Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fear not, we love the herb

Tea is tea, even though some tea is not tea.

We here at teasquared promise never to be snobby about herbal tea. Lovers of the non-tea teas may have experienced this (as we have) from hardcore enthusiasts of camellia sinensis — if it doesn't come from the tea bush, it's not "real" tea. Technically, true, of course, but tea of all things should not instill a caste system. Herbal infusions are enjoyed for many of the same reasons as tea, and the wider array of flavors and options in herbal tea has no doubt expanded the regular tea market, probably even kept it on its toes. I certainly love my jar of mint leaves, I really love rooibos (which, again, despite being called "red tea" is not from the camellia genus, either), I grow lemon balm in my garden expressly for the purpose of making tea with it, and there have been some days when a calming cup of chamomile has pretty much saved my life. Or the life of my work colleagues.

Just as thought after reading a recent article in a British marketing magazine called, wait for it, Marketing. It's just a short report about herbal tea demographics in England, where the real stuff rules. "Tea is entrenched in the British lifestyle, but herbal and speciality variants are carving out a health-based niche of their own," the report claims, noting that 83 percent of all adults in England drink tea, more than half of them several times a day. Their numbers for herbals are these: "Herbal tea drinkers tend to be women ... and from the 45- to 50-year-old age group (followed by 25- to 34-year-olds) according to TGI. Of British men, 15% drink herbal tea, compared with 27% of women. Herbal teas usually form a part of consumers' tea-drinking repertoire, rather than replacing black tea entirely."

What about you? Do you drink herbals? When and why?

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