“I’ve been thinking a lot about tea. Especially now, as the days become longer and an amber warmth begins to spread, reminding me of my favorite cup of Assam. As the world’s most popular beverage, tea follows me around the globe, leaving its mark in travel stories.
Stay cool.
The inspiration – “Please, sit down, and have some tea,” says the shop owner in a village outside of Marrakech. We have stopped a moment to escape the heat and, familiar with the tradition of postprandial mint green tea with ample amounts of sugar, are happy to comply. We are soon served tiny glasses filled to the brim with sweet, verdant liquid. The heat and dust seemingly melt away and we relax to enjoy our respite.
At home – The heat is no match for mint green tea brewed and poured over ice. A large floppy hat creates shade, and good company or a favorite book completes the moment.
Stay calm.
The inspiration – Beijing is a frenetic place in the summer. Even without taking in the thick pollution, the heat, bikes, cars, and noise can make going outdoors feel like a battle. But the tea, oh, the tea. Tiny shops hidden inside alcoves within busy markets beckon and welcome. We ask for their best white tea, and aren’t disappointed.
At home – Cooling off between a bustling day and dinner requires more than a bath. For antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, chill brewed blueberry white tea bags in the refrigerator, and place over eyes.
Stay creative.
The inspiration – On this specific night in Cairo we have been invited to dinner at the house of a local friend. After the meal, we are offered tea. I am a bit of a tea snob, but I am sure that, whether or not I like what they serve, it will not be a bland American brand like Lipton or Tetley.  Our hostess soon returns with a tray. As I take a sip, my mouth fills with a wonderfully sweet flavor and it is all I can do to not gulp it down. “This is so good. What kind of tea is this?” I ask, smiling.  She thinks for a moment. “It is…ah…Leep-ton?” The lesson? Never assume anything, and remain flexible.
At home – After a night of dancing, a cup (or pot) of a golden breakfast tea like Assam will help one salute any new day or experience. “
~Lindsey Anne Toledo
L. Anne Toledo is the founder of  Blackbird Tea Co.
May 2013