Any time is the right time for a cup of tea. It wakes us up, calms us down, soothes us when things go wrong and picks us up when we’re flagging. It’s all just a matter of what you choose to put in your brew.

One aspect of tea time that many more of us are focusing on these days is ensuring that our tea is ethically grown, harvested and delivered. Fortunately there are plenty of locally-sourced tea options that fit the bill.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Gulbarn Tea
This is traditional bush medicine used by the Alawa people in the Northern Territory’s Big Rivers region for thousands of years. The leaves are sustainably wild-harvested, hand-picked and protected in line with cultural values and traditional ecological knowledge.

The tea itself tastes incredibly fresh – like sipping on a corner of the Aussie bush at sunrise. It’s high in anti-oxidants, caffeine-free and a known source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. The Alawa mob have been using it for centuries to help alleviate colds, coughs and stomach issues. All that, and it makes for a truly refreshing pick-me-up cuppa as well.

Other native brews to try include Jilungin bush tea from the Kimberley; Kulbanyi wild-harvested by the Garrwa-Yanyuwa people in the Northern Territory; and Maarr, or native lemongrass, which has been found to be just as good for headaches as taking aspirin.

Indian chai
Chai can be blended with any herbs and spices you like. As a result, some chai blends have proven health benefits; so drink up!

For example, adding a good hit of ginger to your chai has digestive benefits and aids circulation. Other ingredients can have anti-inflammatory properties – like clove. Things like cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon can add a good dose of immune-boosting vitamins and antioxidants.

Be sure to source your chai from an ethical business. Farmacy Co makes a beautiful blend that’s worth seeking out.

Hibiscus tea
Hibiscus tea is likes summer in a pot. Which is a very nice thing indeed when you’re ploughing your way through dreary winter. There are Australian native varieties of hibiscus, and plenty of other homegrown varieties. The tea itself is loaded with antioxidants and is thought to help lower blood pressure and blood fat levels.

All very grand, but it’s the rich, pink colour and naturally sweet, fruity taste that will keep you coming back for more.

You can buy hibiscus tea as tea leaves or bags, but the best way to brew it is from dried hibiscus petals. Simply steep the petals in boiled water until you reach your optimal flavour hit.

Make your own antioxidant tea

Blending your own tea is about as sustainable as it gets. Well, especially if you make it from herbs and spices you’ve grown yourself, fed using homemade compost and watered with rainwater you collected from your roof run-off. Ahem. That might not be achievable for most, but mixing your own brew most certainly is.

This lemon, ginger and turmeric tea is delightful. Make a batch for someone with a sore throat for a soothing sip. It’s also an incredible pick-me-up when the late afternoon slump hits.

1 tbsp grated fresh turmeric
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 lemon, juiced
Zest of one lemon
Honey or maple syrup to taste

Put the turmeric, ginger and all the lemon (both juice and zest) into a small saucepan.
Add three cups of water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
Once simmering, switch off the heat and allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.
Return the pan to medium heat and bring back to a simmer.
Strain and serve.

You may like to add some honey or maple syrup to sweeten. If the tea is too strong, dilute with a little boiled water. Save any leftover brew in a tightly-closed jar in the fridge for up to a week.

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