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Need caffeine? Reach for a cup of tea

May 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Brits and Japanese are both known for their love of tea, while America continues to get a kick out of coffee. But tea houses like the T Salon on Melrose Avenue are hoping to change the brew for more than a few.Miriam Novalle, owner of the T Salon of Los Angeles, says she knows coffee has its fans, but she wants you to try tea.

"Tea's a 5000-year-old product, so it's not like I invented it," Novalle said.

A former perfumer, Novalle carries a torch for tea, mixing traditional green, black, oolong and more with aromatic additions for the unique tastes and flavor.

"I added coconut, vanilla and barks and beet roots and flowers all those amazing things that kind of bring you to that place," Novalle said.

If it's variety you want, the T Salon might be your cup of tea. Loose leaf, healing teas, food - even ice cream - made with tea infusion, they've got it all! And something fun for summer, the T Salon carries 17 to 25 teas on tap.

If you're making tea at home, remember brewing times vary. Black, green and oolong tea all come from the same plant, but green and white are unfermented, needing just about a three-minute brew, as opposed to black tea which needs a five-minute brew.

If you make sun tea outside, keep the lid on tight and put the finished product into the fridge to prevent bacteria growth.

Krista Faron of Mintel, a data monitoring company, says South American yerba mate comes from a whole different plant. Once enjoyed as a standalone tea, now it is used as a stimulant in juice and energy drinks.

"That really is a primary driver as why so many companies are including yerba mate. It is because of its caffeine content," Faron said.


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