HLB Tea Swap Fall 2013

I go through phases, sometimes months on end, really, when I become obsessed with drinking hot tea as often as possible. While espresso-based lattes will always have the number one spot on my personal beverage hit parade, they have too many calories for me to make them a daily part of my life, and yet I still crave the comfort of a (very large) steamy mug of something sweet and milky. Right now my current obsessions are hot tea with a couple of tablespoons of half & half plus sweetener, or if my blood sugar is exceptionally good and my activity level has been high all day, then I’ll go for hot tea with steamed milk and a splash of sugar-free vanilla or chocolate syrup. (Vanilla is good with most teas but for true decadence you just can’t beat hot mint tea with sugar-free chocolate.) It’s 130 calories for the 20 ounce hot tea latte at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and I treat myself at least once a week.

When I heard about the Healthy Living Blogs (HLB) Tea Swap, I signed up immediately. It’s simple and fun: you send two bags of tea to your assigned partner and you receive two bags of tea from someone else. This week I received my package (pictured below) from Emily at Relishments.


Emily sent a bag of Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut and one of (decaf) Lemon Ginger – don’t they both sound incredible? Can’t wait to try them before bed this weekend. Thank you so much, Emily, in case you’re reading this. (I’ll be sending a proper thank you separately, don’t you worry!)

In return, I’m putting the finishing touches on my package for my recipient (pictured below). I won’t say who she is, just in case she reads my blog – I don’t think she does, but better safe than sorry! – but I’ll share that I’m sending her two of my favorite teas from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Scottish Breakfast tea is a black tea that blends Darjeeling and Assam teas, and I love the almost milky consistency of it, even before I add my half & half. I drink Scottish Breakfast while sitting at my desk and eating breakfast each weekday. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be eating at my desk but that’s what works for me right now.) Peppermint Stick is a limited-edition tea for the holidays and features a blend of Ceylon black tea with peppermint leaves and strawberries. Oh my gosh, just the aroma of this tea alone is worth the purchase price. (I’ll bet you could use it as a drawer sachet but I doubt I’ll have any left for that purpose by the time the holidays are over!)

Almost ready to drop in the nearest post box!
Almost ready to drop in the nearest post box!

I hope the recipient of the tea likes my choices as much as I do!

Do you have a favorite seasonal hot beverage? Anything you’ve made into a very occasional treat as part of a healthier lifestyle?