If things were normal, many of us would be anticipating upcoming vacations. Pitching tents in a national park. Heading to Barcelona for tapas and beaches. Renting an Airbnb for the family on the grand coast of Oregon. Taking a cruise.
But most vacation plans have at least been put on hold. We’re waiting to see how things shape up around the world before we start shopping for new backpacks.
Enter virtual vacations. People are listening to salsa music, to conjure memories of the great vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula last year. They are trying to cook pizza in the style of the pies they inhaled in Naples. They are putting orchids on tables to remind them of Hawaii, playing video loops of Iceland on televisions to stoke their desire to visit the island, and reading books set in New Orleans, a favorite city.
Here at Ku Cha, our version of virtual vacations revolves around, you guessed, it, tea. No beverage offers as many flavors as tea, from a smoky oolong to grassy matcha to herbal teas offering perfumes of coconut, lavender or lemon. Traditional teas are grown around the world, often in beautiful locations. And ingredients in herbal tea include nearly every plant on earth that is edible (we even like tea with raw garlic if we are fighting a cold).
Interested in dreaming about that trip you had planned to South Africa? In taking sips for the sake of deliverance to Thailand or Kenya? We have ideas, especially for warm-weather virtual vacations.
Mango Green Tea For Gorgeous Tropics
The top mango-growing countries in the world are India, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Mexico. And in Africa, Kenya is a big producer. We celebrate all of these countries.
We dream of visiting the tea gardens of India’s most famous tea region — mountainous Darjeeling, a land of orchids, pines, rhododendrons and beautiful tea plantations. The Thailand island Ko Chang, translated at Elephant Island, offers stunning beaches and fascinating jungles. It’s on the list. Spotting giraffes and lions in Kenya is a long-held dream. Indonesia has 17,508 islands. We want to visit some of them, and eat our weight in nasi goreng, a fried rice dish that is the country’s national dish.
Please sweep us away, Mango Green Tea! This tea tastes like a sip of the tropics. The bright green tea combined with mango’s character — does any other tropical fruit offer the depth of mango? — makes for a stunning combination.
Passion Fruit Oolong Tea for South American Adventure
Passion fruit stuns us with its arresting pink color and its tightrope balance of sweet and sour. It leans more towards the sour side, but when blended with other sweet fruits the complex flavor emerges. We love it, and we appreciate the places where it is grown. It is native to South America, and is common in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador (among others). And it is widely grown in Australia, too.
How we would love to visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, the natural laboratory behind Darwin’s stupendous scientific breakthroughs. Machu Piccu, high in the Peruvian Andes, is a wondrous, 15th century place of sophisticated architectural work, astronomical insights and staggering views. Vacationing in Brazil’s Florianópolis, a tropical island famous for its beaches and surfing, is the kind of place we might visit — and stay put.
A cup of our Passion Fruit Oolong Tea won’t deposit you on a surfboard. But it might at least help drive your attention to the wonders of South America, and inspire you to plan that vacation after all of this passes.
This combination of oolong’s roasted complexity with passion fruit’s novel flavor brings to mind the magic and mysteries of South America.
Grilled Pineapple Black Tea for Land of Aloha
Hawaii! Few places are yoked so closely to a fruit. The chain of island used to be an international leader for pineapple production, but no more. Land is too expensive in Hawaii for pineapple plantations. It how supplies just 2 percent of the world’s pineapples, all of which are grown on the state’s most populous island, Oahu.
But that doesn’t prevent us from taking one bite of pineapple and being whisked away to a beach, or a steep, green mountain.
Our Grilled Pineapple Black Tea’s combination of sweet pineapple and smoky black tea captures the essence of a grill-charred slice of pineapple — a wonderful thing. And with every sip, it reminds us of Hawaii, a special place.
Rooibos Creamsicle For The Sunshine State
Yes, California and Texas grow oranges, in abundance. So do Mexico, China, Brazil and many other countries. But when we taste orange, we think Florida. And naturally Florida brings to mind vacations. Disney. The Keys. Miami Beach. Collecting shells on Sanibel Island. We want to return!
We will. But for now, we’ll stick with our Rooibos Creamsicle, a blend of South African rooibos, which is an antioxidant-rich, caffeine-free shrub, and orange. We suggest sipping Rooibos Creamsicle while watching waves break on one of Florida’s many beach cams.
Paradise Peach For Our Backyard — The Western Slope
Well here is a place we DO intend to visit sometime this year — Colorado’s Western Slope. We appreciate the desert landscape, with its red stone, canyons and juniper. We find the towns and cities arresting. Downtown Grand Junction is lovely, and the small town of Paonia — south of Grand Junction on the other side of Grand Mesa — is a charmer.
The whole region is known for its peaches. Unfortunately, we understand a brutal frost a few weeks ago decimated peach blossoms. As a result, peaches will likely be in short supply in markets this year. This is sad — we think Western Slope peaches are the finest in the world, and we treasure the hard-working farmers who nurture such beauty for us, year after year.
We will buy as many peaches as they can sell this summer, and we would like to visit, too. In the meantime, we’ll sip our Paradise Peach Tea, which combines rose hips, hibiscus and other ingredients to complement the peach. The tea might not place us at a table at Grand Junction’s Bin 707 Foodbar (a restaurant that rivals anything along the Front Range), but it will help get us through the spring and early summer. And then, we hope fresh peaches will start arriving at farmers’ markets.
Bath Blends To Create Vacation in Your Home
So far, all of the teas under discussion suggest vacation through sips. But we have three teas that can actually create vacations for you.
Our custom Sensibilities Bath Blend combines organic rose, calendula, lavender, lemon balm and echinacea, along with Epsom salts, to turn baths into spectacles of relaxation.
Zenergy Bath Blend, which contains organic chamomile, marshmallow, oat straw, peppermint and rose hips along with Epsom salts, relaxes sore muscles and rejuvenates the spirit.
With ingredients like organic eucalyptus, rosemary, gingko leaf and peppermint, our Boreal Forest Blend promotes circulation, melts stress and relieves chest congestion, something many of us are experiencing now due to seasonal allergies.
Sink into the aromatic bath, full of natural substances that soothe dry skin and promote peace. Close your eyes. You’re on vacation.