Downtown Des Moines’ Gong Fu tea shop stocks its shelves with around 150 teas sourced from around the world. Here are five stand-out offerings, each filled with complex goodness that will conjure memories of cozy holidays and Seinfeld episodes past.
This tea lives up to its name. If you’ve ever been a fan of Big Red, or other cinnamon-flavored gum, then this tea will likely smell, and taste, strikingly familiar. The smell of cinnamon wafts out of the mug as soon as the water is poured. When brewed, it has a bite to it that warms you up on the way down, even after the drink itself has cooled. A touch of sweetness and a hint of oranges combines with the spice to give this tea a wonderful holiday-themed flavor.
This is one of my favorite green teas because of the lovely roasted, nutty flavor that comes from the toasted rice mixed in with the tea leaves. It’s a wonderfully savory tea, and my go-to for an afternoon pick-me-up. Although this is one of the more forgiving green teas, like all green teas it can become bitter if steeped too long or in water that is too hot.
In my head this tea takes the form of the exasperated voice of Jerry Stiller (whose Seinfeld character recites the phrase “Serenity now!” to keep his blood pressure from rising), but as a relaxation method, sipping a cup of this blend of peppermint, rose hips and rose petals is probably a better bet than Frank Costanza’s anger management technique. It’s an ideal way to sit back and digest a big meal or just relax after a long, cold day.
The Tour De France
This tea has a delightful vanilla smell that inspires memories of baking holiday cookies. When sipped, the vanilla flavor is paired with the crisp, refreshing taste of black currants and the soft mellowness of a well-brewed black tea. It’s a wonderful morning drink, complex enough to be enjoyed on its own, or paired with a breakfast pastry.
When the outside world is under a pile of snow or just grey and dead looking, this mix of green tea and sunflower, rose and cornflower petals can provide a brief escape. It’s a light, floral-flavored tea that is great on its own or with a touch of honey. Just what the soul needs when the winter doldrums set in.
This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Winter 2018 issue.