May is fast approaching, which means the sweltering heat of Kolkata’s pseudo-spring is about to be erased by an even greater threat: the doom-spelling exams. Here at C’est la vie, the alarm bells have already started ringing. In despair, yours truly has turned to the one drink that has never failed her: tea.
Anyone who knows me even slightly knows that I am a complete tea junkie.
I guzzle as many as 7-8 cups a day of all varieties of brewed heaven, from spicy/mint/green teas to the good ol’ “cutting chai” available in Indian roadside stalls (and college campuses). If the colonial hangover hasn’t affected me in any other way (says she as she writes this post in English while studying English Literature in an English-medium college), it certainly has left its mark in the form of my slightly maniacal fondness for this drink.
That’s all very good, you say. But how can tea help us as we stew ourselves during exams? All in good time, my children.
Here are 5 soul-soothing brews that can boost your health, bring down your stress levels, cool your nerves and, in essence, be for you what spinach was for Popeye during these weeks of terror:
I know, I know, predictable beginning. But this is my personal favourite and the one most commonly available in India. Green tea helps to reduce blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. Best of all, it can battle depression. The tea leaves contain an amino acid called theanine that acts as an anti-anxiety agent: something all of us sorely need during exams. Also, I really love the taste and the aroma of green tea even if most of my friends gag at its very mention.
Nature’s best stress-buster, with the single exception of alcohol and without the hangover. Apart from tasting really great (sweet, flowery, very soothing when warm), chamomile tea is an excellent antidote for insomnia. I can vouch first-hand for its soporific powers that rival Professor Binns’ (Potterheads unite!). It also helps to reduce stress-induced headaches. Why on earth wouldn’t you want a cup of this earthy goodness when faced with your end-sems?
The fancy people, such as Monsieur Poirot, call it tisane. Fairly common in India again; there is probably not a single household in the country in which a sniffly child has not been forced to drink tea brewed with ginger and cloves. Listen to your grandmoms on this one! Ginger tea not only helps you to fight colds, it also keeps you alert during those ungodly hours of morning revision. With or without milk (add some lime and honey to the latter!), it is a delicious and way healthier alternative to the 236643 cups of coffee you were planning to consume.
Lemon Balm tea
The very fragrant, very calming lemon balm tea, funnily enough, has nothing to do with lemons. It’s an herb that is rare in India, but is available in extract form from various tea-enthusiastic enterprises. Peppermint and lemon balm is a great combination for sweltering summer afternoons: just sidestep the usual soft drinks and head for an iced version of this combo. What better way to cool off after your exams?
Last but not least (I plan on ending every listicle this way. If you’re going to be clickbait cliché, why not be as much of a rhetorical cliché as possible.) is the incredibly pretty lavender tea. This is the poshest brew on this list and I’m very proud of it. It is an extremely relaxing drink, with a heavenly fragrance that significantly reduces stress and insomnia. Its anti-oxidant properties are highly prized amongst fitness enthusiasts across the world. I don’t know what anti-oxidants are but they sound great. The brew tastes awesome and feels even better so I drink it. Simple enough.
There is a world of goodness hidden in your humble tea leaves, guys.
Through Kolkata Bloggers and Urs Digitally, I had the opportunity to discover it at the Indian Tea Association’s Tea Carnival, at Jadavpur University’s AFSU Sanskriti fest.
The tea stall there had FREE samples of delicious, refreshing iced teas that healed my soul and made me a very happy munchkin indeed. My favourite drink (amongst the half a dozen or so that I drank. Sorry, free coupon providers) was the Unconventional Mojito: a normal iced tea that leveled up in deliciousness by pretending to be a mojito- and succeeding. The stall even had the recipes of all the icy beauties so you could try and create them at home.
In the spirit of the Tea Carnival, take a selfie with your favourite drink and upload it on Facebook with the hashtag #ChaiHoJaye. Spread the chai-mazing experience!
(That was literally the worst pun in the history of the universe. Soz.)
Chalo, ab kuchh #ChaiHoJaye.