Tea and the Caribbean
The language and culture of the Caribbean islands reveals a melting pot of traditions and tea-time is equally diverse. Embracing the power of herbal remedies, the tropical climate and rich soil make the Caribbean an ideal place for tea (and tea culture!) to flourish. I learned as a child, from conversations between the elders, that our Caribbean soil is filled with native plants and plants that have traveled with our ancestors, who were former slaves. I have always been well aware that our roots, fruits has medicinal properties that the indigenous and local people use for homemade remedies.
Tea is a broader term in the Caribbean, covering much more than beverages brewed with Camellia sinensis, the plant popularly known and used to make tea around the world. In the Caribbean, green tea refers to anything from the Camelia sinensis plant, while blends made from plants, roots, leaves and flowers are often referred to as "bush tees," and quite often used for medicinal purposes. In these cases, the teas are further defined by holistic categories as "hot teas" and "cooling teas." One of the Caribbean’s staple bush teas is made from Hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly known as Hibiscus, a flourishing flower in this part of the world. Aside from being incredibly tasty, hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants and known for its many health benefits. In recent years, more western cultures have begun to appreciate not only the flavor and aroma of hibiscus, but also its powerful bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins, rich in antioxidants and said to exhibit liver protection. It is no wonder that this flower continues to increase in popularity among tea drinkers around the world.
Whether you were raised in the Caribbean or are of Caribbean descent, if there’s one thing you know about, it’s tea. It is no surprise to you, that I turned to the many roots and herbs I was exposed to as a child, when taking care of my dear father.
Unfortunately, there is always a challenge of introducing what we know as natural from Mother Nature, when the medical professionals are trained to focus on western medicine, so prevention is key. I remember meeting someone from East Europe who told me “we only drink tea if someone is sick” and I am here to tell you that tea is not only medicinal. If you incorporate tea in your daily meals, on a regular basis, as a preventive measure, get creative with tea preparing various iced teas and cocktails, you’ll be surprised how many non-artificial drinks you can serve. So here at Drink Our Hi-G we are not interested in merely filling our page with so many teas you don’t know what to choose. Rather, we bring you a boutique collection of tea, and focus on the diversity in use, the benefits of preparing tea for all occasions and taking loose leaf tea on the road, so you always have your favorite tea with you. We also want to hear from our customers and learn from your tea experience so we can share and hopefully create healthier communities, in mind body and spirit. I find joy in preparing a cup of loose leaf tea, as it takes me into another place, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and gives me a moment to myself. A moment for mindful meditation to improve my breathing, reduce the tensions in my body and enjoy the soothing aromas of tea, with the physical pleasure of a tea beverage finding its way from my mouth into each place where possible health and wellness can take place. Tea is calming, tea is entertaining, and tea is healing. It was the calming effect of tea that helped me to relax while mourning the loss of my father, while my family enjoyed hibiscus and ginger in celebrating my father’s life, and today I find comfort and healing in the knowledge that Dad is resting in peace.
Drink Our Hi-G is more than a cup of tea, it is an experience, and we hope to share ours with you. Will you share yours?