Roastaroma can call up the whole natural foods, natural way of life, free love, etc time. It was coffee for those who really wanted coffee but didn’t drink it because of the principles of the movement – coffee was way too establishment. It basically allowed us to pretend we were hipper than we were.

Today, the very scent of Roastaroma takes me back to the health food stores and restaurants of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where that phase of my life ended. Roastaroma is an herbal brew of roasted chicory, barley and carob, spiced with cinnamon, all spice and Chinese star anise. Roasted chicory and barley are often used as coffee substitutes or additions. The tisane is brewed one hefty [5gm] bag per cup for 4-6 minutes in boiling water. I did 5. As you might expect, it is a warm, spicy, roasty, toasty flavor. It is not subtle, it tastes just like its ingredients. A little harsh, a little strong, plenty sweet on its own and it is very agreeable over all.
Just a reminder, herb “teas” are not tea, as they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush. They are rightfully called “tisanes” to save on confusion. Most tea merchants who carry them do call them herbal teas because they have been known as that for a long time and who would want to be frou-frou enough to call them tisanes?
That lovely bush is a 5 foot tall rosemary bush in southern Italy. I am soooooooo jealous. If mine make it to 18 inches and live I think I am a master gardener.

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