Sunday 17 December 2017

Will tea replace alcohol as the social drink of choice during Dry January?

Tchi wellness teas at the Merrion Hotel
Tchi wellness teas at the Merrion Hotel

Sasha Brady

Wellness tea is being hailed as the elixir that will help you get 2016 off to a harmonious start.

Forget after-work drinks of wine, beer and spirits... wellness tea is set to become the drink we discuss our workday woes over.

The January health and fitness trend means that tea has re-emerged as the drink of choice for those looking to cut down on caffeine and calories... and reduce their alcohol intake after festive overindulgence.

We're a nation of tea lovers so that won't come as a surprise to many, however, the trend is moving away from the traditional drink to fancier, healthier teas.

Martin Mehner, managing director of House of Tea, says that while specialist tea shops have always been popular in his native Germany and across Europe, they are a relatively new concept in Ireland.

"There are plenty of tea rooms here that serve a regular cup of tea with a scone and that's it. However, we are different, as we represent all major tea-growing areas in the world. I would never have dreamed of opening this business in Germany, as there are a lot of tea shops there already," he told the Irish Independent last year.

Tea shops like Palais des Thés on Dublin's Wicklow Street, the Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms in Newport, Co Mayo, An Cupan Tea in Galway City and the Tea Garden on Ormond Quay in Dublin are just some of establishments with high-quality offerings that are a far cry from your average supermarket tea bag dunked in boiling water.

The Merrion Hotel in Dublin is getting in on the trend with a selection of Tchi wellness teas to be served in its Drawing Rooms, Cellar Bar and Tethra Spa for the month of January.

The tea draws inspiration from the Chinese philosophy of ch'i (pronounced tchee) which aims to relax the mind and help beat the January blues.

The Merrion's Tea Master, Laura McGinn, has introduced three Tchi drink flavours, including Rose and Honey Tea, Date, Longan and Goji Tea and Jasmine Tea.

The drinks draw from the key properties of berries, roots and plants that have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, and are created through infusions that preserve the properties and tastes of the ingredients – so they're healthy and delicious.

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