Amp Your Labor Day Weekend With Teas for Flavor, Digestion and Cooking
Our annual celebration of American workers and their myriad contributions to the nation’s character, vigor and prosperity spans the upcoming weekend, reaching its apex on Monday — Labor Day.
We embrace how the United States honors work with a long holiday weekend, a trio of days marked by barbecues, parties, family gatherings, camping trips and for many of us, a lack of toil. The holiday, too, marks the unofficial end of summer; the formal end of the season occurs on Sept. 22, the date of the fall equinox this year.
Once this wonderful holiday draws to a close, we have to wait nearly three months for the next break — Thanksgiving.
Colorado was among five states — including Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — to first pass legislation recognizing Labor Day in 1887. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act establishing Labor Day as the first Monday in September.
Labor Day invites ribs and burgers, corn on the cob and tomatoes, cold beer and iced tea. The procession of feasting and fun also can mess with our digestion.
We offer three teas to help nail your Labor Day festivities, including one that we recommend using for marinating grilled meat.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Labor Day Teas: Osmanthus Oolong
You may have encountered Chinese jasmine tea, in which tea farmers add fresh night-harvested jasmine blossoms to tea leaves to infuse the tea with jasmine’s intoxicating perfume. The Chinese also use another flower, osmanthus, to add flavor and aroma to tea. We recommend giving our Osmanthus Oolong a try — it’s fabulous.
In China, highly perfumed and Autumn-blooming osmanthus is widely used in both herbalism and perfume manufacturing. Known as “sweet olive,” osmanthus symbolizes true love, faithfulness, peace and fertility. People often give the flowers as gifts during weddings, to help ensure good fortune, wealth and nobility.
Our Osmanthus Oolong combines lightly oxidized Chinese oolong tea leaves with fresh osmanthus flowers, yielding a highly aromatic and unique brew. In Chinese medicine, practitioners use osmanthus to curb appetite, dispel phlegm, brighten breath and aid digestion.
Given osmanthus’s fall blooms, its ability to boost digestion and its marvelous flavors and aromas, we think this is an ideal tea for sipping across the holiday weekend.
Labor Day Teas: Ginger Refresh
As mentioned earlier, Labor Day, which often arrives as a hot day (if not sweltering), calls for cold beverages, including iced tea. We have devoted decades to exploring iced tea, and find that many of the teas we carry do produce excellent cold drinks. Traditional black teas from India and Sri Lanka, which most brands and people use to craft iced tea, can make fine chilled beverages. But herbal and blended teas also brew into outstanding cold drinks. Ginger Refresh serves as one of our favorites, a mix of lemongrass, peppermint, ginger, licorice and lemon peel that complements most foods, refreshes like few others, and like our Osmanthus Oolong also aids with digestion. In fact, all of the bright botanicals in Ginger Refresh are used by naturopathic physicians to help manage digestion.
Also, Chinese medicine practitioners often prescribe ginger to revive energy. And as the long weekend of hiking, late-night revelry and lots of chips, dips, meat and sweets begins, you’ll desire as much zip and zing as possible! And you will appreciate how Ginger Refresh stimulates energy without caffeine — here’s an energy drink you can sip all day and night, without interfering with your sleep or giving you the jitters.
Labor Day Teas: Grilled Pineapple Black Tea
Thinking about grilled chicken for one of the holiday feasts? Baby back ribs? Swordfish? It all sounds grand to us. You could run with the usual bottled barbecue sauce for the chicken and pork, or a simple glaze of olive oil, lemon and oregano for the fish.
But you also could enliven all three dishes with a marinade combining the bold, smoky flavors of black tea with pineapple, apple, black and pink peppercorns and vanilla. Now there’s an idea!
One option: simply grind the tea into a coarse powder with some salt, rub it all over the meat, and let the flavors sink into the meat for a few hours, before brushing it off and commencing cooking. You also could brew the tea into a strong elixir, and soak the meat in it before slapping it on the grill or sliding it into a hot sauté pan. If you go the liquid route, we recommend doubling the amount of tea used, and letting it steep for at least 5 minutes to extract as much flavor as possible.
Enjoy this exceptional American holiday. And for those of you who manage to escape the world of Zoom meetings, working cash registers, building houses and the rest of the world of work, we salute your time away from work, and focused on fun. Happy Labor Day!