Localicious: Local Brewers Add Spice to Life … One Teacup at a Time

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Sereni-Tea in Mt. Shasta offers over 150 types of tea, including three types of chai. Owner Daniella Bose (r)  and sales associate Vixie Javier (l) offer their "brew of the day" in the shop's sampling room.

Sereni-Tea in Mt. Shasta offers over 150 types of tea, including three types of chai. Owner Daniella Bose (r) and sales associate Vixie Javier (l) offer their “brew of the day” in the shop’s sampling room.

The reasons for brewing a cup of tea are many, whether seeking a unique flavor or a remedy, continuing a tradition or enhancing a visit, or simply enjoying something warm or cold to fill a cup.

Tea has been used for over 5,000 years for medicinal and traditional purposes. Combined with a nutrient dense whole foods diet, herbal teas can help restore balance desired by the body. It’s up to us to avail ourselves of what nature provides.

There’s something rewarding about growing your own herbs for tea. Most are safe and easy to use. They can be used alone or as an herbal blend or even added to your preferred black or green tea. Learning the art of tea-making is simple, and books with recipes can be found at your local library or bookstore.

A good rule of thumb for making tea is to use a ratio of 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs to one cup pure water. Some roots and hardier herbs, such as whole licorice or lemongrass, may need to be bruised and/or require a decoction process to allow desired constituents and flavors to be released. Simply mash the herbs/roots and add to water in a small saucepan. Cover and simmer just under boiling for 15-30 minutes, then strain and enjoy! 

Not all teas work for everyone. Caffeine can present a potential issue for those who can’t tolerate the stimulant effects or who have weakened adrenal function. Some teas can have a diuretic effect, so be sure to drink additional fresh water to rehydrate the body.

Maruti Restaurant, serving Indian cuisine, is new to Mt. Shasta, and locals and visitors alike are raving over its menu and service. Co-owner Falguni Khanna offers an unsweetened chai tea she personally makes from scratch. Raised in India, she spent two years studying Ayurveda in San Francisco to find out “why we do what we do” when it comes to the reasons behind the spices added to Indian food and tea.

Falguni Khanna, co-owner of Maruti Restaurant in Mt. Shasta, prepares her own chai from cardamom, fresh ginger, lemongrass, black tea leaves, and other ingredients.

Falguni Khanna, co-owner of Maruti Restaurant in Mt. Shasta, prepares her own chai from cardamom, fresh ginger, lemongrass, black tea leaves, and other ingredients.

For example, cardamom is added to chai to balance the caffeine in the black tea, reducing the ‘jitters.’ Unlike the traditional sweet Indian chai, Falguni withholds the sugar from her recipe, earning her fans among those not able to tolerate sugar and those who are tired of overly-sweet versions. Raw sugar or honey is provided for those with a sweet palate. Maruti Restaurant is located at 531 Chestnut St. Call (530) 918-9399 for hours and reservations, or visit http://www.maruti-restaurant.com.

If you are seeking a stellar balance of spicy and sweet, look for Chico Chai teas at North State farmers markets, coffeehouses and grocery stores. Using only wholesome and organic ingredients, owner Sarah Adams has been carefully brewing her special artisan chai since 2004, when she realized her special brew needed to be shared! All Chico Chai teas are certified fair trade. Their Chai Brewery Tasting Room is open every first Sunday of the month, 10am-2pm, at 1919 Park Ave. in Chico. During the holiday season, come and visit every Sunday, 10am-2pm. Find locations that carry Chico Chai tea at http://www.chicochaitea.com, or call (530) 897-0822.

Chico Chai is committed to using whole, certified organic ingredients in its recipes. It's chai brewery offers chai tastings on 1st Sundays year round, and every Sunday during the holiday months.

Chico Chai is committed to using whole, certified organic ingredients in its recipes. It’s chai brewery offers chai tastings on 1st Sundays year round, and every Sunday during the holiday months.

Sereni-Tea, serving Mt. Shasta since 2005, offers over 150 different loose-leaf teas, so prepare your infusers! A caffeine-free choice favored by kids are the rooibos blends that range from fruity to sweet caramel blends, with no sugar added. “Rooibos is valued for its calming effect on the nervous system and nutrients for growing bodies,” says owner Daniela Bose. Originally from Switzerland, Daniela offers teas from all over the world. She makes her own special house blends, including three (black, green and rooibos) that feature lavender from Mt. Shasta Lavender Farms. Come taste the brewed sample of the day at 319 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd. For more information, including an informative tea blog, visit http://www.sereni-tea.net, or call (530) 926-1688.

With the holidays arriving shortly, typically accompanied by an increased food intake, try this featured tea recipe that can help aid digestion! Most liquids are best ingested between meals to help avoid slowing down digestion.

Here’s to health, CHEERS!

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Holiday Digestive Aid

Brews one pot (24 fl. oz.); 3-4 servings

  • 1 teaspoon each (dried): peppermint, minced ginger and licorice root.

Place herbs in a mesh infuser or reusable tea bag (or add loose and strain later) and place in tea pot. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and pour over herbs. Allow to steep 10-15 minutes before serving.

Variation: Leave out licorice and add cinnamon bark for a spiced ginger-mint tea. [/sws_blue_box]

Localicious is a monthly column celebrating healthy food in the North State. If you would like to suggest a food-related idea, business or organization, email us at localicious@northstateparent.com.

Hannah Kraemer
About Hannah Kraemer

A resident of Siskiyou County since 2013, writer Hannah Nelson’s main passion is nutrition. Graduating from the Nutritional Therapy Association in June 2011, she gives her best to helping others live a healthier, fuller life.

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