Super-skinny celebrities swear by it, good-living yoga bunnies can’t live without it and health food shops scream about the benefits of it. So why have I found it so hard to convert to herbal tea?
I love a brew. A good, honest mug of Tetley. Always have done. It’s that comforting smell, that familiar taste.
And it’s not that I haven’t tried to like herbal teas. Strawberry, raspberry, elderberry – they all sounded great. Only trouble is, the aroma never quite matches the tempting-looking pictures on the box and instead reminds me of the whiff I’d usually associate with the bottom of my cat’s litter tray. And don’t get me started on the taste.
It’s been about five years since I last attempted to become a herbal tea convert and, I’ll be honest, I was reluctant to give it another go.
But, thankfully, there appears to have been a bit of a revolution. Finally, someone has cottoned on to the fact that not only are they there to be beneficial, they also have to taste nice.
One of the market leaders is Mama Teas, run by mum-of-two Anna Louise Simpson. She wanted to drink herbal tea while pregnant but couldn’t find a range she liked, so decided to create her own.
She said: “Herbal tea doesn’t have to taste ‘healthy’, ie, horrible. I think it should taste the way it smells – delicious.
Scientists have identified more than a dozen useful chemical compounds in chamomile!
“I found a master tea blender and told him all my ideas and, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, we came up with a range that’s not bitter and is a pleasure, rather than a chore, to drink.
“There are so many benefits to lots of herbal teas, not least they don’t contain caffeine which can be so harmful to women who are either pregnant or trying to conceive. I believe everything in herbal teas should be 100 per cent natural – as is the case with our range – and above all, it’s got to have a taste that makes you want another cup.”
Try these new-generation herbals. They’re tea-mendous. Sorry, we couldn’t help it.
Morning Mama Ginger and Chamomile tea: Scientists have identified more than a dozen useful chemical compounds in chamomile, not least one that reduces your response to stress. Ginger is good for women suffering morning sickness, but anyone will enjoy this warming blend with lemon and orange peel. Delicious. £2.95 for 20 bags, www.mamatea.com.
Marks & Spencer Organic Spearmint, Peppermint & Fennel: Mint teas can be seriously vile if the blend is wrong but the natural spearmint taste of this M&S variety is intense and reviving. 99p for 20 bags.
Sainsbury’s Fair Trade Green Tea: If you’re a lover of builder’s brew, this is a good one to ease you in gently. Make it quite weak to start with, until you get used to the taste. Not at all bitter like some other blends. 99p for 20 bags.