Whether you’re intrigued by Chinese herbs, wild-crafted herbal tonics, and essential oils like we are or not, everyone can get behind a good cup of tea. Steve Schwartz launched Art of Tea, organic, hand-blended teas and botanicals, after his own mother’s battle with cancer and his discovery of the benefits of herbs blended in Eastern methods to create unique wellness properties. Art of Tea offers up some of the best tea blends in town at hotspots like Bestia, Hinoki & Bird and Pizzeria Mozza, hitting a chord with foodies and health nuts alike by crafting teas with flavor and functionality. Their Post-tox Tea is specifically designed to follow the kind of indulgence these places inspire – a perfect match.
With Steve’s knowledge of all things tea-related, we asked him to share his thoughts on a few herbs and botanicals for tea-blending and were surprised at his picks. Having studies at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, his wealth of knowledge extends far beyond the standards of chamomile and mint.
- Camelia Sinensis
Let’s start with the basics. White, green, oolong and black tea are all derived from this evergreen shrub. Contrary to common belief, anything else is not a tea, and that includes chamomile tea, and rooibos tea (which actually comes from a bush native to South Africa).
Extremely astringent, but packed with antioxidants, this leaf from the neem tree acts as a wonderful addition to enhance and complement other ingredients in herbal blends like raspberry or other sweet and tart fruits.
- Goji Berries
Sweet and tangy on the palate, this bright red sun-dried varietal sourced from the Himalayas is the most commonly grown berry in the world. It’s known for its ability to increase oxygen in the blood, so it’s a great way to pack in some energy in a post-workout recovery brew. We use it in our “Endurance” blend, which is part of our wellness line.
- Italian Bergamot Oil
Derived from the rind of the bergamot fruit, Italian bergamot oil is one of our most treasured classics at Art of Tea. It propagates heady citrus and floral notes, and we delicately hand-blend this unique component to make our version of an authentic earl grey tea. Topically, bergamot oil is traditionally used for improving various skin conditions.
- Cacao Nibs
Sweet and earthy, these little nuggets blend well with botanicals and herbs, and offer a nice pop of energy in a blend. Cacao nibs are believed to increase serotonin levels and offer stress-reducing properties, and are also packed with antioxidants.
- Pink Peppercorn
The outer shell is sweet, while the inside is a bit spicy. Keeping the delicate pink shell intact gives a nice contrast in a blend and works nicely in a chai tea, offering traditional cleansing properties. It’s also known to be a mild expectorant.
Sourced from Central America, this botanical is believed to have the uplifting properties found in tea and the stress-reducing “happy” properties found in chocolate. We use it in our “Happy” tea, which is designed to give people a boost of energy and a similar endorphin rush to what you might experience after a workout.
- Lemon Verbena
A true lemon verbena (otherwise known as luisa or vervain) is often found in beautifully dried longitudinally leaf shapes and offers light, grassy and citrus notes. A little goes a long way – it’s a great way to unwind and calm down in the evening, and to aid in the digestive process at the end of a meal.