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October, 25 2017

Our favourite hot drinks to see you through winter


Joanna @JdeV Edinburgh West End store

Winter might be a time of festivity for many, but for some it can be a cold, dismal time of the year, punctuated by frequent bouts of colds and flus. When your throat is aching and it’s lashing it down with rain and hail outside, sometimes it nice to curl up in the warm with a soothing hot drink to help you unwind and relax.  That’s why today I’m taking a look at some of our favourite hot drinks here at Jan de Vries, and how they can help you to survive the winter season.

Going green with your tea

Green tea has been a staple in countries like Japan and China for centuries and it’s only in recent years that they’ve made their way West to the rest of us. The benefits of drinking green tea are undeniable and frankly, we could be here all day talking about them – not only is it packed with antioxidants, studies have even shown that green tea has the ability to increase the number of regulatory T cells, which play a key role in immune function!

Since your immune system is often besieged by viruses at this time of year, tucking into a cup of green tea might not be such a bad idea! And there’s certainly plenty to choose from here at Jan de Vries so I’ll quickly cover a few of my all-time favourites.

Clipper’s Fairtrade Green Tea with Citrus has a gentle, zesty flavour and it’s approved by the Soil Association, meaning it doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals or flavourings, just a truck-load of nutrients, including antioxidants like EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which can help to minimise oxidative stress and even help with mental alertness!

Clipper’s Fairtrade Green Tea - £1.89

Another form of green tea that is very on trend at the moment is matcha. Originating from Japan, matcha is believed to be 10 times more beneficial than ordinary green tea,  because it’s absolutely bursting with antioxidants and minerals, including selenium, chromium, potassium and zinc. It can help to fortify the immune system against any potential pathogens and may help to detoxify the body, so it’s definitely ticking all our boxes here at Jan de Vries.

Although you could buy a tea that incorporates matcha, such as Pukka’s Supreme Matcha Green Tea, I would opt for buying some high-quality matcha powder. Superfoodies Organic Matcha Green Powder is excellent for brewing into tea but it’s also surprisingly versatile and can be incorporated into recipes too! This powder also contains amino acids and chlorophyll so it’s definitely worth every penny.

Superfoodies Matcha Green Powder - £25.99

Combat those colds with some Echinacea

Similar to green tea, Echinacea is a herb with a long history when it comes to supporting the immune system, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s made its way into some hot drinks over the years  Some research has even indicated that Echinacea may reduce your chances of catching a cold by almost 58% and it may even diminish the duration of cold by over a day!

If you feel yourself coming down with a cold or find your throat aching, I would definitely reach for a hot drink that contains Echinacea. My personal recommendation would have to be A.Vogel’s Echinaforce® Hot Drink with Elderberry

This is a licensed herbal medicinal product and it is known to help fight the symptoms of cold and flus, soothing headaches and muscle pains. It’s suitable for children over the age of 12 and tastes delicious, with sweet notes of Elderberry. Definitely a must-have to have at your side in the midst of the cold and flu season!

A.Vogel Echinaforce® Hot Drink - £9.99

If you do have younger children though who you feel would benefit from a hot drink laced with elderberry and Echinacea, you could try Pukka’s Elderberry and Echinacea Tea. This isn’t a herbal remedy so it may not be as potent as A.Vogel’s Hot Drink but it still contains extracts of Echinacea, elderflower and rosehip, as well as traces of vitamin C to help support your immune system.

Pukka’s Elderberry and Echinacea Tea - £2.49

Soothe your sore throat with some honey and lemon

Sore throats can be difficult to manage and often you’re left croaking at your co-workers and loved ones while it feels like an invisible cheese grater is slowly wearing away your oesophagus. Not a pretty picture, but thankfully there’s an old remedy that you’ve probably heard of and had recommended to you by your grandparents – honey and lemon!

A comforting combination for your throat with known antibacterial properties, you can’t beat a hot drink that’s brimming with these essential ingredients. Pukka’s Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey Tea is our main go-to when we feel that achy sensation in our throats and with good reason. It’s got a lovely sweet taste that suffused with a hint of spice thanks to the inclusion of the ginger and it’s 100% gluten-free and sustainably sourced!

Pukka Lemon Ginger and Manuka Honey - £2.49

Support your stomach

Winter might be a tough time for your immune system but things might not be all that peachy with your stomach either. The cold weather does seem to bring out our cravings for stodgy, sweet food and with festive themed treats and goodies everywhere, it’s easy to overindulge so, when that last gingerbread latte finally takes its toll, your stomach might need some TLC.

This is where I’d suggest brewing a cup of Yogi’s Stomach Ease Tea. Based on an Ayurvedic recipe of herbs and spices, including cardamom, ginger and coriander, it may help to support the digestive process, relieving some of your more irritating symptoms. It also boasts a warm, rich taste that’s extremely soothing, so make sure you include a cup of this after munching on the mince pies!

Yogi Stomach Ease Tea - £2.39

When it comes to the New Year you might even feel like doing a bit of detox to help purify your body and revitalise your metabolism. Pukka’s Detox Organic Herbal Tea could be just what you’re looking for, combining fennel, cardamom and aniseed to produce a refreshing brew that should leave your insides feeling cleansed and reinvigorated!

Pukka’s Detox Organic Herbal Tea - £2.49

Spice things up a bite

Spices like cinnamon and cardamom are definitely in demand during the winter season and it’s no mystery why – they’re comforting, warming and taste absolutely delicious! They’re also good for supporting your circulation and digestive system, which is critical during the cold weather, so I thought I’d take a look at some of our favourite spice-infused drinks!

Yogi’s Classic Cinnamon Spice is a cosy blend infused with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom and provides a rich aroma that’s impossible to resist! However, another spice that is definitely in fashion at the moment is turmeric and fortunately Pukka have taken notice. Their Turmeric Gold Tea is bursting with antioxidants and is particularly useful for relieving muscle and joint aches. Ethically sourced and 100% fairtrade, if you want to learn more about the amazing health benefits of turmeric then check out my colleague Anne’s article!

Yogi’s Classic Cinnamon Spice Tea – £2.39

Turmeric Gold Tea – £2.49

The little extras…

Finally, it’s important to consider the little extras that you might not  have thought of. When most people seek out a hot drink in winter, it’s for the seasonal taste or to soothe a particular symptom, but sometimes it’s important to consider a hot drink as an alternative. For example, a lot of people are waking up to the negative effects of caffeine and are seeking out caffeine-free alternatives to their morning cup of coffee.

This is where A.Vogel’s Bambu Coffee Substitute comes into its own. Suffusing Turkish figs with barley, wheat and chicory, it’s high in potassium and contains no artificial preservatives or chemicals. Very popular with our customers here at Jan de Vries, it provides a lovely, delicious alternative to coffee without any of the negative side-effects that plague traditional de-caff brews!

A.Vogel Bambu Coffee Substitute - £3.99

Last but not least, what would winter be without a comforting mug of hot chocolate? Intensely sweet and creamy, I’m not about to deprive you of this seasonal treat. That’s why I’m recommending Lucy Bee’s Organic Raw Cacao Powder. Perfect for a rich guilt-free hot chocolate, cacao is full of antioxidants and flavonoids unlike its unhealthier cousin, cocoa. I’ll leave you with this enticing hot chocolate recipe as demonstrated in the video below!